Episode 54 – Afghanistan Explained


In what might be the most substantive and engaging episode of PoliTalk, Lt. Col. Joseph Alessi Ph.D., chair and professor of Military Science at the University of Pittsburgh, walks us through what is really going on in Afghanistan. To understand the current political decisions, you have to understand the complex history of this country, and to do that, you need to listen to Joe. The McCain campaign had “Joe the Plumber.” At PoliTalk, we have Joe the Scholar, who offers a fair, balanced view of the region and explains why if you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it…and nowhere is that lesson more vital than Afghanistan. Always engaging and informative, it’s PoliTalk — your weekly political podcast.

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5 responses to “Episode 54 – Afghanistan Explained

  1. A much better effort this week, here are some random thoughts you didn’t cover this week that you addressed last week.

    Sanctions may work in Iran due to the huge young population who are modern and educated and would frankly be very angry to lose touch with the world. As far as leadership structure goes a loss of oil revenues could cause splits in leadership between conservative and more center members. Its the economy stupid! 😉

    The reason we have possibly have not started sanctions already is to show solidarity in the UN and get the allies to sanction together. China is being resistive but as I understand it, Russia is starting to view Iran as a threat and has come on board.

    Bombing is pretty much out of the question, Israel has concluded that preemptive strikes against Iran would be more or less useless. Their best case scenario using a perfectly executed surgical strike can delay Iran’s nuclear plan by a few years at most.

    In my mind threat number one is getting the energy policy under control and that also involves developing exportable technologies to replace oil. Energy drives our economy, environmental issues and world politics.

    We have to stop importing oil that is helping fund violent fundamentalists, and remove the excuse of uranium enrichment for non-military purposes. Iran argues that they have a right to nuclear technology to provide power to their people and really they have a point…in theory.

    Afghanistan is a whole different problem, Al-Qaeda is a problem for every country in the world. This is not just our fight, if we are going to stay the world needs to come together and get involved. It is our job to sell this war because it looks like we can’t leave. If were to decide to leave what are we going to do about the women who will be killed or maimed because of our pressure for affirmative action? What about all the civilians who took part in democratic voting?

    We could very well be looking at genocide if we leave.

  2. Good episode. Actually tried to sign up with podcost but for some reason the submit button doesn’t seem to be sealing the deal. Then again I am on wireless in Japan with a mediocre corprate laptop.

    One thought camed to mind though – I though Afghanistan largely settled into its current position becaues of the 1907 Anglo Russian undertanding, which included dividing Persia, Iran at the time, into spheres of influence.

    I always found that one interesting because the Russian minister Izvolsky, while maybe well intentioned, seemed to be a little too clever for himself. While making peace with the Brits in 1907, he was conniving to up end agreements over the straights in Turkey with Austria the following year.

    Otherwise, I guess the Durand line sealed the deal in splitting pushtons in an updated Russian understanding (Soviets at that time) in the 1920s.

  3. Michael, how did you try to subscribe to the podcast? Did you try iTunes or Zune?

  4. I selected no phone – I wanted access to premium content via my lap top.

  5. As for Daniel’s points,

    I am not surprised about the pull back from thoughts on attacking Iran. Its size is just short of Alaska and the population a little smaller than that we faced in Germany and Japan during WWII. Furthermore, I am sure they have made some preparation in response to past events (the Israeli raid on Osirak, the recent raid on Syria) to mitigate risk to their programs

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