Go Back   Bloggingheads Community > Diavlog comments
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Notices

Diavlog comments Post comments about particular diavlogs here.
(Users cannot create new threads.)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-18-2009, 10:51 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
BhTV staff
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,936
Default Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-19-2009, 12:12 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The sylvan exurbs west of Boston Massachusetts.
Posts: 1,328
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Thanks for this very timely and enlightening diavlog.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-19-2009, 01:43 AM
graz graz is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,162
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

I second their hope for a continued diavlog. But I'm not optimistic that David will like the results anymore the second go-round.

He was comfortable discussing competing details with Joe Klein that accepted the same basic premise: We are in mortal danger and we must use deadly force to instill/install freedom.

Conversely, Andrew's paradigm had David slinking so far in his chair that he nearly left the frame. While Andrew didn't have the time to say it, his posture implies that the threat posed to the U.S. as a result of the struggle within the Af-Pak (and beyond) world as it contends with Modernity entails accepting risk. There is no prescription for immediate or complete immunity from blowback or peripheral threat to our hoped for safety. It's all about facing the fear.

The Freedom Project has failed and yet David is inclined to continue based on his perceived impression that not addressing the threat, even with a failed strategy is better than any possible alternative. Old habits die hard... His rationale for creeping Democracy in Iran is (or must be) attributable to our Iraqi war efforts. Which ties in nicely on the continuum that regresses to the Cold War, Viet Nam and Korea, as wars of necessity - no question.

Rather than have Andrew flesh out how his sensible alternative would be implemented, maybe David ought to come up with an alternative to resting on the laurels of identifying and naming a problem and cut his losses in regard to commitment to the so-called Freedom Project.

Last edited by graz; 11-19-2009 at 10:58 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-19-2009, 04:20 AM
T.G.G.P T.G.G.P is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 278
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

David said he didn't really get what Andrew proposes that we do. I think it can be summed up as "less". Andrew thinks that the costs of military intervention exceed the benefits (if there are in fact any). So we turn to other options, and if they aren't completely effective in preventing terrorism, that's just something we have to accept.

I for one would argue that the terrorist threat is overblown and that many security measures are either ineffective "security theater" or more costly than the attacks they prevent (because those measures are applied universally they hit an enormous number of people, so a small cost applied to each can exceed severe costs applying to a smaller number of people). We could probably save more lives at lower costs by focusing on car accidents. I would be less inclined than Bacevich to rely on students visiting, rather I would clamp down on entry as by far the most cost-effective way of stopping terrorists. Leaving other countries the hell alone might also help them forget we even exist so they can get to venting their frustration at more local annoyances.

I was actually dissappointed that Bacevich didn't argue that modernity is not without its flaws and so we should not be completely enthusiastic about its arrival, since I was under the impression that's the sort of conservative he is. Frum actually has something of a good point in saying that modern islamism is not traditional. It is the bastard offspring of modernization, and so we might imagine that further modernization might create more of it. I would disagree with both of them on the merits of democracy. "Democratic peace" is on empirically shaky ground. The end of monarchy in France resulted in civil war within and a prolonged period of mass-mobilization warfare across Europe. Musharraf in Pakistan may have been our best bet. The problem with Maoist China was not that it was "undemocratic", but that it was a revolutionary regime which brings about destabilization. Even without democracy, the passing of the old revolutionary generation has greatly improved things in China. Musharraf may have been our best hope in Pakistan. Deposing Diem was also part of a "freedom agenda" at one time. Many thought Fulgencio Batista, Chang Kai Shek, Kaiser Wilhelm, Emperor Alexander, Ian Smith and Shah Pahlavi were affronts to democracy, but their successors were even worse.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-19-2009, 08:44 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,606
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

I always find the dismissive attitude towards force as a tool to achieve an end interesting.

After all, why not just let people sort things out themselves. Who are we to barge in and FORCE democracy/tolerance upon them.


The irony is that the liberals are making this case today. That was not the kind of argument made about slavery, or the jim crow south. Were those liberals wrong to FORCE their notions of equality upon racist whites? Perhaps the North should have let the south succeed? Better that than resort to force to dictate to others how they should behave. Why sanction the civil war at all? Better to allow the institution of slavery to continue on for decades more than to resort to HARD power to end it.


