Rogue Client State Part 37

ISI helped coordinate the Mumbai terrorist attack? India’s RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) has been saying that for years. Of course, RAW also claims ISI is responsible for Justin Bieber. Still, the whole broken clock thing. And it’s not like this court testimony is particularly firm or fact filled. Let’s run with it, shall we?

When In Doubt Consult With True Experts

Face it, talk to a London cabbie and they’ll give the same advice: logistics, logistics and logistics. As long as the Boy King wages a failed war in Afghanistan (now with extra-Petraeus, set to run an excessively militarized, less accountable CIA) we’ve got to try playing low key. 100,000 men without food, ammo and POL? Assume some flyboy will guarantee the Boy King air supply (how novel). 4 months and still it won’t be pretty, even without Italian armies running away.

If you hear anyone talking about ‘getting tough on Pakistan’ without providing a solution to this logistical choke hold that idiot – well, that’s probably a senior Administration official. But you see where we were going. Thus does Obama’s folly of a two-fold escalation come home to roost. Then COIN stupidity blocks other rational, strategic choices. We ‘need’ Pakistan because yadda, yadda, yadda — we’re geo-politically dim. U.S. engagement with the feeble Pakistani civilian government will somehow moderate and curtail the military’s primacy? Vapidity worthy of Cher Condi. Even in the medium term the smallest prospect borders on fanciful.

Throw COIN In The Trash Can

Toss COIN. The stupidest idea since Iraq. The U.S. has no vital strategic stake in who’s the Mayor of Kabul. As for the insanity of building a state out of disparate tribes and clans? We can’t even rebuild Michigan. Hello McFly? ‘Nuff said. Make extra sure Petraeus (and Stan) get three cups of tea when the news breaks.

Much of the military’s belief in tea culture can be traced back to Greg Mortenson and his memoir, “Three Cups of Tea,” a book touted by top commanders and devoured by younger officers.

But Mortenson has recently had to fend off allegations that big chunks of his memoir, which chronicles his work to build schools in some of the most remote and violent areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, are lies. Both “60 Minutes” and writer Jon Krakauer have alleged that Mortenson has misused money donated to the charity he formed. Mortenson has defended his memoir as largely true and denied any financial impropriety. . . .

But the scandal’s most far-reaching impact could be on the U.S. military, which was quick to embrace Mortenson’s message that one American could help change the lives of Afghans and bring light and learning to a troubled part of the world. His recipe for winning the war on terror was tantalizingly simple: By building schools — especially girls’ schools — in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mortenson and his backers could vanquish Islamic extremism.

“The U.S. military was just dying for his story to be true,” said Celeste Ward Gventer, who was a senior civilian adviser to the U.S. military in Baghdad during some of the darkest days of the Iraq war. “They were dying to believe that this one guy learned the culture, earned the Afghans’ respect and helped them build a better society.”

DTMFA as one columnist advises. Re-posture for a exponentially lighter, more agile counter-terrorism footprint. Assume the wogs are triple dealing. Grind down the aid. Play the Indian card and engage the Indian military in Afghanistan for counter-terrorism. Pakistan wants to play the China card? Put Indians in their ‘strategic depth’. The U.S. really should be focused on where the 100 nuclear warheads are (which is why the GoP (really the military) are so freaked about the stealth raid). This Taliban attack underscores the point.

Talking heads of the status quo like Gergen will intone we don’t want to destabilize Pakistan. True. Guess what? It already is. Americans don’t know it because our media is so bad. The ethnic, religious and other factors tearing Pakistan apart are not within the scope of U.S. power to change. Beliefs otherwise are just typical American hubris and amnesia. Most of the American aid money goes to the military and ISI anyway.

“But Stiftung, if we we do as you advise, won’t Pakistanis then aid and support terrorists?” Like they do already? Besides, if China wants a rogue client in addition to NK, have at it. India is a far more advantageous ally, although they, of course, have their own agendas.

Brief The President With Steel In Your Eyes

We urge the rapid drawn down in Afghanistan. It was a ludicrous policy and strategic folly. When our footprint is significantly smaller, we regain some geo-strategic flexibility. Then we can start the plain speaking and dealing with Pakistan. Both are in the U.S. interest. The current situation, tense as it may be, still rewards and subsidizes rogue client state activity.

To become U.S. policy this strategic assessment must be forcefully presented. Only when supported by steely eyed conviction that here are America’s best interests will one survive Donilon’s suffocating, soul-draining process. Assuming one’s soul remains along with an erg of energy, one must still surmount the Goldilocks Principle. If we’re all lucky, Obama might proclaim he is vexed, even mightily vexed. He might even mutter something like “I am not stupid.” The necessary and first step, however, is a meaningful, non-photo op drawdown in 2011. If he goes all Goldilocks again, it’s over and one can forget progress on Pakistan to boot.

Success possible? Only if Commander-In-Chief Obama sees steel in the eyes. Otherwise to him it’s just another House Democrat or whiner from his accursed base.


  1. Dr Leo Strauss says

    @Aldershot This crowd seems tone deaf that way. India seems a no-brainer. But just now Obama sends the wife and kids home and goes alone to Poland? People remember these basic things for a long time.

  2. Aldershot says

    re our overtures to India since 1990, I recall The Washington Realist reporting that upon winning the election, Obama phoned Afghanistan and/or Pakistan, but neglected to call India, much to their dismay. I thought at the time it was quite the slam to a fellow democracy, especially considering our shared ties to Britain.

  3. Comment says

    @Dr Leo Strauss
    But this means the US will probably never sell planes to emerging asia because in a decade or two India will probably be able to make planes as good or better than the Eurofighter.
    Hey – we still get help Karzai’s family and friends.

  4. DrLeoStrauss says

    No, the mission in Afghanistan isn’t about killing Al Qaeda members. It’s about stabilizing the country so that it can never again serve as the hotbed of extremism that it was until 2001, with all of the attendant national security and human rights problems that resulted.

    Peter Bergen, May 2011. Never met him. Mutual acquaintances say good things personally. Can never pass even a casual audit of ends/means-strategic goals, let alone a simple intellectual difference. He explores some of that.

    Still, the view above is accepted conventional wisdom in many quarters still, particularly the Pentagon. Regardless, hats off to Peter Bergen. If the Stiftung met UBL/OBL/STFU about him in 1998, we’d probably have just put it on our HTML 1.0/Frontpage website with blinking GIFs.

    We’d almost assuredly miss the point of UBL/OBL/STFU about him’s interview and mock his wardrobe, etc. The irrelevant, caustic comments would’ve been read by three people using Mosaic browsers and one on IE 4.0. And then nothing. Done and gone.

    Bergen parlayed that encounter into opportunities he helped create and thereby built a substantial career and with robust output. That’s both a life skill and an accomplishment of multiple disciplines. Disagree on some of the policy analysis.

    Congratulate him for all the rest. And with some wistfulness, too, truth be told.

  5. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Pakistani military doesn’t even tell the civilian government what U.S. aid it receives. The nominal Pakistani gov’t has to beg U.S. to provide answers.

    Kind of a flashback to arms control days. The Sov Foreign Ministry and civilian types didn’t know what their military was doing either, and constantly had to ask the U.S. to find out what their own country was up to. Good times, good times.

  6. Comment says

    re COIN going fw’d – Seriously – what kind of person growing up in the USA decides he wants to violently put down insurgencies in 3rd world countries?

    What’s wrong with counter terrorism instead? You gonna bomb us? We bomb you first instead.

    The institutionalization of COIN will attract the wrong kind of people into service. Not to mention the neocons using it as a cover for every hair brained scheme they dream up.

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