Afghanistan: Unsuccessful Nation-Building Projects by the US Part 1

The people of Afghanistan, and the people of other countries around Afghanistan, have a poor understanding of the two important concepts of “state” and “nation”, still knowing and interpreting the state and the nation according to traditional concepts. The general interpretation of people in West Asia is the traditional concept of government, which is less compatible with today’s objective and empirical realities.


, historical memory and even the culture of bureaucracy, are traditional in Afghanistan. A striking example of this is the weak relationship between the state and the nation. Neither do officials understand the bill of their duties as a modern government, nor does the nation know its responsible citizenship duties.

The idea of ​​a state has not been conceived at any level. Attempts to in indigenous and non-indigenous ways have been made at various times in the history of Afghanistan, but to no avail because with the start of a new era in 2001, another stage of nationalisation began in a special form. It has been witnessed that this action, called the American nationalisation project, did not solve Afghanistan’s main problem. To understand this format, it should be studied scientifically. The same model has been applied in Iraq. Therefore, a comparative study will be carried out on the obstacles and differences in the American approach in these two countries, and the response of the Afghan and Iraqi people.

US Nationalisation Projects

A US-led global coalition entered Afghanistan and Iraq and opened a new page in the process of nationalisation in both countries. The fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the fall of Saddam in Iraq, who were imposed on the nations of these two countries using tyranny and ideology, destroyed past nation-building efforts in both countries. The United States came and announced its mission to build a nation-state. World-class texts now tell the story of the in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Bearing in mind the strengths and weaknesses, it can be said that the highlight of US presence and the facilities it provided to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq was the opportunity to try and build strong nations. The elites of Afghanistan and Iraq, both inside and outside the United States, could have taken advantage of this opportunity by modifying the American model and localising it based on objective facts in both countries; but they did not. There are also many weaknesses. First, the United States defined its mission of nationalisation to be a project in both countries, while nationalisation is a process. Second, there was the American model of top-down nationalism which was unsuitable for the societies and peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq. Third, the US-backed political elites of these countries, with past entanglements, sought to structure and define their nations based on their own tastes rather than the realities of their countries. Fourth, the US mission in Afghanistan and Iraq was limited to its military dimension, and nationalisation efforts were influenced by Washington’s military behaviour. Fifth, and most important, the United States has left its mission unfinished.

The situation in Iraq has been very similar to the one in Afghanistan since 2003. First, they both share a common destiny in West Asia; namely, the fall of authoritarian regimes with the intervention of an outside power and the creation of new opportunities for nationalisation. Second, the two countries suffer from the same threats. Third, Afghanistan has many social, historical, geographical and political similarities with Iraq. Of course, there are also those aspects differentiating nationalisation efforts. Iraq is an artificial state founded on heterogeneous lands, while Afghanistan is part of a great civilisation formed on homogeneous land.

Deep religious-theological gaps have existed in Iraq since the first and second centuries AH until now, but religious and theological differences in Afghanistan are in unparalleled unity. There have been potential and actual separatist movements in Iraq since the establishment of the modern state, but Afghanistan is fortunate to have a developmentalist mentality. The Persians consider the lands of Bukhara and Samarkand as part of their territory. The Pashtuns consider the lands beyond the Durand Line to be part of Afghanistan. Uzbeks and Hazaras all along the Afghan border seek to connect with those who speak the same language and practise the same religion.

External nationalisation has not been successful anywhere in the world. Even in the American model, in which the Americans are proud of the success of their missions in Germany, Japan, and South Korea; if it were not for the actions of the people of these three countries, they would have failed like all other missions. American and Western writers see the mission of American in the world as a failure, with the exception of these three countries. If responsible elites do not act to localise the , the last remaining opportunities will be lost.

It is also acknowledged that the political elites living in Afghanistan need a container and opportunity to take steps towards nationalisation. Otherwise, there will be no ability to act . The idea of ​​the state and the idea of ​​the nation lives among its traditional elites and people. India made the best use of the British presence for reform and nation-building. This window of opportunity is limited by time.

