This is an interesting and timely dissertation. It is possibly too timely, given that the situation in Afghanistan changed markedly between you submitting the dissertation and me marking it. This is always a danger when writing about very current events.
Over-all whilst I found this dissertation very interesting it lacks coherence. This is in large part because you do not have a clear research question. The title of the dissertation is: Has the US invasion of Afghanistan been successful? But this question is not the focus of the dissertation. The introduction suggests that the dissertation will focus on Biden’s rationale for the withdrawal of troops and the impact this may have on homeland security. Pages 7-8 then set out a series of research questions and aims that address the influence of neoconservatism on the intervention in Afghanistan. All these questions are valuable, but they cannot all be answered in a 15,000 word dissertation. The dissertation needed to focus on one, clear, defined research question and address it carefully and in detail
Your analysis of neoconservatism is useful but quite thin. You are relying on just a couple of sources. If the influence of neoconservatism is the main focus of the dissertation you do need to engage with more literature on this subject. The summary you have included of the main events of the intervention in Afghanistan (pages 8-21 ) wasn’t really necessary. Although this was clearly the product of a lot of hard work the descriiptive nature means it does not add much value to the dissertation.
The dissertation would have benefited from a more conventional structure. A dissertation of this length will normally have three distinct chapters. Each chapter should have a clear introduction and conclusion of its own. Chapters will address a sub-research question which when combined together logically develops the over-all aims of the work.
Whilst there is some good analysis here and some valid arguments, the dissertation is too broad in its approach and is trying to answer too many questions
Your dissertation demonstrates a decent degree of knowledge of the Afghan conflict. In turn, the discussion demonstrates direct engagement with relevant academic literature. However, I broadly agree with the first marker’s overarching comments. First, the dissertation is significantly below the required word count of 15,000. Second, the central research question is not directly addressed and the dissertation seems to be answering a number of divergent questions. Third, the level of theoretical knowledge is poor. Last, referencing is poor throughout. Overall, the dissertation requires a more direct argumentative and analytical approach to achieve a passing grade.
1. Central Argument and Structure: The first key issue is that your central research question is both confusing and inadequately addressed. As the first marker highlights, your dissertation title is focused on evaluating the success of the US invasion. However, the discussion introduces a multiplicity of different questions and by the conclusion it is no longer clear what answer you are giving to the initial question. This is, in part, down to the scope of the dissertation. You are evaluating the invasion on the basis of its initial philosophy and goals. Yet, the Biden Admin does not endorse these initial goals and is, in many respects, working toward a different set of objectives. As such, the discussion becomes very confusing. This is exacerbated by the structure. Particularly, the use of short subsections that do not connect into a coherent argument or analysis.
2. Theoretical Knowledge: Second, your analysis of neoconservatism is limited and often inaccurate. At various points you seem to suggest that politicians like Biden and academics like Fukuyama are neoconservatives. This is not accurate. They are more closely aligned with liberal and neoliberal theory. In addition, sections appear to conflate neoconservatism with just war theory. For example, the claim that neoconservatism is concerned with the conduct of combatants. Neoconservatism is a theory of foreign and domestic policy. It does not say anything about combatant conduct. In addition, the vast majority of just war theory was opposed to neoconservative foreign policy and rejected their justification of war. The key exception is Jean Betke Elshtain who attempted to combine just war and neoconservatism. Ultimately, the theoretical confusion leads to a confusing discussion that does not provide a good basis for analysing US foreign policy relating to Afghanistan.
3. Referencing: Last, referencing is poor throughout the discussion. You need to include page numbers for references when possible. Your marker should be able to identify the specific page of the book or article from which you are getting your information. In turn, as highlighted by the first marker, there are a number of instances in which you introduce information without referencing where this information is coming from.
Please note that I am looking for a very good grade in this thesis and can not afford to have poor results or a failing result. I was not happy with the writer who wrote the initial essay because the things the markers mentioned are simple mistakes that I did not expect.