"Roy Gutman, a tireless reporter, has written a deeply researched and fascinating account of the various U.S. foreign policy failures that helped account for the rise of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks. Gutman also explains how so many institutions in the United States, from the media to the national security establishment, largely missed what would turn out to be one of the most important stories of our time."

Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know

 
"In a detailed account and analysis of Afghanistan events after the Soviet military left in 1989, Roy Gutman shows how the world’s abandonment of interest in the country led not only to horrors there but also to the spread of terrorism worldwide. His book provides graphic and valuable background to today’s problems and a warning of tomorrow’s dangers from ignoring such troubled areas. A most impressive and interesting read."

Henry Bradsher, author of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union
 
 
"This well-written, on-the-mark book is an informative and entertaining read. No other study that examines the events leading up to 9/11 is as persuasive in placing the blame where it belongs—on the failure of three successive U.S. presidents to provide the foreign policy leadership and direction needed to address the politics, philosophy, and disposition to violence of Islamist extremism."

Thomas E. Gouttierre, University of Nebraska, Omaha
 
 
"In the early 1990s, the United States turned a blind eye to the civil strife in Afghanistan. In How We Missed the Story, Roy Gutman traces U.S. inaction amidst civil war, the Taliban’s ascension, and Osama bin Laden’s rise in riveting detail. To truly understand and combat the threat we face, Gutman’s exploration of missed opportunities and lessons learned is essential reading."

Lee Hamilton, President and Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission
 
 
"Roy Gutman has succeeded admirably in exposing the missed opportunities and serious errors of U.S. policymakers that led them to misjudge the threat that became all too real on September 11, 2001. Writing in a highly informative and readable style, he explores many of the intelligence failures and policy predispositions that are not so clearly or so thoroughly examined elsewhere. Additionally, his extensive and well-chosen interviews offer new insights and convey scholarly objectivity."

Marvin Weinbaum, Middle East Institute 

Latest Publications

Curbing Corruption after Conflict: Anticorruption Mobilization in Guatemala

Curbing Corruption after Conflict: Anticorruption Mobilization in Guatemala

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Walter Flores; Miranda Rivers

This report analyzes the fight against corruption in Guatemala by social movements over the past five years, homing in on their major successes and challenges in working to advance transparency, accountability, and good governance. The lessons drawn from these efforts can be applicable for other movements around the world operating in similar contexts. The work also has a larger bearing for international actors helping states build peace and democratic governance following prolonged violent conflict.

Type: Special Report

Nonviolent Action

North Korean Phone Money: Airtime Transfers as a Precursor to Mobile Payment System

North Korean Phone Money: Airtime Transfers as a Precursor to Mobile Payment System

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Yonho Kim

More than one in five North Koreans have cell phones, and increasingly rely on them to conduct financial transactions. Many of these transactions involve trading cell phone airtime, or “phone money,” for goods and services, and even for offering bribes. This report examines the potential for airtime trading to evolve into a formal mobile money system, which could enhance market activity and stability while providing opportunities for the country to engage with the international community.

Type: Special Report

Economics & Environment

Prospects for Crisis Management on the China-India Border

Prospects for Crisis Management on the China-India Border

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Patricia M. Kim; Vikram J. Singh

After a deadly skirmish in June and shots fired in September, Sino-Indian tensions have escalated to a level not seen in decades. Both countries’ foreign ministers recently agreed to a five-point framework to manage the situation, showing both sides want tensions to plateau rather than deteriorate further. But the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will not easily go back to a well-managed bilateral irritant—right now, it’s a dangerous flashpoint and likely to stay that way. USIP’s Vikram Singh and Patricia Kim look at the recent discussions, what’s driving the escalation, how the conflict affects the region, and what history can tell us about how it might be resolved.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Searching for COVID-19 Ceasefires: Conflict Zone Impacts, Needs, and Opportunities

Searching for COVID-19 Ceasefires: Conflict Zone Impacts, Needs, and Opportunities

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

By: Tyler Jess Thompson

On March 23, 2020, as COVID-19 was first appearing in many conflict-affected areas, UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a call for warring parties to cease hostilities and instead wage battle against the pandemic. Drawing on an examination of conflicts in Afghanistan, Colombia, Cameroon, Israel and Palestine, Libya, the Philippines, Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere—this report looks at how COVID-19 has affected conflict parties’ interests, positions, and capacities, and provides recommendation for how the international community leverage the pandemic to promote peace.

Type: Special Report

Global Policy

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