Gale A. Mattox and Stephen M. Grenier (Eds.). 2015. Coalition Challenges in Afghanistan: The Politics of Alliance

AuthorGavin Briggs
Published date01 August 2019
Date01 August 2019
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 219
The obvious counterfactual question to this book is whether there would have
been as much violence and destruction if some other member of the Chinese
leadership had been in command of the policy. The answer almost certainly is a no.
That said, this point should not detract from what is an outstanding work of political
history which can function equally well as an advanced undergraduate text. China
Under Mao is a book for the layperson seeking insight into the struggles that
contemporary China has had to negotiate as well as offering a valuable perspective
for specialists in the debate on the politics of the CCP under Mao.
Nicholas Khoo
Department of Politics University of Otago, New Zealand
Gale A. Mattox and Stephen M. Grenier (Eds.). 2015. Coalition
Challenges in Afghanistan: The Politics of Alliance.Stanford: Stanford
University Press. 334pp. ISBN: 978-0-8047-9444-2.
DOI: 10.1177/2347797019842705
The United States management of its Coalition in Afghanistan has proved complex
yet workable. In the period immediately after 11 September 2001, the Bush
Administration capitalised on goodwill from many states, allowing the United
States to conduct immediate, interventionist military operations in Afghanistan.
The pre-emptive 2003 invasion of Iraq by the so-called ‘Coalition of the Willing’
rapidly diluted much of that global support. Nonetheless, the non-participation in
the Iraq conflict did not alter the commitment of states such as Germany and
France to operate in Afghanistan. Gale Mattox and Stephen Grenier’s edited
volume Coalition Challenges in Afghanistan: The Politics of Alliance delivers a
comprehensive account of how a range of nations came together to fight against a
resilient foe that remains unbowed. This is accomplished via a diverse collection
of case studies exploring the role of the multiple nations that have participated in
this conflict between 2001 and 2014. The 15 case studies are assembled under
geographical groupings, such as the Western hemisphere, Europe and a combined
section under the Middle East and Asia. Additionally, the case studies are not
limited to just the challenges and complexities of coalition members but also
include important regional actors such as Pakistan and Russia.
Many of the edited volume’s contributors examined not just the differences on
the ground or actual battlefield, but the various levels of domestic support enjoyed
back home. In the period immediately following the 9/11 attacks, acquiring this
domestic support for expeditionary forces proved relatively easy for some of the
United States’ closest allies, including the United Kingdom and Australia.
However, as Daniel Brown and Ariel Ahram note in their contribution, this was
not the case for all nations. The Kingdom of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates
provided largely symbolic contributions, each having different motivations for
their involvement but neither enjoying popular domestic support for their role in
the Afghan War (pp. 201–2). Many other states were also forced to respond to

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