The diaspora of Iraq and Afghanistan chant beautiful slogans before their return to their country, recounting the experiences of developed countries and offering ideal American models for improvement. But this can happen only when they return. Be that as it may, they come back, repeat the same traditional experience, and their ideas turn into the ideas of ​​the traditional state and nation. They are unable to apply the notions and experiences they have gained abroad. On the other hand, the domestic political elites, who have experienced much bitterness, see the solution to nation-building in self-sacrifice and understanding; this is what we see today in the negotiation process.

Incidentally, these domestic elites are sacrificing more than the diaspora, because their step is aimed at retreat, and it so happens that the creation of a native model of nationalisation is at a standstill. Gholam Mohammad Ghobar says: “Afghanistan wore dirty clothes every time after bathing.” We feel that this sentence is in line with the situation in Afghanistan.

American nationalisation has been very unsuccessful. At least 25 nation-building missions have been carried out by the United States since 1945, of which eight were successful missions and 14 were failed missions. These statistics, of course, are provided by the Americans themselves. Of these missions, there are only three successful ones: the people and political elites of Germany, Japan and South Korea changed the course of the American model of nationalisation and localised it in line with their lifestyles and societies. Afghanistan and Iraq are still being tested; sufficient literature, however, has been produced on the failure of the American nationalisation project in both countries.

Nationalisation is a sociological-historical process through which, with the fading of ethnic, tribal, racial, gender, linguistic, etc, distinctions, a large number of “people” in a “specific land” turn to a “common historical identity”. They consider preserving their common values ​​as one of their vital tasks. The term nationalism became popular in the 1930s and 1940s among political scientists with a historical approach. The theory of nationalisation was first used to describe the process of national cohesion leading to the establishment of modern nation-states as distinct from the various traditional forms of states, such as feudal, monarchical and ecclesiastical states, and empires.

Models of State-Building

It is no secret that the stability, power, technological advances, and authority of Western nations is the outcome of a successful state-nation-building process; conversely, long-running tensions and wide-ranging conflicts in other The Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and even Eastern Europe, have suffered the failure of this process. It is to emphasise the importance and role of states that some thinkers have called the present age one of nation-states. State-building is a process through which the relationship between the state and the people is regulated, defined and institutionalised in the form of various political, economic, social, cultural and essentially legal structures.

In general, it can be said that every society pursues its particular ways of state-nation-building, and without a doubt, this cannot be applied to other societies. In other words, it can be said that the number of state-building processes is as big a number as there are countries. But, in order to facilitate the study of state-building trends in different societies, it is necessary to categorise them and, by identifying their common features, narrow the field of study as much as possible. Criteria such as geography, culture, history, and the preference and precedence of state-building are important features for determining the models of state-building.

Three models can be considered for this: The of the state or nation and the model of international state-building are among the most common and valid models for studying the state-nation-building process in today’s world. In the model of the precedence and latency of the state and the nation, the state-nation-building process is examined in two ways. As stated earlier, nation-building precedes state-building, as has happened in European countries where the nation was first formed and then these nations became the bedrock of state formation. Sometimes the opposite is true, such as the actions of the United States in many third world countries where, in the first instance, state-building was followed by a process of nationalisation by governments, with the former as a bottom-up model and the latter as a

But the third model more commonly used in the discussion of Afghanistan and countries like it is the international state-nation-building model, which has been called state-nation-building from the outside, and even the imperial-state-nation-building. In this model, an external factor (such as foreign country or international institution) tries to intervene in the process and the necessary planning is guided with the support and supervision of a foreign actor. The model of international state-building was first used in Germany and Japan after World War II. At this point, the United States began to build statehood in the two countries. Germany and Japan have had very successful experiences with government and nation-building. In Germany, however, this was not an easy task and the Germans went through many ups and downs to succeed in overcoming the challenges of state-building. The new experience of this model began in the Balkans in the 1990s, and today state-building in Afghanistan and Iraq is a clear example of the international state-building model.

Reasons for the Failure of Government-Nation Building Project in Afghanistan

  1. Deep Cultural and Social Gaps

The main features of Afghan society, which have emerged in the political structure of this country, are its multi-ethnic, religious and cultural aspects. Afghanistan’s population is estimated at 27 to 32 million (depending on the number of refugees). It is estimated that 38% are Pashtun (around 50% according to other sources), 25% Tajik, 19% Hazara, 6% Uzbek and 12% of other ethnicities. In terms of religion, 84% are Sunni Muslims, 15% Shiite Muslims and 1% religious minorities. The official languages ​​of Afghanistan are Pashto and Dari, and Arabic is used for religious ceremonies. The literacy rate (people 15 years of age or older) is 47% for men and 15% for women.

