Peter Galbraith Elliott

Senior diplomat and U.S ambassador Peter Galbraith lectured at the Elliott School of International Affairs in March this year on the hot-button issue of the war in Afghanistan.

The debate he posited was this : Is the war in Afghanistan one of necessity, bringing democracy to a country riddled, as Galbraith puts it, with “massive electoral fraud” and peace to a war-torn Islamic state ran for years by what is essentially a militant terrorist group? Or is the U.S armed forces and foreign policy strategy creating a quagmire that could potentially keep U.S forces fighting and dying there for many years to come?

Galbraith portends that without “credible local partners” the current U.S strategy in Afghanistan cannot succeed. Without a strong government with popular support and an army that’s well – trained enough to defend its borders and keep order in a notoriously war-torn and violent country , as soon as U.S forces withdraw the framework they put in place will collapse into infighting – the “quagmire” of which Galbraith warned students at the Elliott School.

The Elliot School of International Affairs, started in the 1890s as a professional institution in the instruction of international affairs as a branch of the George Washington University has become somewhat of a centre of excellence in the subject – attracting a range of important and high-profile lecturers to talk on a wide variety of subjects, Peter Galbraith included. What the Elliott School needs to think about now , as it educates and trains the next CEOs of development companies, financial institutions, NGOs and perhaps politicians of the next generation is this : how can the major problems of the Middle East be tackled effectively, as it is increasingly likely that graduates of the Elliott School will be the people involved in solving these issues.

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