Of course the petty creature will bring up the pathetic retort about being the same nation. Thanks, thanks for forfeiting the notion of human rights, the only ones worth defending are intra national, live a millimeter across border line, and all notions of human rights go out the window. How very tribal of you. Proud liberals. Expand the circle when it comes to soft power, contract it as it relates to hard power.



I get the practical arguments against, but I swear to all you so called liberals, I will NEVER get the attitudinal aversion to using hard power as a means to stamp out bigotry and wretched behavior. Rhetoric like FORCE modernity upon peoples betrays not simply a tactical aversion, but one of principle as well.





For gods sakes, I'd even be with you in the pathetic, self interested, not lifting a finger attitude if not for the fact that the cesspool of jihadism and its clashes spill out to the rest of the world. Not something so easily wished away or bottled into some sort of slave pit that we can contain and let fester.

So what are we to do with our tools? We do have hard power as well as soft, do you all think we should use that hard power at all? What would you do with it?

Remember guys, just because you are too dull to divine a solution to a problem using a certain tool, does not mean a solution does not exist. At least try and contain your own conceit that much.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-19-2009, 10:31 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Oh, man. Great to hear Andrew again. He said more sensible things in this diavlog than has been said in just about all other Afghanistan-related diavlogs added together. It's been way too long since he's been on, and I hope we will not have to wait months for a third visit.

And if I could be granted a wish, he would also get the opportunity to sit down with President Obama for a few hours, too.

Glad to see graz and TGGP expressing a view I share: that at some point, we just have to accept some risks if we're going to live in the kind of society we want, in this modern world.

I would ask David, who is a good interlocutor, to ramp it down just a bit. As time went on, the frequent interruptions began to sound like defensiveness more than anything else. I'm not sure if it's guilt over being one of the architects of the current mess we're in, or a slowly dawning but still hard-to-accept realization that his instincts on how to deal with "the jihadist threat" are wrong, or what, but this sort of badgering does not make him look good and it's annoying to listen to.
__________________
Brendan

Last edited by bjkeefe; 11-19-2009 at 10:54 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-19-2009, 01:13 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Andrew started to say something about the downsides of worst-case reasoning in this diavlog. Here is a good post from B'head Robert Farley on that very topic.
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-19-2009, 01:28 PM
Lyle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Amen. The 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry just passed a couple of weeks ago too. Great reminder of how violence is sometimes the only solution. The Civil War has got to be the one war Wonderment couldn't have said no to.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-19-2009, 01:35 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: near Chattanooga
Posts: 826
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

I wish Obama himself would listen to Andres Bacevich. I have no doubt our President could re-articulate these ideas just as persuasively to the American people, and that a majority would welcome them.

Of course Republicans would scream their heads off, calling him a chicken, a softy, and traitor to our military. As Prof. Bacevich remarks, it would take courage to stand up to those kinds of charges, a great deal of courage, of the sort that was lacking when Lyndon Johnson took us into Vietnam.

Last edited by BornAgainDemocrat; 11-19-2009 at 01:42 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-19-2009, 01:43 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
... The 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry just passed a couple of weeks ago too. Great reminder of how violence is sometimes the only solution. ...
I will now reduce my desk to toothpicks, with my forehead.
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11-19-2009, 02:01 PM
Lyle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

How would you have freed the slaves sir?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11-19-2009, 02:38 PM
Lyle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Less War = Less Domestic Freedom

I think where Andrew Bacevich fails, and Frum wins, is that Bacevich hasn't totally thought through the consequences of his policy choice. One of the chief complaints about the Bush administration was his abuse of power, i.e, his flaunting of the Constitution. America is now a police state they screamed. Yet, some of these same people (not necessarily Bacevich) want to only deal with the problem through domestic policing efforts, combined with international policing efforts. The only way that will work is if borders are made more secure (more tedious international travel, profiling, etc.) and domestic police powers get expanded, i.e., the Patriot Act remains in place and gets added to.