There are also many different ethnic groups and subgroups living in the mountains of Afghanistan, the three main groups being the Hazaras, the Shiite Tajiks and the Nuristanis. The Hazaras, who are themselves a Shiite group, are believed to have come here with Genghis Khan – the great Moghul general who came to the region in the 13th century – and have a Moghul appearance. The Tajiks are Afghanistan’s second largest ethnic group after the Pashtuns. Most of them live in cities, but a small number live in the rugged and forested mountainous areas of Badakhshan and Nuristan east of Kabul.

There are small towns on the banks of Helmand River, but there are no densely populated centres in the desert region of Afghanistan. The inhabitants of this region are mostly Pashtuns, who make up at least a third of Afghanistan’s population and live mainly in the southern parts of the country. The two main groups of Pashtuns and Durranis (former Abdali), of which the Pashtuns are the dominant one, have the most political power in the country and most of the political leaders have emerged from this group.

Sunni Tajiks make up the bulk of the population in the steppe areas and are mostly concentrated in Kabul and Herat. There are four million Tajiks living in Afghanistan and their language is similar to Persian. Another major ethnic group in northern Afghanistan is the Uzbeks, numbering 1.5 million. Uzbeks are strong people who are mainly engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry and their origins go back to the Turks of Central Asia.

This mosaic structure is discontinuous and disorganised, exhibiting a heterogeneous mixture of characteristics in the objective function of a structure. The context that gives this structure content is based on diverse components. These prominent features in the national structure of Afghan society have extensively and visibly revealed a state of disintegration and discontinuity, creating increasing disturbance and disintegration in the social organisation of the country.

Ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity are the key elements of the national component in Afghanistan. The incomplete, underdeveloped characteristics of these elements have weakened the consistency and resilience of the common national spirit. Emphasis on tribal affiliations, values ​​and subcultures, prioritising religious notions over religious solidarity and promoting tribal symbols instead of national symbols, are obvious manifestations of the immaturity and deficiencies of the “national spirit.” It is as if fragmented structures in the political unit of Afghanistan have crystallised together. The prolonged existence of this sick structure has led to the closure of the arteries of macro-interaction between the national elements. And now, it seems to have shattered into different pieces again, leading to further divergence between ethnicities which make up the fabric of society. The social structure of Afghan society has helped bring about this situation. Persistent ethnic-tribal affiliations in this country have further increased the disjointed cultural rifts and the opportunity for dialogue and national harmony.

Numerous important factors have played a key role in the development and consolidation of this process, including the two main factors of spreading the culture of poverty and insisting on tribal culture. Persistent poverty has reduced social dynamism and mobility for social interaction, creating a socio-cultural problem in relations and the national structure. This phenomenon has taken the form of a “subculture” in the mechanism of social life and has been passed down from generation to generation with specific aftermaths. The consequences of the “culture of poverty” in Afghanistan are the social introversion and lack of effective participation by individuals in the public sphere, prevalence of certain social characteristics such as fear, despair, hatred of the political system, and violent social and political behaviour. From the available information on tribal culture, we can also point to its inseparability, irrationality, displays of nervous behaviour, disbelief in political socialisation, as well as various religious, racial and local conflicts .


One reason for the lack of a modern national government and nation in Afghanistan is the vague picture of national values ​​and common national interests. National values ​​are the shared values ​​and common needs of the inhabitants of a country for progress. Common national values transcend all ethnic, tribal, linguistic, and religious values. But common national values ​​and interests in Afghanistan remain undefined and unresolved. The multiplicity of ethnic and linguistic groups, the separate lives they lead, and the confines of tribal and ethnic traditions, all become obstacles to outlining and consolidating common national values ​​and interests. National identity and national values ​​are defined by different ethnic groups based on their interests.

