Little America by Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Little America by Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Little America is the story of America’s failure to learn the lessons of the past, in digging itself into an unwinnable war – economically or militarily – in Afghanistan. The eponymous ‘little America’ began as a project in the 1960s as an attempt to modernise, or industrialise the country, which was an economic shambles, which ended when the Russians invaded.

To borrow a line from The Princess Bride: “never get involved in a land war in Asia.”

The Afghanistan war, following the attacks of September 11 has turned into a bottomless money-pit, which successive presidencies have been unable to resolve. This book examines a lot of the underlying corruption, and other problems which have ultimately stood in the way of military, economic, or aid success. It would be easy to simply point the finger at one factor, but it is a series of failures which have compounded each other.

Little America is a rather depressing book, and it pulls no punches when it comes to what the underlying problems are, both in Afghanistan, and other areas of conflict that the West is trying to insert itself into.

An important read for anyone who wants to know where the money goes.

4.5 stars.

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