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claymisher
11-04-2009, 01:34 AM
Everybody's talking about Afghanistan. What's your strategy?

In your answer, address A) what your goals are, and B) what actions would you take. Write as much or as little as you need.

Wonderment
11-04-2009, 02:09 AM
In your answer, address A) what your goals are, and B) what actions would you take. Write as much or as little as you need.

A) An immediate cessation of hostilities and a nonviolent resolution of the conflict; an end to the US/NATO occupation; an end to offensive actions (i.e., drones) in AfPak.

B) Set a strict timetable for withdrawal. Let the regional players sort out their mess. Devote hearts and minds of the best and brightest to the abolition of nuclear weapons, so that the danger of somebody crazy getting them does not drag us into any future wars. Prevent terrorism the legal way -- investigating, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning the perpetrators.

PreppyMcPrepperson
11-04-2009, 02:58 AM
A) Threefold: An end to the mess we brought to a stable, peaceful nation 30 years ago; the security of the nukes next door; a sufficient level of security, political stability and economic development to allow for the prosecution of terrorism as a law enforcement issue.

B) Keep troop levels as they are for the moment. Insist on new elections next year. Invest any amount of money needed to ensure that those elections are properly monitored and fraud-free. Remain neutral during the campaign. Work with whomever is elected.

During the remaining window under Karzai while we still have some sway, insist upon a greater federalization of the Afghan system. Empower regional authorities to govern the various provinces, which correlate loosely with the ethnic groups. Monitor separate sets of elections for those roles.

Use our troops to protect the cities. Use development aid and other soft force to undermine radicals in the rural areas [they have power because they deliver basic services and can provide jobs]. As the cities stabilize, begin drawing down troop levels. Encourage India to gradually take over from us as a police force, to train local law enforcement. India and Afghanistan are longtime allies; India is already helping us fund development projects there.

Meanwhile, invest resources in Pakistan, putting as much pressure as possible on the government to get them to fight to regain control of the frontier without overriding their sovereignty. Here too, invest heavily in development, and do so directly by giving funds to companies and nonprofits, not to the government or the military. Agree to continue to provide the military with aid, but suggest that it come in the form of SMALL numbers of ground forces to advise and train local law enforcement. Do not place such forces in Pakistan without the government's permission; abandon, at least until the next election, the drones. Do not interfere in local elections. Try to cultivate more regional engagement between Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, both diplomatic and economic.

This is all tentative and incomplete. I'll have more details in a few months after my trip there and will be writing them up, and surely posting on this board.

AemJeff
11-04-2009, 11:01 AM
A) Threefold: An end to the mess we brought to a stable, peaceful nation 30 years ago; the security of the nukes next door; a sufficient level of security, political stability and economic development to allow for the prosecution of terrorism as a law enforcement issue.

B) Keep troop levels as they are for the moment. Insist on new elections next year. Invest any amount of money needed to ensure that those elections are properly monitored and fraud-free. Remain neutral during the campaign. Work with whomever is elected.

During the remaining window under Karzai while we still have some sway, insist upon a greater federalization of the Afghan system. Empower regional authorities to govern the various provinces, which correlate loosely with the ethnic groups. Monitor separate sets of elections for those roles.

Use our troops to protect the cities. Use development aid and other soft force to undermine radicals in the rural areas [they have power because they deliver basic services and can provide jobs]. As the cities stabilize, begin drawing down troop levels. Encourage India to gradually take over from us as a police force, to train local law enforcement. India and Afghanistan are longtime allies; India is already helping us fund development projects there.

Meanwhile, invest resources in Pakistan, putting as much pressure as possible on the government to get them to fight to regain control of the frontier without overriding their sovereignty. Here too, invest heavily in development, and do so directly by giving funds to companies and nonprofits, not to the government or the military. Agree to continue to provide the military with aid, but suggest that it come in the form of SMALL numbers of ground forces to advise and train local law enforcement. Do not place such forces in Pakistan without the government's permission; abandon, at least until the next election, the drones. Do not interfere in local elections. Try to cultivate more regional engagement between Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, both diplomatic and economic.