  1. The Special Geographical Location of Afghanistan

The physical and geographical structure of Afghanistan is another factor in its failure to form a consolidated, modern nation-state. The dynamics and challenges of Afghanistan’s geographical structure in nation-building are varied. The cooperation of some regional countries with rival international powers in this game and the competition over Afghanistan has added to the complexity of the situation, the negative impacts of which on Afghanistan can be seen in its political instability; and this is while we know that political stability is one of the main elements of nation-state building. Afghanistan’s geographical structure is also challenging internally for nation-state building. The mountainous location, dispersal of the population in the valleys, and rural and isolated life, make the phenomenon of nation-building in Afghanistan more inaccessible.

  1. Political and Economic Barriers

Challenging political factors of various dimensions have made the formation of modern and national governments unattainable in over one hundred years. The acquisition of political power, not through the people’s choice but through power struggle, is a negative factor in state-nation-building and the formation of a modern nation-state. The dependence of Afghan governments and rulers on foreign support, both in terms of gaining political power and maintaining it to varying degrees in the last century, is another part of the challenges in the state-nation-building process. The weakness or lack of legitimacy of the dominant governments and rulers, resulting from the bloody power struggles, makes them incapable of forming a modern nation-state. The tyranny of the rulers in the contemporary history of Afghanistan has always paved the way for the formation of modern and national governments. While political participation and pluralism are among the prerequisites of forming a modern nation-state, political tyranny and exclusivism based on ethnic, tribal, linguistic and religious discrimination has destroyed the foundations of this participation.

One of the factors consistently hindering the formation of modern national governments in contemporary Afghanistan is the internal power struggle. The power struggle, while in conflict with the idea of ​​nation-building, has every opportunity in this regard, both in theory and in practice from governments and statesmen. Until the 1970s, power struggle was a tribal or family affair between the kings and princes of the ruling tribes. The conflicts and power struggles between the kings and princes of the Sadozai and Mohammadzai tribes, and the endless wars between their leaders, were in fact ongoing conflicts over access, maintenance and expansion of power. But despite changes in the process of gaining power in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, it can be seen that most of the elections held in this country have been accompanied by controversy and allegations of rigging as the transfer of power remains inefficient. Compromise has become between groups, individuals and tribes. This process is in fact a modern reproduction of the incomplete and inefficient qibla and tribal structure of the past.

On the other hand, poverty and deep inadequacies in the economic infrastructure are serious obstacles to state-nation building in Afghanistan.

Economic poverty and a lack of government funds have left Afghan governments permanently dependent on foreign aid, and the cessation of such aid has led to the continued collapse of governments. Poverty also has an adverse effect on society and deprives the general public of the power and opportunity to achieve national and social goals. In a situation of extreme poverty, people are not interested in participating in political and even social activities, which are part of the requirements of state-nation-building; this situation has constantly engulfed Afghan society. Poverty is rife in Afghanistan. Approximately 42% of the population is below the poverty line, many of whom are at serious risk; women and the youth are among the most vulnerable in the country. When submerged in poverty, the government and the people – and certainly the people – do not have the power to change social and political life.

  1. The Failure of International State-Building (Failure of the International Community in Afghanistan)

In the model of international state-building, if the opportunities are used properly and accurately, popular values ​​and human rights will gradually be institutionalised and come to fruition. Successful examples of this model of nationalisation can be seen in Kosovo, East Timor and Sierra Leone. On the flip side, there are also unsuccessful examples, such as Somalia, Haiti and Cambodia, which can be realised in a timely manner due to lack of opportunities. Nevertheless, the international model of state-building is one of the most common and successful models that has been implemented and institutionalised in many countries since World War II. Today, some of these countries are at the forefront of democratic systems and technology (such as Germany and Japan), while others have been less successful than Tier 1 countries.

But historically, the process of state-building in Afghanistan has included five major stages: The first stage is its independence and separation from Iran. The second stage is the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the formation of a communist government. The third stage is the withdrawal of the (former) Soviet Union from Afghanistan, followed by the formation of the Mujahedin Islamic State. The fourth stage is the formation of a government by the Taliban, and the fifth stage is the formation of a government with US intervention in this country. The presence of a US-led global coalition in Afghanistan since 2001, until its withdrawal in 2021, should be considered the beginning of the modern state-building process in the style of international-state or international nation-building. The United States sees itself as a hegemonic leader, ensuring security and world order. Such a goal requires the democratisation of political systems and the establishment of stable states that play a positive role in the world order.

