Chris Brose, reporting on/from the Munich security conference, writes a long post on Afghanistan. This part caught my eye:
What I heard again and again is that we may have to settle for a counterterrorism-focused mission, but that should be an unfortunate option of last resort, not our going-in policy. Furthermore, we should not allow resources to determine strategy, as this study suggests, which was one interpretation I heard for the administration’s recent statements walking back U.S. goals: The economy’s bad, and we have to do what we can. This gets it backwards. We should determine the optimal outcome we are confident we can accomplish, and then pay for it. After all, we still have a GDP of, what, $12 trillion? If our conception of strategic success is achievable, let’s not hide behind tightening budgets.
Maybe Afghanistan can be part of the stimulus—let’s ramp up for a difficult war! We’ll need more materiel and we’ll need boots on the ground. Those who can’t build Humvees can go overseas.
But seriously, what’s going on here? Let’s grant the somewhat dubious premise that resources shouldn’t determine strategy for the moment. What should our strategy be? A massive state-building project in one of the most primitive and underdeveloped parts of the world? To what end? Is developing Afghanistan an end in itself? Or are we hoping to get a basing arrangement so we can eventually project power into an increasingly chaotic Pakistan when the shit eventually hits the fan there?
Color me skeptical. Some are celebrating the recent Iraqi elections as a vindication of the squandering of vast amounts of our treasure and reasonable amounts of our blood by the Bush administration. I still see it as the strategic screwup of the century, wherein we basically gave up global strategic flexibility for almost six years and counting, as well as bases in Saudi Arabia in order to be denied eventual basing rights in Iraq by a democratically elected government which will probably neither be a close ally nor a friend of Israel. Committing to “solving” Afghanistan, or “winning” there, is to put us on a similarly ill-conceived trajectory.
A disturbing video appears to show that two LA gangsters are now mercenaries fighting on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. Calling themselves “Wino” and “Creeper,” the two gang member. […]
Thanks to the recent Winter Olympics, the city of Sochi has two gorgeous ice hockey arenas. However, it doesn’t have an ice hockey team to play in them. These arenas are just two of Sochi’s many. […]