If we don't want to involve ourselves in the countries where these guys with their whack ideas come from, we are going to have to hole ourselves up for a while and that is going to mean less domestic freedom, i.e. civil liberties. You can't have both, no war and lots of freedom, when their are lots of angry jihadists running around. 9/11 happened before Iraq and Afghanistan, not after.

Last edited by Lyle; 11-19-2009 at 02:42 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 11-19-2009, 02:48 PM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Great Moravia
Posts: 1,117
Default Re: Less War = Less Domestic Freedom

Wait, so what you're saying is that there are two ways to stop terrorism: either, kicking the terrorists out of their training camps and spider holes abroad, or just preventing them from getting into the country in the first place, and that if we don't do number one (war), we'll have to do number two (bolstering security) and that necessarily means that we'll be stepping on someone's civil liberties?

I think that's a false dichotomy.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 11-19-2009, 03:05 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,644
Default Re: Less War = Less Domestic Freedom

Lyle, why are you such a coward?

you refuse to face any risks as the price we pay for freedom? willing to trade away your freedom for security? absolutely disgusting, lyle - and it clearly shows you deserve neither.

why don't some of you on the right grow a backbone and stop acting like scared little kids desperately afraid of the boogie man under your bed.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11-19-2009, 03:23 PM
MargaretH MargaretH is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Lexington MA
Posts: 29
Default Lifting the fog of governing

Frum pressed Bacevich for what he would do to protect our security going forward. Bacevich gave his answer quite early in the diavlog: He'd advise the president to seek wiser counsel and to frame the central issue on what is our strategy, not what should we do about Afghanistan.

Bacevich's contribution is that simple piece of advice. Asking him to be more specific about what he himself would do shouldn't obscure the clear, good sense of his basic recommendation.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 11-19-2009, 03:30 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The sylvan exurbs west of Boston Massachusetts.
Posts: 1,328
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I would ask David, who is a good interlocutor, to ramp it down just a bit. As time went on, the frequent interruptions began to sound like defensiveness more than anything else.
I was struck by David's accommodation during the first portion of the diavlog, allowing Andrew much time to lay out his views coherently. There was no badgering during that portion, only a few questions intended to help Andrew flesh out or clarify his position.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 11-19-2009, 04:04 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The sylvan exurbs west of Boston Massachusetts.
Posts: 1,328
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat View Post
Of course Republicans would scream their heads off, calling him a chicken, a softy, and traitor to our military. As Prof. Bacevich remarks, it would take courage to stand up to those kinds of charges, a great deal of courage, of the sort that was lacking when Lyndon Johnson took us into Vietnam.
I disagree with this strongly!

Although the oft-heard title "most powerful man in the world" is very over-used and misleading, when it comes to directing the US armed forces in conflict, we Americans cede an enormous amount of authority to the President. This is a good thing, for while we may dither forever about domestic issues, the US can act in a forceful and unified way abroad. Everyone answers to the President. It's his job to do the right thing. He won the election. I can't think of any higher office to which he would aspire. Explain to me why he should cower to the whining rhetoric of the losing party?

As a former Bush voter, I can affirm that Obama inherited a mess. Now he's in charge. And with a sympathetic Congress, no less! History will judge him on the efficacy of his actions without regard for the complaints of others.

Make no mistake: If Obama ramps up the troop levels, this becomes Obama's War. From that time forward, it can't be blamed on evil warmongering Republicans.

