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The Prince and the People in the Graveyard of Empires

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This honors thesis proposes a hypothetical solution to the political problems facing the modern nation of Afghanistan. Using the model of the Roman Republic as presented by the political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, I explain what institutions are necessary for the

This honors thesis proposes a hypothetical solution to the political problems facing the modern nation of Afghanistan. Using the model of the Roman Republic as presented by the political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, I explain what institutions are necessary for the survival and success of a republic. These include a citizen militia composed entirely of equal citizens; “political class tension,” or political compromise between the elite and the common people of a republic through observance of the rule of law; and civic virtue, which stems from participation in these two institutional aspects of a republic and assists in bolstering them.
After this examination of necessary republican components, I describe the institution of constitutional dictatorship, which I devised based on the ideas of Machiavelli and the legal theorist Carl Schmitt. I then use all the institutions and ideas discussed within the framework of a thought exercise to examine possible recommendations for action by a constitutional dictatorship operating in Afghanistan, which are to bolster the Afghan National Army and neutralize the corrupting influence of Afghanistan’s “gentlemen,” or selfishly-motivated partisan leaders. Although the recommendations attempt to be as close to feasible policy as possible, they are not written with the goal of actual implementation in mind due to their lack of empirical basis.
I conclude by examining possible domestic and strategic implications of these hypothetical recommendations. This portion is also not empirically-based, merely concluding the examination of the thought exercise. An appendix uses visual aids to demonstrate the composition of the resulting Afghan government.

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2014-12

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Development Economics and the Counterinsurgency Strategy in Afghanistan

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Stability in Afghanistan has always been and will always be impossible to achieve, so long as Afghanistan remains the most corrupt country on earth, and so long as the nation's illicit drug trade continues to flourish unchecked. Longstanding conflict in

Stability in Afghanistan has always been and will always be impossible to achieve, so long as Afghanistan remains the most corrupt country on earth, and so long as the nation's illicit drug trade continues to flourish unchecked. Longstanding conflict in Afghanistan has fostered an environment in which the interest of the nation's influential individuals tips more in favor of instability than in favor of creating a peaceful, stable country under the rule of law. Progress in securing the nation and defeating the Taliban insurgents will not win the counterinsurgency campaign alone. Dramatic political and economic reforms are required if the nation is to have a future after the withdrawal of ISAF troops and eventual reduction in foreign aid. Only permanent changes in behavior in the country can have permanent effects on the government, economy, and welfare of the population.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Development Economics and the Counterinsurgency Strategy in Afghanistan

Description

Stability in Afghanistan has always been and will always be impossible to achieve, so long as Afghanistan remains the most corrupt country on earth, and so long as the nation's illicit drug trade continues to flourish unchecked. Longstanding conflict in

Stability in Afghanistan has always been and will always be impossible to achieve, so long as Afghanistan remains the most corrupt country on earth, and so long as the nation's illicit drug trade continues to flourish unchecked. Longstanding conflict in Afghanistan has fostered an environment in which the interest of the nation's influential individuals tips more in favor of instability than in favor of creating a peaceful, stable country under the rule of law. Progress in securing the nation and defeating the Taliban insurgents will not win the counterinsurgency campaign alone. Dramatic political and economic reforms are required if the nation is to have a future after the withdrawal of ISAF troops and eventual reduction in foreign aid. Only permanent changes in behavior in the country can have permanent effects on the government, economy, and welfare of the population.

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2014-05

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Is the "Special Relationship" Still Special? The Politics and Role of Anglo-American Relations since 1980

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This research looks at the state of Anglo-American political relations since 1980. By examining the political partnerships between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher and George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown,

This research looks at the state of Anglo-American political relations since 1980. By examining the political partnerships between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher and George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, and Barack Obama and David Cameron, it explores if the so called ‘special relationship’ remains so special today in a world of growing political animosity and challenges. The thesis argues that the success of the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and United Kingdom has not been just due to similar political ideologies or goals, but also personal friendships which often overcame national interests or immediate personal political gain. Furthermore, it is often the periods of disagreement between these sets of leaders that helped strengthen the relationship between America and Britain, evidenced by episodes like the Falklands War, policy towards the Soviet Union, the invasion of Grenada, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ultimately, the thesis explores how current relations have deteriorated due to problems on both sides of the Atlantic under the Obama, Brown, and Cameron administrations, but the research concludes that the special relationship is, while damaged, alive and fixable.

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2015-12