This is all tentative and incomplete. I'll have more details in a few months after my trip there and will be writing them up, and surely posting on this board.

Some of this makes sense to me; but, inviting India to establish a military presence to the northwest of Pakistan? How is this, even remotely, a possibly viable strategy?

Francoamerican
11-04-2009, 03:09 PM
Maybe all the world-improvers should learn something about Afghanistan first?

See the following video, courtesy of the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/nov/04/afghanistan-british-soldiers-death-analysis

Starwatcher162536
11-04-2009, 03:13 PM
I have no idea.

It has always struck me as strange though that the conservative base is not more isolationist. I mean, many of conservative positions are heavily shaped by the idea of unintended consequences making X unfeasible, as such, one would think they would generally be against "nation-building", the ultimate act of social engineering.

AemJeff
11-04-2009, 03:32 PM
I have no idea.

It has always struck me as strange though that the conservative base is not more isolationist. I mean, many of conservative positions are heavily shaped by the idea of unintended consequences making X unfeasible, as such, one would think they would generally be against "nation-building", the ultimate act of social engineering.

There are a lot of forces shaping so-called "conservative" outlooks - just look at recent history. The Wilsonian instincts of the neocons have been a pretty strong counter to the paleo/isolationist movement, for instance. And at the grass-roots level, a lot of what passes for conservatism is sold on the basis of the appearance of "muscularity," or appeals to masculine insecurity - which, I think, conflict with any impulse to Jeffersonian isolationism.

Francoamerican
11-04-2009, 04:08 PM
It is not wise for the Christian white
To hustle the Asian brown;
For the Christian riles
And the Asian smiles
And weareth the Christian down.

At the end of the fight
Lies a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased;

And the epitaph drear,
A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East.

Wonderment
11-04-2009, 04:09 PM
Everybody's talking about Afghanistan. What's your strategy?

That's a fair question, but it's imperative to bear in mind that the burden of justifying the occupation of Afghanistan is on the American government. I have not heard any even remotely plausible rationale for being there in the first place.

Breeding ground for terrorists? The whole planet is a breeding grounds for terrorist. And even conceding a 9/12 rationale, what the fuck are we doing there 8 years later with a mission that has metastasized? Running a heroin industry that kills more people in a day than Al Qaeda has in its history? Supporting a corrupt puppet government that rigs elections and appoints Talibanesque judges to continue to terrorize women and collects monthly paychecks from the Obama CIA?

Blaming it all on Bush is over. This is a bi-partisan catastrophe and getting worse by the minute.

JonIrenicus
11-04-2009, 09:39 PM
It is not wise for the Christian white
To hustle the Asian brown;
For the Christian riles
And the Asian smiles
And weareth the Christian down.

At the end of the fight
Lies a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased;

And the epitaph drear,
A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East.


I think the retort to Kipling by some anonymous (was it?) pen long ago summed up the modern sense of some best.


We've taken up the white man's burden

Of ebony and brown;

Now will you tell us, Rudyard

How we may put it down?


Fantastic retort, beautiful summing up of a more non interventionist and more isolationist sense of things.


I know alot of people are bothered with being troubled with such burdens, but to the extent they are worth the effort in fortune and blood, so then let us bear it. It's not the most trouble free path, but it is the more noble one if it makes a difference.

PreppyMcPrepperson
11-04-2009, 11:11 PM
Some of this makes sense to me; but, inviting India to establish a military presence to the northwest of Pakistan? How is this, even remotely, a possibly viable strategy?

India is Afghanistan's strongest ally. As in almost 60 years. Always has been. They invested there long ago for military reasons: as a way to box in Pakistan and create a two-front threat. At one point during the wars with Pakistan in the mid-century, they were even invested on a military level through the intelligence agencies. They still spend a ton there though now in a civilian capacity. Getting them to establish a police presence is, I believe, doable.