I don't want to hear any more of this nonsense: that the Nobel Peace Prize winner doesn't want war, but is forced into it against his better judgment. There can be no better indication of his judgment than his actions.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 11-19-2009 at 04:12 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 11-19-2009, 04:14 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
I was struck by David's accommodation during the first portion of the diavlog, allowing Andrew much time to lay out his views coherently. There was no badgering during that portion, only a few questions intended to help Andrew flesh out or clarify his position.
Good point. He did start off well, then got antsy.
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 11-19-2009, 04:27 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,750
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
...
Make no mistake: If Obama ramps up the troop levels, this becomes Obama's War. From that time forward, it can't be blamed on evil warmongering Republicans.
...
That's almost fair, I think. The fact that he finds it in a significantly bad state, and has to make that strategic decision means that, while he certainly is taking ownership, it's clear that he's cleaning up someone else's mess - in this case "someone else" is the definitive "war-mongering Republican."
__________________
-A. E. M. Jeff (Eponym)
Magnets - We know how they work!
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 11-19-2009, 05:29 PM
mattcbrown mattcbrown is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 80
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Outstanding diavlog. Interesting all the way through and civil despite the chasm in points of view. One of the best in some time.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 11-19-2009, 05:55 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,593
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Like it or not he took owner ship in February when he originally ordered the switch from a counter terrorism strategy to a counterinsurgency strategy, changed theater commanders early and increased the troop levels by 17,000.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 11-19-2009, 06:08 PM
handle handle is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,986
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by piscivorous View Post
Like it or not he took owner ship in February when he originally ordered the switch from a counter terrorism strategy to a counterinsurgency strategy, changed theater commanders early and increased the troop levels by 17,000.
Sometimes when you go in for the starting quarterback, down 7-0 with 1 minute left in the fourth quarter.... you gotta go long.

Especially when the last guy sent most of the team off to play a different game.

Sorry, I'm all into sports metaphors today, thanks for playing.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 11-19-2009, 07:03 PM
Lyle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Less War = Less Domestic Freedom

I delivered it simplistically, but if we wholly take regional or national interventions off the table, we're guaranteeing a more rigid domestic security situation. My guess is we'll continue to have some of both (military conflict abroad and rigid domestic security) in the long run because jihadism doesn't appear to be abating.

So I agree with you and don't mean to say that there is a clear cut dichotomy, but those that want to focus on policing terrorism first and foremost can't also reasonably advocate a return to an ante Patriot Act state of affairs. Our government will have to have the tools to properly police radical Muslims.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 11-19-2009, 07:11 PM
Lyle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Less War = Less Domestic Freedom

How am I afraid? I'm talking about what is going to happen politically, if we primarily focus on policing radical Muslims, and what that will mean domestically. Personally, I'm for open borders, Muslim radicals or no Muslim radicals. That's not a practicable position though for a number of reasons, and our government has to set a more sensible course, and respond to the politics and its citizens fears (which aren't necessarily mine). Not very many serious politicians are going to be able to take a position of "lets just turn the other cheek when it comes to radical Muslims".
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 11-19-2009, 07:23 PM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
Deactivated User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Busan, South Korea (ROK)
Posts: 1,690
Send a message via Skype™ to Baltimoron
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

I agree with both of you. I thought this pairing was a necessary, brilliant idea. But, Bacevich seemed groggy in the beginning and much less articulate than during his first diavlog and when I've seen him on TV. At this point, though, Frum veered off into topics he shouldn't have touched. It's ballsy, I guess, to float a revisionist history of the Vietnam debacle with a Vietnam vet, although Bacevich sounded close to losing his composure too..

I'm beside myself with rage, though, that perhaps the single-most contentious discussion of East Asian and the PRC has to come unmarked at the end of a diavlog about another topic and, on top of it, not be very compelling. Next time: Bacevich v. Ackerman, or Bacevich v. Preble. bhTV needs more of Bacevich.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 11-19-2009, 07:28 PM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
Deactivated User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Busan, South Korea (ROK)
Posts: 1,690
Send a message via Skype™ to Baltimoron
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Like it or not he took owner ship in February when he originally ordered the switch from a counter terrorism strategy to a counterinsurgency strategy, changed theater commanders early and increased the troop levels by 17,000.
Shades of JFK taking the reins from Eisenhower in Vietnam?
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 11-19-2009, 07:47 PM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
Deactivated User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Busan, South Korea (ROK)
Posts: 1,690
Send a message via Skype™ to Baltimoron
Default Re: Less War = Less Domestic Freedom

I disagree. Frum blithely ignores the domestic consequences of militarizing American foreign policy that - and not singlehandedly - the second Bush administration exacerbated. Bacevich was much more articulate about these consequences in his book, The New American Militarism. I wish he had summarized those arguments, especially since Frum was so accommodating in the first part of diavlog.