Since 2001, terrorism has become a global phenomenon threatening the stability and security of all countries worldwide. The attack on the World Trade Center killed thousands of people; in the eyes of the international community, Afghanistan became a haven for terrorists. From that day on, terrorism was present as a serious new threat at any time in any place. The fight against this phenomenon was initiated by the international community, and after the presence of coalition forces in Afghanistan, the groundwork was laid for the defeat of the Taliban. At the time, this was thought to be the end of terrorism in Afghanistan. Next, the foundations of a national government had to be laid to prevent the re-emergence of terrorist attacks and to lead Afghanistan towards a system of democracy and universal values ​​and human rights. This has been done with the help of various countries, including the United States. More than a decade has passed since then. Afghanistan, however, still has an imperfect and rudimentary democratic system and it can be argued that the current system will not be able to maintain the country – or at least its democratic achievements – without international support. Despite significant progress in this area, there is still a long way to go before one can talk about a real nation-state. The government of men, cultural and civic institutions, and the political elites of Afghanistan, along with regional and international actors, must work hard to remove Afghanistan from the list of bankrupt governments and save Afghan society from its current regression once and for all.

A Brief History of Contemporary Afghanistan

Afghanistan has always been known by world powers for its multiplicity of tribes and clans, special geographical conditions and numerous neighbours with their own special economic, military, political and religious situations. From 1950 to the early 1970s, the United States provided $ 400 million in loans, grants, and agricultural equipment for Afghanistan.

US-Afghan relations were strained in the 1950s as a result of Afghanistan’s conflict with Pakistan, which at the time was pursuing a military alliance with the United States in pursuit of a blockade policy against the Soviet Union.

By the 1960s, US interests in Afghanistan were almost absent, while Soviet aid was largely devoted to strategic infrastructure projects in the country. Thus, from the 1960s onwards, the Soviet Union virtually monopolised Afghanistan’s economy.

Formal economic relations between the two countries began in 1950. In 1954, the Soviet Union paid a $ 3.5 million loan to Afghanistan. Gradually, the Soviet Union increased its lending to Afghanistan to $ 100 million under the 28 January 1956 agreement. This amount had to be repaid to the Soviet Union within 22 years. Article 1 of the agreement also provided for the dispatch of Soviet specialists to Afghanistan.

Apart from the Soviet political influence in Afghanistan, given its political, economic and military presence in the country, another important reason which completed the political domination of Afghanistan by the Soviets was the government which came to power in Afghanistan in 1973.

A bloody military coup was waged by the (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan) and plunged the country into the abyss of proxy wars for years. Direct Soviet military intervention soon turned this civil war into a global jihad against former Soviet and Afghan communists. Afghanistan became a new arena for small proxy warfare in the Cold War era, sparking the rise of the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorist groups and US military intervention. ISAF pursued the attack on the United States on 11 September 2001.

The 1979 coup in Afghanistan forced Afghan Muslim groups to line up against the Soviet Communist Army. Islamic Jihad parties, such as the Islamic Party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Younis Khalis, the Islamic Union of Sayyaf, the Gilani National Front, the National Salvation of Mujaddidi which were mainly Pashtuns, etc, took part in this war. Eventually, the jihadist parties defeated the Red Army and the Soviet forces left Afghanistan. For the first time, the political sovereignty of Afghanistan was formally handed over to the Tajik people under the presidency of Burhanuddin Rabbani. The Pashtun people, who could not stand this situation, once again caused chaos and insecurity in Afghanistan by launching a two-year civil war (1992-93). Under these circumstances, the new Taliban force, mostly Pashtuns, quickly took control of large parts of Afghanistan and in the fall of 1994 captured more than 80% of Afghanistan, becoming an important centre of power.

Thus, the Taliban emerged from southern Afghanistan in 1994. Very quickly, they were able to show themselves in the political arena of Afghanistan. Mazar-e-Sharif was the only place left where the opposition to Taliban was stationed. The Taliban captured Mazar-e-Sharif in 1997 and their domination of Afghanistan was nearly complete.