Lyle
11-04-2009, 11:27 PM
So we should leave Afghanistan and never involve ourselves in destabilized countries that incubate international terrorists that pull off events such as 9/11, Madrid or London?

If we actually did that, do you know how much civil liberties would be curtailed at home? All we would do is ratchet up domestic security, because if we don't try to stop them while abroad, they'll certainly end up in America itself with God knows what.

Domestic security alone can't protect our way of life.

edit: ... and more international diplomacy means more international obligations and the fall back option of resorting to war if all else fails.

AemJeff
11-04-2009, 11:31 PM
India is Afghanistan's strongest ally. As in almost 60 years. Always has been. They invested there long ago for military reasons: as a way to box in Pakistan and create a two-front threat. At one point during the wars with Pakistan in the mid-century, they were even invested on a military level through the intelligence agencies. They still spend a ton there though now in a civilian capacity. Getting them to establish a police presence is, I believe, doable.

I think a tangible presence in Afghanistan would be very likely to destabilize Indo Pakistan relations. I can't imagine that that prospect would seem like a good trade compared to a responsibilty for Afgan stability, particularly at a time when the fundamental stability of the Pakistani state is also in doubt.

PreppyMcPrepperson
11-05-2009, 12:37 AM
I think a tangible presence in Afghanistan would be very likely to destabilize Indo Pakistan relations. I can't imagine that that prospect would seem like a good trade compared to a responsibilty for Afgan stability, particularly at a time when the fundamental stability of the Pakistani state is also in doubt.

I'm not sure that Indo-Pak relations are in so much doubt anymore. That's part of what I'm headed there to investigate. Stay tuned.

Wonderment
11-05-2009, 02:37 AM
So we should leave Afghanistan and never involve ourselves in destabilized countries that incubate international terrorists that pull off events such as 9/11, Madrid or London?

That's a nice one, Lyle. I never heard "involve ourselves" used as a euphemism before for drone strikes on civilians. Or do you simply mean "waging war" when you say "involve ourselves"? If so, say so.

By the way, where's Bin Laden?

Francoamerican
11-05-2009, 06:40 AM
I think the retort to Kipling by some anonymous (was it?) pen long ago summed up the modern sense of some best.


We've taken up the white man's burden

Of ebony and brown;

Now will you tell us, Rudyard

How we may put it down?


Fantastic retort, beautiful summing up of a more non interventionist and more isolationist sense of things.


I know alot of people are bothered with being troubled with such burdens, but to the extent they are worth the effort in fortune and blood, so then let us bear it. It's not the most trouble free path, but it is the more noble one if it makes a difference.

The verses I quoted are if anything non-interventionist. Kipling was far from being the typical imperialist of legend.

If you are advocating "stay the course" in Afghanistan as the more noble path, I think you and many others will be in for some rude surprises.

nikkibong
11-05-2009, 09:04 AM
I know alot of people are bothered with being troubled with such burdens, but to the extent they are worth the effort in fortune and blood, so then let us bear it. It's not the most trouble free path, but it is the more noble one if it makes a difference.

Who is "us," Irenicus? Are you volunteering?

Or does your much vaunted "character flaw" (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=136182&postcount=6) not extend to Afghans or American soldiers?

Lyle
11-05-2009, 09:22 AM
What else did you think I meant? Of course involve ourselves could mean killing people with drones like we're doing every week in AfPak. However, it could also mean we simply station our troops abroad to help stabilize a country or a region like we've been doing for years.

By the way, no genocide has ever been stopped without the use of violence. So if any future genocides go down, and you want to do something about it, we'll have to send soldiers with bombs and guns to kill the people committing genocide... or at least sale guns and bombs to whoever wants to stop the genocide.

AemJeff
11-05-2009, 10:26 AM
I'm not sure that Indo-Pak relations are in so much doubt anymore. That's part of what I'm headed there to investigate. Stay tuned.

I will. If what you're saying here turns out to be, it would be hard to overstate its significance.