I agree there's a false dichotomy between choosing between treating this issue as a legal or military matter. It's a matter of balancing the two tools. A 50-50 mix at this point would be prudent, but I would like to see about 70-30, in favor of legal means. But, I trust legal systems much more than DoD dependents obviously,

It's ironic to me, that conservatives - and Bacevich is more representative of this than Frum - first objected to characterizing al-Qaeda as a military threat, if for no other reason than not legitimating it. Then came the uncritical embrace of Huntington's thesis - which is simplistic - and the scholarly popularity of non-state actors, neo-feudal critiques of the Westphalian sovereignty, and elegies for globalization. I think it was all very self-serving for the defense establishment to give itself the lead in comvatting anarchy as it interpreted it. But, after I read Bergen's account of al-Qaeda, I realized no one has conclusively shown that AQ is something new, something that is a paradigm-changer. So here, Bacevich's account of how, post-Vietnam the US militarized its foreign policy is relevant. AQ is just a little piece of that problem.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 11-19-2009, 07:53 PM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
Deactivated User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Busan, South Korea (ROK)
Posts: 1,690
Send a message via Skype™ to Baltimoron
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

I don't understand why teleological optimists, like Frum, even need people in the world. Frum makes it sound as if freedom will triumph regardless of the leaders making the decisions and the people voting them into office - as he came close to describing Iran. If something goes wrong, it's a hiccup on the road; an election suffices to proclaim victory.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 11-19-2009, 08:12 PM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
Deactivated User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Busan, South Korea (ROK)
Posts: 1,690
Send a message via Skype™ to Baltimoron
Default Korea

I have to object to Frum's bizarre notions of the Korean War. The best account is The Korean War: An International History by William Stueck (there's also a shorter version, Rethinking the Korean War, which addresses historiographical problems in a pithier form.) MacArthur's War by Stanley Weintraub also addresses that commander's errors.

Firstly, the North's invasion of the ROK is one of the CIA's most horrendous errors, and the failure to come forward about Chinese deployments its second. General MacArthur had advocated deploying Taiwanese troops as a rearguard force against the PRC, to which Beijing responded with a military buildup in Manchuria. Declassified documents reveal, that Moscow had conditioned its assent to KIm Il-sung's invasion of the ROK, only if Beijing halted its planned invasion of Taiwan and assisted the North Koreans. Not only did Chinese military leaders publish commentary publicly concerning its appraisals of military action in Korea and of US forces, but US officials were aware of them. MacArthur's own staff was aware of PRC troops concentrations in Manchuria, as well as their commanders' analyses of how to engage US forces.

Lee Syng-man, ROK president, also lobbied for an invasion, and harried MacArthur and diplomatic staff for his plans. At many points, Lee alienated nearly every US political and military leader with authoritarian and self-aggrandizing actions, but the US media supported him without pause. In the end, MacArthur conveniently ignored the intelligence he had about the Chinese, and took the path of least resistance with Lee.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 11-19-2009, 09:23 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,593
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

There is some truth in that.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 11-19-2009, 09:29 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,750
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by piscivorous View Post
Like it or not he took owner ship in February when he originally ordered the switch from a counter terrorism strategy to a counterinsurgency strategy, changed theater commanders early and increased the troop levels by 17,000.
That's why I said it was "almost fair." If you take over a chess game from somebody who is down a rook and has a doubled pawn, your eventual game result will stand in that context. If it goes badly in Afganistan is will be on Obama and Bush. But if it goes well, to the extent that it looks as if his team blew it, Bush won't share as much in the credit as he would have the blame. And that's probably fair.
__________________
-A. E. M. Jeff (Eponym)
Magnets - We know how they work!

