International Law Studies


In Doha, Qatar the government of the United States has conducted successive rounds of negotiations with a non-State, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban) over the future of a State that was not present—the Government of Afghanistan. Regardless of the outcome, the United States will retain a national security interest in Afghanistan and the region. Contextually nuanced strategic choices will be critical and law could be a key strategy. This article identifies relevant Afghan history—a collective longue durée—appraises the severable sovereignty of the Afghan State, and underscores the imperative of working below the State. Drawing on a 1952 U.S. Naval War College lecture on strategy delivered by Harold D. Lasswell, this article explains how law can be an effective strategy to advance interests common to Afghanistan and the United States.