although ideally as reviewers or whatnot we should treat each book as a separate and unique creation, unfortunately I've just completed much of the Kaplan back catalog, and this book just pales in comparison to [b:Soldiers of God|290834|Soldiers of God With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan|Robert D. Kaplan|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320535040s/290834.jpg|282166]. Soldiers of God is firsthand reporting with an embedded reporter inside a mujahideen team in Afghanistan. Graveyard of Empires is a foot-noted, analytically backed up, perfectly supported by academic cross-reference... and somehow, perfectly, misses the point. hmm even the official Goodreads book entry summary here seems to be whack:
by 2005, a new "war of a thousand cuts" had brought Afghanistan to its knees.
is the writer of this book summary on drugs / strung out? does he really subscribe to some 19th century mercantile Westphalian view of war in that America and Afghanistan are two equal and opposing national entities and Afghanistan has been humbled? what is this whack view of international affairs? last time I checked, Afghanistan is a war-torn, tribal, extremely fragile half-concept of a political union and the U.S. is the global hyperpower. I don't think Afghanistan has been "brought...to its knees." I know I've been brought to my knees. I'm malevolent now. Voltaire told me so.
Seth G. Jones has been either working on his Ph.D. or at the right-wing think tank RAND for his entire life. the greatest favor anybody could do is go spray-paint the vegetables at his Virginia farm so that some inkling of the outside world penetrates the ivory tower consciousness that pervades this sad analyst's reality-view.
however, the title and cover photograph are tasteful.