Afghanistan: Today’s total must-read


Our colleague Michael Petrou weighs in today with a concise explanation of the current woes in Afghanistan. Michael has shown me the list of people he got all this from, and it’s quite an authoritative list. Michael was in Afghanistan long before many of us went; he’s kept a constant eye on the situation; his politics tend toward the hawkish, so when he’s pessimistic about Afghanistan, you should take it more seriously than when Harvard and Paris wets like Geddes and I do.

UPDATE: This guy in this here Youtube says it will take “about a decade” to quell the Afghanistan insurgency.

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Afghanistan: Today’s total must-read

  1. In the last thread, it took the Torybot brigade a whole six posts before they labelled Michèle Ouimet a talentless and treasonous limp-wristed hack whose observations are accordingly worthless. What’s the likely over-under on Petrou?

  2. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed, Tom.

  3. Oh good, now that the a Very Serious Person thinks there is a problem, it’s REAL.

  4. Not at all, DR. If you squeeze your eyes shut, any problem goes away. It’s a scientific fact.

  5. Not only that, but if enough Very Unserious People think there isn’t a problem, a problem is created.

  6. You know what I find unsettling about this whole thing, is that everyone keeps asking for more troops, but it doesn’t seem that they exist.

    Canada has 2500 over there at any given time, but we’ve rotated most of our force through several tours there over the last few years at the risk of depleting what forces we already have. What is missing from most of the discussions surrounding Afghanistan is that NATO is tapped out as well as weak-willed.

    NATO is not some omnipotent force structure – it’s just a bunch of countries working together. Unfortunately, it’s hard to work together if member countries don’t pony up resources and materials. Many of the heavier NATO countries have few resources to distribute because they are either preoccupied elsewhere (Iraq) or do not have sufficient military resources to provide. Other countries simply do not have the political will or appetite to do so.

    These facts taken together spell out a larger problem for NATO in the long run, and an opportunity for Russian-bloc countries (notice China and Russia making plays for Cuba and Venesuela as well as former soviet states) and Rogue-nations to capitalize on. If a U.N. sactioned mission, with global security risks at stake, and called for under Article 5 of the NATO charter, cannot be conducted successfully by the members of the group within an orderly time frame, then what would we do if an even more serious threat emerged in the future?

  7. It is not necessary to refute Petrou’s recorded observations in order to present a more optimistic picture that records a lot of improvements and advances, as well as showing where additional improvements and advances are available.

    The “surge” appears to be working in Iraq, and it seems that the way they did (methodical and incremental) should give some lessons for Afghanistan, and some hope as well, if Obama carries through his promise to direct troops there.

    I don’t object to this kind of article (it says things that have to be said) – it just seems unbalanced in its negativity (“how we risk losing…”). How about: “what are the challenges and how can we meet them?”.

  8. Some say the surge worked.
    Others say that the ethnic cleansing was basically completed by the time the surge rolled in.

    Dunno which is true, myself.

  9. The surge worked in the sense that the increased troops in Baghdad and especially around Sadr City brought some restraint to the Mahdi militias. In the countryside it was the flow of money to local clan and tribal leaders and the folding of their militias into police and army units that bought something resembling peace to outlying areas.

    There are still lots of people – including Americans – being killed. But no one has reporters there anymore.

    And what happens when the American money goes … if it does.

  10. There is strong evidence that the “surge” was only part of the solution.

    The other part was the fact that the sectarian violence went on long enough to quietly and efficiently remove the undesirables from the various ethnic neighbourhoods, leaving the parts that are violence-free now happily reveling in their own homogenized cultural borders once again.

    That will not be the solution to Afghanistan.

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