Small Wars Journal

Recent Article and Report by SWJ El Centro Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown

Stuck in the Mud: the Logistics of Getting Out of Afghanistan - In her latest article published in Foreign, Vanda Felbab-Brown discusses current U.S.-Pakistan relations and logistics in Afghanistan, including the reopening of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border for NATO trucks and the challenges of the Northern Route via Central Asia.

Although the border showdown has been resolved, Pakistan's persistence in providing safe havens to Afghan militants continues to anger and frustrate Washington. But Pakistan's trump card -- its own internal fragility -- remains in hand. Its government is weak, its economy is in shambles, the country suffers from massive electricity blackouts, and severe poverty and unemployment are widespread...Resolving the logistics to get out of Afghanistan on schedule is important. But staying in Afghanistan in a sufficiently robust and wisely structured presence so that security can be strengthened and Afghan governance improved is even more crucial. The worst possible outcome would be to be rushing out of Afghanistan and then lacking even the logistical routes to do so.

Public Security Challenges in the Americas - In a recent Brookings Institution report that analyzes key issues for Latin America, Vanda Felbab-Brown responds to Kevin Casas-Zamora and Lucía Dammert as they call for a comprehensive approach to fighting crime within the Latin America region (pages 75-76).

Although frequently portrayed as an effective solution to the problem of organized crime, mere legalization of illicit economies, particularly of drugs, is no panacea. There are no shortcuts to reducing crime in Latin America and improving law enforcement forces there...Without capable and accountable police that are responsive to the needs of the people and backed up by an efficient, accessible and transparent justice system, neither legal nor illegal economies will be well managed by the state...Such a multifaceted approach in turn requires that the state address all the complex reasons why populations turn to illegality, including law enforcement deficiencies and physical insecurity, economic poverty, and social marginalization. Efforts need to focus on ensuring that peoples and communities will obey laws—not just by increasing the likelihood that illegal behavior and corruption will be punished, but also by creating a social, economic, and political environment in which the laws are consistent with the needs of the people and seen as legitimate.

Categories: El Centro