This paper will argue that the different approaches of each US administration in trying to manage and resolve the crisis in Afghanistan was heavily influenced by the so-called ‘two-level game’ between domestic and foreign politics. The two-level game determines the number of resources and time that a head of state can commit to furthering national interests abroad, without suffering a domestic political defeat. Changes at the domestic and international level have caused the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations to vary in their level of commitment towards resolving the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, resulting in a discontinuity in the foreign policy of the US. Additionally, it will be illustrated how this discontinuity has contributed to the ongoing and violent nature of the Afghanistan conflict. The broader aim of this article is to understand which factors influence crisis-management state policies. It will become clear that theories that aim to construct executable policies to manage crises are in reality thwarted by influences from both the domestic and international levels. This should be taken into consideration while constructing or analysing crisis-management strategies.
Assessing the Influence of the ‘Two-Level Game’ on the United States’ War in Afghanistan by Lea Hoopman and Marnix Middelburg is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0