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U.S Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Dr.Michael Blake in an interview with the Iranian Journal of International Relations
Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy, and Governance
University of Washington

1. What are the goals of the United States’s withdrawal?

I believe this withdrawal to be largely due to the personal beliefs of the current President, who had no particular interest in intervening in Afghanistan to begin with. I believe that our President has no particular vision of what power relationships ought to look like in the Middle East - except that he dislikes the vision, associated with George W. Bush most prominently, that the United States has a central role to play in building particular sorts of political institutions abroad.

2. What will the effects be of the Taliban’s re-dominance?

I am afraid I honestly do not know. (I am, after all, a philosopher.). My hope is that the Taliban might come to moderate some of their practices - and I do not think that hope is unduly optimistic; what works in the creation of a revolutionary consciousness might not work well in the practice of governance, and many revolutionary movements eventually find themselves attracted to moderation. My primary concern - for the region - is that such moderation is unlikely to arrive quickly, and could only happen were the Taliban to be unquestioned rulers of Afghanistan. In the interim, there might be enough chaos in Afghanistan for there to be deep concern about how the Taliban will approach foreign policy - and for who will use Afghanistan’s territory to amplify their efforts at destabilization elsewhere.

3. What impacts will this takeover have on Chinese policy?

I am not particularly concerned that the takeover will destabilize Xinjiang; my own belief (which might be wrong) is that Beijing will be capable of repressing any threat to its own dominance in the region. My concern is that Beijing will be tempted to use the takeover as a reason to engage in repressive practices in the province - using the resurgence of the Taliban as a reason to do so.

Thank you for asking for my views; my apologies, once again, for their lateness.


Editorial Board of Iranian Journal of International Relations


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