American and Canadian engagements in the Afghanistan intervention: a neoclassical realist point of view Academic Article


  • Canadian Foreign Policy Journal


  • In this article, I aim to explain why and how the United States and Canada adopted similar counterinsurgency (COIN) strategies between 2006 and 2011 to deal with the Afghan irregular warfare. During this time, the United States and Canada adopted with similar levels of intensity the “clear,” “hold,” and “build” COIN objectives; namely: (a) fighting against insurgency, (b) maintaining stabilized areas and training Afghan forces, and (c) helping reconstruct the absent, weak, or corrupt governance in Afghanistan. These similar engagement levels are surprising considering the periods between 2001 and 2005 and 2011 and 2014 when Canadian and American strategies were dissimilar as expected from their relative standing in the international system. I use a process-tracing methodology and neoclassical realism as a theory of foreign policy to unravel this puzzle.

publication date

  • 2023-4-4


  • 29


  • Afghanistan
  • Canada
  • foreign policy
  • governance
  • international system
  • methodology
  • realism
  • time
  • warfare

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1192-6422

number of pages

  • 17

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 17