Article first published in the Harvard Business Review by Lew McCreary in October 2007. Think back to the most eventful and challenging year of your so-far illustrious career. Times were tough, but you learned a lot from the hardest parts—the gifts that keep on giving. In fact, thanks to the refracting mists of time, you […]



                  Article first published in the September 2007 edition of Smithsonian Magazine by Joshua Hammer. In the mud and dust of late-winter Kabul, Rory Stewart leads me through a seedy bazaar along the north bank of the Kabul River. I follow as the British adventurer turned historic […]

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The Queen of the Quagmire

First published in the New York Review of Books, 27 October, 2007.   – Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations                         by Georgina Howell Farrar, Straus and Giroux,481 pp., $27.50 – Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell, Adventurer, Adviser […]


Where Less Is More

Published in the New York York Times, 23 July 2007 America and its allies are in danger of repeating the mistakes of Iraq in Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and even some Republicans are insisting on withdrawing from Iraq and sending more troops and resources to southern Afghanistan. The Bush administration’s gloomy National Intelligence Estimate […]



Article first published in the New York Review of Books on 31 May 2007. The following text is based on Stewart’s dialogue about Iraq with audience members, after his discussion with broadcast journalist Dan Harris, at the Asia Society in New York on April 20, 2007. Woman in audience: I wanted to know since you […]

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Article first published in Maclean’s by Michael Petrou on 13 May 2007. In January 2002, only two months after the Taliban were overthrown, Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan from Herat to Kabul. He had previously served in the British foreign service and the British army. In 2003, at age 30, he became the coalition deputy […]


When Less Is Best

First published in The New York Times, 20 March, 2007. Why are we in Afghanistan? Vice President Cheney talks terror, Britain focuses on narcotics. The European Union talks ‘state-building,’ others gender. On a different day, the positions seem interchangeable. Five years ago, we had a clear goal. Now we seem to be pursuing a bundle […]


Our Echoes Come From You

First published in the New York Times, 24 March 2007. Afghanistan is now both more and less than a nation. Dialects of its official language are spoken from Iran to India. Its greetings and rituals are recognizable in Chechnya. Kabuli woodwork incorporates motifs from Syria, the Mughal Empire and pre-Islamic Uzbekistan. On Tuesday, I heard […]


What We Can Do

First published in the New York Times, 27 March 2007 We must acknowledge the limits of our power and knowledge in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere and concentrate on what is achievable. The question is not “What ought we to do?” but “What can we do?” This is rarely discussed. When I ask politicians whether we can defeat […]