The manner in which governments come to power in Afghanistan is also important. The system of government has long been based on ethnic and tribal federalism. Governments usually had closer ties with tribal chiefs and leaders, and tribal chiefs supported leaders who pursued their interests. When the central government was weak, tribes and clans rebelled against it. Government ruled over tribes and clans in a number of ways: one, government based on force, repression, or threats; two, bribery; three, a mixture of the above two methods.

The coming to power of governments has been done in three ways: through merit and individual forces like Ahmad Khan, through coups and repression, through the

Sometimes, governments such as Daud Khan, Taraki, etc, have come to power through coups and repression. Sometimes, in addition to using military methods, the Loya Jirga has also been used, such as when Ahmad Khan Abdali came to power. Until then, a democratically-elected government had not come to power in Afghanistan. Even the Mujahedin government, which had a stronger popular image, did not emerge through the polls. The formation of the Mujahedin Provisional Government in Peshawar, led by Sabghatullah Mujaddidi, took place the day after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, after the fall of . The Mujahedin Islamic State led by Sabghatullah Mujaddidi was elected for a period of two months, followed by the formation of a government led by Burhanuddin Rabbani for a period of four months without a referendum. Rabbani was elected for another two years by the Dispute Settlement Council without actually going to a referendum. The discussion of the nation-state and its formation in Afghanistan has had many ups and downs and challenges in the contemporary history of this country.

In its recent history, the United States was the country to occupy Afghanistan. Everything that was done in Afghanistan had the support of the people. According to this history, the most important problems and challenges facing the nation-state can be listed as follows: foreign aggression and interference (Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States); existence of different tribes and clans; lack of national identity; domestic tyranny and dictatorship; lack of a common political culture; ethnicity instead of nationalism; elitist tendencies of the rulers; disagreements over national interests; traditional, backward thinking.

US Policies and Goals in Afghanistan and Iraq

The US invasion of Afghanistan, and then Iraq, created a new atmosphere in the region, marking a change in US policy in the Middle East and Central Asia. September 11, 2003 prompted conservative republicans in the United States to accelerate US action in the region.

  1. US Policies and Goals in Afghanistan and Iraq Before 9/11

The most important principles of American foreign policy are derived from the grand strategy that governs the United States. This macro-strategy has been shaped and consolidated by understanding the historical background, value and epistemological patterns of the people, geopolitical requirements and the degree of power in both its potential and actual forms. American leaders, regardless of when they came to power and regardless of their political affiliations, have had to justify their behaviour and policies within the framework of this grand strategy. This macro-strategy imposes itself on the decision-makers, and leaders identify their approaches and methods with it in order to implement the strategy. America’s grand strategy has always been based on the realisation of two components: the legitimacy of capitalism on a global scale and the globalisation of political and cultural liberalism. In order to achieve this grand strategy, the structure of political decision-making in the United States has been the policy of consolidating power and influence on the one hand, and the policy of expanding American power and influence on the international stage on the other. The system and tradition of American foreign policy is such that, in addition to the official establishment, comprised of the Congress, federal and local governments, and Democratic and Republican parties, foreign policy is also developed by many think tanks and institutions. The power and influence of some of these institutions is so great that it is often difficult to make decisions on foreign affairs without their consent. Such sources of influence in US foreign policy outside the establishment include the Council on Foreign Relations, the Tripartite Commission, influential groups (producers, immigrants, the Jewish lobby), political parties, public opinion, and scholars and research institutes. Influential groups are not, in principle, part of the structure of government. However, their existence is recognised in law and they influence foreign policy decisions from the outside.

The American Empire is only comparable to the Roman Empire, because the Roman Empire at its height in the first century CE was also a unipolar power, similar to what we see now. This analogy, however, is by no means in the sense of a two-empire, either in substance or in form, because the American Empire is larger, deeper, and more pervasive. For the first time since the first century CE, we see that the structure of the international system is clearly unipolar, and the American Empire is at the heart of this system. Today, the monopoly system dominates the international arena. Based on this understanding of the US position in the international system,  the theoretical foundations of US foreign policy can be divided into the following features: from superiority to hegemony; translating power into the American accent; from restraint to overthrow; the inevitability of leadership; correlation between value and foreign policy; war on two fronts; liberalism and economic prosperity; diplomacy in the light of power; exercise of military power; and Christianity.