Last edited by AemJeff; 11-19-2009 at 09:38 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 11-19-2009, 09:34 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Newbridge, NJ
Posts: 2,673
Default OBL

If we could just nab bin Laden we'd be outta there next week.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 11-19-2009, 09:57 PM
look look is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,886
Default more from FB Ali

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_s...20a6b09470970b

Concerns about its nuclear weapons add to these suspicions. Existing as it does in a dangerous part of the world, Pakistan considers its nuclear capability the lynchpin of its security, and there is great sensitivity about any threat to it, especially within the military. The concern expressed by the US over the last few years regarding the “security” of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons has created a great deal of suspicion as to its real motives. Many, including within the military, believe that the US is deliberately trying to destabilize Pakistan so as to take over its nuclear weapons. Such suspicions, and the strained relations for many years prior to 2001, deeply colour Pakistani attitudes towards the USA. It is no surprise that, in a recent poll released by a US polling organization, all of two percent of Pakistanis thought the US had good relations with Pakistan.

Since the commencement of the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan has been seen by the US mainly through the prism of that war ‒ as a necessary auxiliary whose role was to clean out the Taliban and al-Qaeda bases in its tribal areas. Pakistan’s limited attempts at compliance did not meet US needs but did create an indigenous Taliban insurgency. After some initial hesitation the military cleared out these insurgents from Swat, and is now undertaking an operation to do the same in South Waziristan. The US is hoping that this will be the prelude to similar operations in the rest of the tribal belt. This is just wishful thinking, as discussed below. Similarly, the comfort the US derives from reports and poll numbers regarding public opinion turning decisively against the Taliban insurgents is misplaced. People in Pakistan are opposed to the Taliban who attack them or their country, but they do not support the US “war on terror”: the poll referred to above found that 80% of Pakistanis were against cooperating with the US in this war.

Whatever strategy President Obama approves for the war in Afghanistan, it is likely to include an increased focus on the Taliban and al-Qaeda bases in Pakistan. The resulting pressure on the Pakistanis to take effective military action to clean out and occupy the tribal areas where they are located is likely to create a crisis in Pakistan. Since its creation, Pakistan’s defence policy has been based on the major threat to its security coming from India, and the military has been positioned accordingly. Cleaning out and occupying all the tribal areas would require the long-term redeployment of such large forces that it would result in the denuding of the defences of the eastern border with India, and would effectively change the defence policy of the country. While President Zardari would be happy to oblige the USA, it is quite unlikely that the military command will agree to this; nor will the people accept it.

Pakistani inaction will compel the US to intensify its own attacks in the tribal areas using drones and, possibly, Special Forces. Such attacks (already resented as a violation of the country’s sovereignty) will trigger further retaliation by the tribes through increased bombings and attacks in Pakistan’s cities (since they hold Pakistan responsible for such US attacks). In addition, the United States will apply pressure on Pakistan by reducing or stopping the aid it gives to the country and the military. The impact of these measures will further inflame anti-American and nationalistic sentiments, and the present government will either be forced to change its pro-American policies or it will itself be changed.

The succeeding set-up, squeezed by the US and the West, will become increasingly responsive to the Islamist (i.e., anti-Indian, Islamic nationalist) sentiment in the country. As the situation in the country deteriorates, a direct Islamist takeover (most likely through the military) will become a real possibility. It would probably happen in stages, with the generals first intervening to forestall action by more radical elements in the military, but ultimately being unable to stop the tide. (Should the generals succumb to US pressure to move large forces to clear and occupy the rest of the tribal belt, the danger of such action by mid-level Islamist officers will become a much earlier possibility).

That is the peril that the United States and the West face in the region: not a nebulous al-Qaeda establishing bases in Taliban areas in Afghanistan but a nuclear-armed Islamist state in Pakistan. And the longer the inconclusive war in Afghanistan drags on, the closer it gets. Considering the hoops the West has been willing to jump through to prevent such a scenario becoming possible in Iran in the future, the very real possibility of this occurring in Pakistan is what President Obama and his advisers should be worrying about.

