The Fatal Conceit of Foreign Intervention: Evidence from the Afghanistan Papers

35 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2021 Last revised: 22 Apr 2021

See all articles by Karras Lambert

Karras Lambert

George Mason University - Department of Economics; F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics - Mercatus Center

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Nathan P. Goodman

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 20, 2021

Abstract

The fatal conceit of foreign intervention refers to the limitations faced by governments using discretionary power to address perceived problems in foreign societies. Drawing on evidence from the “Afghanistan Papers”—a collection of internal government documents compiled by the Special Inspector General for the Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and released in December 2019—we demonstrate how the failure of the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan to meet the stated objectives illustrates the fatal conceit of foreign intervention. We explore the limitations faced by foreign government interveners in three stages, reflecting distinct decision nodes within a means-ends framework in which the policies relating to foreign intervention are formulated and implemented.

Keywords: Afghanistan, Afghanistan Papers, fatal conceit, foreign intervention, nation building

JEL Classification: D73, F50, H56

Suggested Citation

Lambert, Karras and Coyne, Christopher J. and Goodman, Nathan, The Fatal Conceit of Foreign Intervention: Evidence from the Afghanistan Papers (January 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3769647 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3769647

Karras Lambert

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

Fairfax, VA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://economics.gmu.edu/people/klamber7

F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics - Mercatus Center ( email )

Arlington, VA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://asp.mercatus.org/people/karras-lambert

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ccoyne.com/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/christopher-coyne

Nathan Goodman

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
60
Abstract Views
211
rank
422,668
PlumX Metrics