The following are some of the most important presidents who have dominated US foreign policy with their thinking after World War II and during the Cold War: Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan.

The unimaginable events of 9/11 did not take place within the framework of a structured process or enjoy support. Its aftershocks not only did not harm the American hegemony, it facilitated its continuous expansion. The United States is highly influential in international politics and participates in important economic, political, and military decision-making. The methods of economic development it promotes within the framework of liberal teachings through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, in which it has the largest share, along with a more active role in economic decision-making that reflects $ 11 trillion in economic strength and close budgets. With its spending of $ 2.5 trillion, a wider US presence is being witnessed in determining the political nature of countries and changes on the global political map. When Fukuyama speaks of liberal democracy and capitalism as the only framework for the political and economic organisation of modern societies, he is in fact looking at American political attitudes guiding the nature of political life in the world.

To explain US foreign policy after 9/11, we must first refer to the doctrine of George W Bush, who served as president of the United States from 2000 to 2008, and the costly attacks and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to justify the fight against terrorism. To explain this period, one should refer to Walter Mead’s theories. Walter Mead is one of the theorists who defined the foundations of American foreign policy based on the behaviour and actions of a number of US presidents. He considers US foreign policy during the presidencies of Hamilton, Jackson, Wilson and Jefferson to have coordinates that can be extended to US foreign policy in any other period to varying degrees. According to Mead’s theory, the foundations of foreign policy in the administration of George W Bush, going beyond neoconservatives in the United States, are a fusion of Jacksonian and Wilsonian thought. In other words, neoconservatives, relying on the identity of Jackson, who sees the world as black and white and believes in using military force to advance US foreign policy goals, pursue Wilson’s goals, which are based on the American belief in its uniqueness and global mission to guide the world. In addition, a series of developments since the end of the Cold War and the events of 11 September 2001, as well as the aftermath of the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and, finally, the financial crisis in the West, have led to the concept of the US national security doctrine for strategic multilateralism, aiming at maintaining the leadership power of the United States.

In general, it can be said that the Americanisation of the world and the globalisation of American values ​​(through, gold, coercion, hypocrisy, logic, and rational attraction) has been central in American foreign policy and its governing schools, especially since the age of Wilsonianism. In other periods, Jacksonism, or the thought of “core interests” devoid of “morality”, has been central. Wilsonianism was once a slogan and support weapon, used as a pretext to advance certain goals and interests (the school of Jacksonism). At times, some doctrines, the Reagan, Bush, and George W Bush doctrines in particular, created a veritable fusion of Wilsonianism and Jacksonism in foreign policy. Finally, there were times when Wilsonianism was the dominating school of thought and Jacksonism was exploited only to the extent of controlling internal pressures. The Clinton Doctrine is a prime example of this. In general, in none of the post-World War I periods has the Hamiltonian school been considered as a major basis for foreign policy, because in the doctrines of American presidents – and in the field of foreign affairs – Hamiltonism has generally been considered a deterrent to control the resulting pressures. In this regard, efforts have been made to avoid linking foreign issues to domestic issues. This means the decline of Hamiltonism in foreign policy, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Once the establishment of the World Trade Organization with US support and the events of 9/11 had come a full circle, it went so far as to remove this school from US foreign policy.

US Middle East policy has long focused on supporting authoritarian allies who protect Washington’s interests in the region. Maintaining stability at the heart of this approach formed the general structure of US Middle East policy. As anti-American sentiments intensified with the 9/11 attacks on American soil, White House politicians shifted to a security approach rather than maintaining stability in the region.

  1. US Policies and Goals in Afghanistan After 9/11

The United States redefined its regional policies and goals in the Middle East after 9/11 with the slogan of global counterterrorism. Following the invasion of Afghanistan and its far-reaching implications, the United States formulated its general policies as the “Greater Middle East Initiative“. The plan sought to eradicate the roots of extremism and violence in the region through democracy and the opening up of the political and social space, as well as providing new political room for the normalisation of Israel’s relations with the region.