The pity of it is that it’s all so unnecessary! It is possible to engineer a political resolution in Afghanistan that would give the Taliban their space in the country but exclude al-Qaeda. It is possible to shore up Pakistan, and those institutions and elements in it that would be a bulwark against the Islamists. With the war in Afghanistan ended, it would be possible for Pakistan to re-establish control over its tribal areas, and prevent al-Qaeda from using them as a base. And it would be possible for the United States to spend the billions and billions of dollars saved on its own people instead of on military preparations and wars against other peoples.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 11-19-2009, 10:22 PM
r108dos r108dos is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 34
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Another hair cut for David.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 11-19-2009, 11:03 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The sylvan exurbs west of Boston Massachusetts.
Posts: 1,328
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
That's why I said it was "almost fair." If you take over a chess game from somebody who is down a rook and has a doubled pawn, your eventual game result will stand in that context. If it goes badly in Afganistan is will be on Obama and Bush. But if it goes well, to the extent that it looks as if his team blew it, Bush won't share as much in the credit as he would have the blame. And that's probably fair.
Yeah.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 11-20-2009, 02:56 AM
T.G.G.P T.G.G.P is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 278
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

How would I free the slaves? Possibly with compensated emancipation, as the Brits carried out. I certainly wouldn't have gone to war with the Confederates, but of course that wasn't why the war was fought. We certainly didn't invade Brazil afterward to abolish slavery there. Lincoln said if he could preserve the Union without freeing any slaves, he would. He endorsed a constitutional amendment that would have protected slavery because he thought it might accomplish that. The American civil war is best understood in the context of the 19th century enthusiasm for nationalism and the unifications of Italy and Germany (Garibaldi even volunteered the help the Union, as did many German 48'ers). I am not a nationalist (I wouldn't terribly object to being called a neo-feudalist) and hold that war in a low regard similar to WW1. I would have endorsed the north seceding (as some, like Garrison endorsed, when the Fugitive Slave act was being debated), but I'm in favor of secession any time, any place for any reason. That's not to say I think it's worth fighting a war though, so I don't endorse the American war of independence. I don't oppose killing in all circumstances, but I think it requires a high burden of justification which most wars don't meet.

Baltimoron, which thesis of Huntington are you referring to? Clash of Civilizations? Crisis of governance? I don't think he said it was the task of the U.S to combat anarchy, and no reader of "Who Are We?" could believe that he's an evangelist for globalism.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 11-20-2009, 02:57 AM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 1,658
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Of course one could argue that Bush's sacrifice in material was worth the positioning.
__________________
Six Phases of a Project: (1)Enthusiasm (2)Disillusionment (3)Panic (4)Search for the Guilty (5)Punishment of the Innocent (6)Praise and Honors for the Non-Participants
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 11-20-2009, 03:25 AM
Lyle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Right, but it came down to a War because all the talking and politics didn't work in the end.



Edit: And arguably the Civil War was about slavery since there would have never been a Civil War but for slavery. States Rights had to do with being able to extend slavery into new States. If this was no longer going to be legal, the slave states wouldn't be able to remain slave states for much longer when outvoted in Congress... hence the rational for succession.

Last edited by Lyle; 11-21-2009 at 01:03 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 11-20-2009, 02:22 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
I always find the dismissive attitude towards force as a tool to achieve an end interesting.
I think you are overgeneralizing -- the idea that force is always a bad way to achieve an end is hardly a common enough view to justify a lengthy screed, especially one filled with so many other generalizations. At least, unless in a specific debate with a pacifist. I mean, I think Wonderment is a great voice to have here and his positions are interesting and worth taking seriously, but you seem here to be trying to set up a dichotomy in which "liberals" are supposedly basically pacifists that has no relationship to reality in the US.

If you want to respond to specific things Bacevich said, that might be interesting, but you go way beyond that.

Quote:
After all, why not just let people sort things out themselves. Who are we to barge in and FORCE democracy/tolerance upon them.
To start with, you pose this as if it describes the basic argument with regard to recent foreign policy, namely with Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, for the most part, no one has argued for the war in Afghanistan on the basis that we should impose democracy and tolerance, and that was not the official position in support of the Iraq War either, although I suppose you could read some such idea in the writings of such, including Thomas Friedman and plenty of other liberals -- nation building and all, you know. I think it's a bad idea, myself, because I'm too conservative to think it actually is likely to work absent unusual circumstances not present in either of these cases (or many others).

You may think this is a good reason for both of the interventions in question, but it's hardly the normal conservative reason given, and therefore the normal debate has been about quite different topics.

