News Release

Afghanistan and Beyond: Does NATO Just Make Things Worse?


NATO has called an “Extraordinary Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs” in Brussels for Friday.

Available for interviews beginning Friday morning, Gibbs is professor of history at the University of Arizona and has published extensively on foreign intervention in Afghanistan since the 1980s. Most recently, see his “Afghanistan and the Politics of Quagmire: A Retrospective Analysis of U.S. Policy,” [PDF], a chapter in the book Rebuilding Afghanistan from 2019. Gibbs documents much of the history of outside intervention in Afghanistan, including little-known U.S., Pakistani and Iranian (under the Shah) operations in the early 1970s, which began Afghanistan’s instability.

He notes that former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski under Jimmy Carter (in a 1998 interview) boasted that the U.S. government’s backing of the Mujahideen fighters allegedly brought down the Soviet Union even though it led to the Taliban taking over the country.

Gibbs, author of the book First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, published by Vanderbilt University Press, has also scrutinized the pattern of NATO’s conduct beyond Afghanistan.

He has said that NATO’s “record on global security has been disastrous, especially with regard to its efforts at interventionism and regime change. Its 1999 bombing of Serbia and Kosovo greatly augmented the scale of atrocities and ethnic cleansing. The 2011 NATO intervention in Libya was even more disastrous, triggering a generalized destabilization of the whole North African region. And more recently, NATO expansion into Eastern Europe has contributed to rising tensions between the West and Russia. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO’s principal legacy has been to generate global insecurity and destabilization — all at great expense to taxpayers.”

See IPA news release from earlier this week: “Afghanistan: * War Profits * Vietnam II * Crocodile Tears * U.S. Bombing.”