As mentioned earlier, the top-down nation-state model was first used in Germany and Japan after World War II. Back then, the United States began to build statehood in these two countries, which demonstrates a kind of external coercion and pressure by the big powers for state-nation-building.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the United States as the sole dominating superpower, created new structures in line with its policies in the new world order and American order in the world, using various methods such as economic aid, cultural programmes, election monitoring, and military intervention and occupation. This is why the US operations in Germany and Japan (after World War II), and Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo can be called the most important US efforts in nation-state-building from the top down. After the experience of Germany and Japan following World War II, and the experience of the Balkans in the 1990s, the presence of the US-led international coalition in Afghanistan in 2001 should be considered the beginning of a new experience for this model. The United States considers itself a leading hegemonic actor in ensuring security and world order.

The events of 9/11 provided a good opportunity for neoconservatives to devise a roadmap for power-based politics and restore the hegemony of the United States in the new space to engage in state-nation-building in their own way.

Afghanistan After the Invasion

Nearly three centuries have passed since the founding of their country, but Afghans still have a tribal viewpoint of governance. Over the past two decades, the United States has tried to get Afghans to paint a completely different picture of government. By pursuing an offensive strategy in this country, the United States intends to force the Afghans to accept that government must not be tribal, but that it is a central commitment and other institutions in society must take their place within this framework of values ​​and criteria. After the defeat of the Taliban, George W Bush made many promises about the US commitment to nationalisation and the promotion of democracy in Afghanistan. He said that his war on terror is not a crusade against Islam and is aimed at terrorist extremists.

The following is a summary of the Bonn Conference in 2001:

  1. From the Collapse of the Taliban to the Interim Government

At this point, the United States Armed Forces launched an attack on al-Qaeda terrorist bases and Taliban military bases in Afghanistan under the command of George W Bush. Following the final defeat of the Taliban, the Bonn Conference Agreement was signed in December 2001 after nine days of meetings and agreements between various Afghan parties. The Bonn Agreement sought to establish an interim government and set a time frame for the transfer of power.

  1. From the Provisional Government to the Transitional Government

The resolutions of the Bonn 4 summit stipulated that an emergency Loya Jirga should be formed within six months of the interim government taking office to decide on a transitional government until free elections were held for a popular government in Afghanistan.

  1. From the Transitional Government to the Approval of the Constitution

The Afghan Constitution was finally approved by the Loya Jirga on 4 January 2004. This was a new constitution for Afghanistan after nearly forty years

  1. From the Approval of the Constitution to the Presidential Election

Following the adoption of the Constitution, the Afghan presidential, National Assembly and State Council elections were all held simultaneously in the spring of 2004.

According to American strategists, an independent economy and an inclusive, independent middle class taking shape can, in addition to reducing dependence on outsiders, reduce extremism or balance it by bringing it into existing economic currents. Afghanistan is composed of different ethnic, linguistic and religious groups which have never looked at each other in the context of having a common national culture and identity, rather clashing with each other due to their ethnic and tribal differences.


The crisis of Afghanistan’s ethnic geography can be considered as an international crisis, even affecting similar mosaic communities in Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries. This is why the first American step, influenced by the resolutions of the Bonn Conference, sought to transform ethnic pluralism into a cultural and national one. Ethnically, the interim government was composed of eight Tajiks, five Shiite Hazaras, eleven Pashtuns, and three Uzbeks, with the rest of the positions being allocated to other minorities. However, many important and powerful ministries remained under Tajik power, controlling security tools in Kabul.

The transitional government was composed of sixteen Pashtuns, seven Tajiks, five Shiite Hazaras, three Uzbeks, and the rest from other minorities. The United States intended to form a government in Afghanistan before it could take control of the entire country. Afghanistan is called a “weak state-weak nation”. A weak state due to lack of central authority, the most important structural weakness of which is the lack of control over the territorial integrity of the country, and a weak nation due to a lack of national strength, where ethnic loyalty takes precedence over national loyalty.


Final Word


Overall, nation-building according to the American model does not seem to have been very successful in Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan and Iraq face challenges and constraints on nation-statehood that hinder the continuation of the nation-state process in both countries. There are many reasons for the failure of state-building in Afghanistan and Iraq, but some of the main reasons in Afghanistan can be stated as follows: ethnic and social problems, political problems due to weak government, economic problems, educational problems, cultural differences, heaslth issues, constant insurgency, instability, interference from neighbouring countries and, in general, external interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

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