I'll also note that there's yet another reason occasionally given in support for military actions -- to prevent or stop a particular atrocity -- which also was not given here (although there was some discussion of past atrocities by Saddam, a rationale that doesn't fit). I mention this just to be clear that justifying wars on such a basis is a different and distinguishable rationale from justification based on "creating democracy," which seems to be the one you've chosen to support here.

Quote:
The irony is that the liberals are making this case today.
Well, before getting to the "irony" or lack thereof, this idea that war to create democracy is the crux of the debate between "liberals" and "conservatives" is simply wrong. It's not a conservative view at all to support war on such a basis, nor (again) is that what the debate about these particular wars has been about.

Quote:
That was not the kind of argument made about slavery, or the jim crow south. Were those liberals wrong to FORCE their notions of equality upon racist whites? Perhaps the North should have let the south succeed? Better that than resort to force to dictate to others how they should behave. Why sanction the civil war at all? Better to allow the institution of slavery to continue on for decades more than to resort to HARD power to end it.
Couple of problems with this, at least. First, despite your dismissal below, it's hardly only a liberal idea to distinguish between the concern that one has for laws in one's own state vs. those in other countries. For example, Congress and the SC took actions that made segregation in this country illegal and in some cases the power of the state was used to enforce those actions, against the will of particular localities. However, you certainly didn't see anyone -- liberal or conservative -- claiming that the US had the right to use military power to end apartheid in South Africa. We stuck to non-violent actions (those who thought we should do anything at all, mainly liberals). Similarly, I doubt many people, liberal or conservative, thought that other countries would have had the right to invade the US to get rid of segregation.

Also, of course, we didn't fight a war to end segregation or slavery (and under just war theory such a war by part of the country against another, given the availability of other means to achieve the goals, would likely not be justified). We ended segregation through such means. We were also using such means, off and on, about slavery, when the South seceded. The CW was fought regarding the right to secede, not to end slavery. (On the other hand, it's fair to say it was about slavery, as that's why the South seceded.)

Thus, the comparison to the CW just doesn't work.

As far as should we just have done nothing, of course not, but when you are talking about laws within a democracy, there are generally plenty of things citizens can do to challenge the law, as shown by the fight about segregation which eventually happened, however dreadfully late that it did.

Quote:
Of course the petty creature will bring up the pathetic retort about being the same nation.
Note that "the petty creation" who brings up this argument is bringing up an argument on which there's basically no disagreement between right or left, so again trying to suggest that this is the distinction that we are debating about or that it's a "liberal" argument is false.

You seem to be arguing (correct me if I'm wrong) that there's no distinction properly drawn between my interest in the laws of my country and those in the laws of other countries. I think few people would agree with you and, further, if you are talking about justifications for war (a different matter, as I could protest laws in other countries using non-violent means, just as I do, in fact, regarding laws in the US I dislike), I'm not aware of any -- including the just war arguments made within Christianity, at the US military academies, or by conservatives who have argued for the recent interventions -- that would agree with such an argument.

Quote:
Thanks, thanks for forfeiting the notion of human rights, the only ones worth defending are intra national, live a millimeter across border line, and all notions of human rights go out the window. How very tribal of you. Proud liberals. Expand the circle when it comes to soft power, contract it as it relates to hard power.
Again, misleading, as the argument you make is not one on which there is disagreement between liberals and others. Nor, of course, is saying that there's a distinction between US law and the law in other countries for a citizen of the US mean that there's no belief in human rights. And, nor, of course, are the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan being fought due to human rights justifications. Do I think that human rights justifications can be the basis for a war? Sure, sometimes (and this is a common view between some liberals and some conservatives and looked on more skeptically by others in both camps), but it would depend on specifics and you aren't addressing those here, in an effort to create a false dichotomy and relate it to situations to which it doesn't much apply.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 11-20-2009, 06:18 PM
Ray Ray is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 408
Default Re: Reassessing the Freedom Agenda (Andrew Bacevich & David Frum)

Wow.

Impressive dismantling.
Reply With Quote
 


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.