Posted by | August 4, 2011 13:36 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Some people relax after a debt crisis by going out to eat, I write a book recommendation.  I recently finished The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk.  If you want to ignore its current relevance, it still makes for fantastic reading.  It is the story of British and Russian maneuvers in the 19th Century in Central Asia as they continually march to the brink of war and back.  The individual adventures are gripping and the geopolitics fascinating.

As for the current relevance, the two empires grabbed large portions of Central Asia but ran aground in a little country called Afghanistan.  From, Britain’s first invasion:

Maintaining troops in Afghanistan was costing a fortune and it was felt that Shujah should now be made to stand on his own feet, especially as the Russian threat receded.  It was proposed therefore that while Shujah’s own forces should be built up, the British military presence, though not the political one should be phased out.

This did not go well.  And after the second British invasion, a controversy erupted over British tactics:

At home, a fierce controversy broke out over the harshness of Roberts methods and he himself was widely criticized.  In fact he was told to act mercilessly by Lord Lytton  . . .

The more things change . . .

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.