Thursday, November 05, 2009

Afghan Victory Looks LIke ... What?

Let us start out with who is playing in Afghanistan, there is the US/NATO faction, the Kharzi government (?), India, Pakistan, AlQaeda, Taliban, Iran, and every other big player in geo-politics. Everybody seems to have a hand in mucking up the works and really very few have Afghans' well being at heart. India and Pakistan have their dispute as a basis for playing for playing with client groups which seems to be back firing rather badly in Pakistan. US/NATO have an anti-AQ/Taliban agenda involving also not having a failed state haven. Iran, China, Russia, etc have their own geo-political reasons to mess about. Some of these things have direct bearing on the US/NATO mission, some not much.

The failed state condition is believed to have led to Taliban dominance and AQ's haven/operational base. I'm real unsure what it is that is now supposed to be the alternative to that. The Kharzi government has little reputation for being representative, a real reputation for corruption, and seems to sort of control Kabul and little else. If there is something resembling a non-failed state government it would seem to be either the warlords or the US/NATO forces. Since our forces are scarcely representative as more than occupiers the actual government would seem to be the warlords. The question that occurs is whether these people would permit a Taliban/AQ government? I just do not see how the US can propose to impose the Kharzi outfit on the that nation as things stand.

Thanks to Pakistan's desire to keep Afghanistan from being a powerful Indian client state sitting on another Pakistan border the Taliban/AQ have become a nasty presence in their nation, their nuclear power nation. Oddly enough, Pakistan doesn't want our troops running around their nation shooting it up, though they are beginning to realize what a monster they've got loose at home. The US/NATO realize who and what the Pakistanis have let run in their portion of dirt and are really pretty petrified about it. What there is to be done about it by the US/NATO beyond some Predator strikes is a real debate. The US threw real piles of money and supplies into Pakistan to get today's results - not so hot. It certainly seems to be the case that a good portion of the Taliban/AQ presence is home grown Pakistani and so qualifies as pretty much a civil war.

I'm really pretty sure that the Obama Administration is struggling with all these factors as well as the US political fall-out factors. I don't think there is a good answer, I think whatever course chosen would have bad results and I think they know that and are looking for the least bad outcomes. The biggest question now, what is the American populace willing to put up with?

The idea that we're going to stop this one place from being a haven for AQ is probably faulty without huge numbers of soldiers. Worse, there are failed or hostile states around that would serve that end regardless of Afghanistan. Stopping that probably would be better served by use of something other than a sledge hammer, there and around the world. I own sledge hammers and use them, but not for driving nails.

Pakistan is going to be a nail biter for some time to come. Nobody with any sense outside Pakistan has been pleased by their achievement of nuclear power status. Pakistan has its own home grown religious weirdness, they haven't required any imported versions to be a challenge to security in this world. There isn't much we can do about Pakistan if its government can't keep sufficient support in the country to stand.

Whatever President Obama decides to do about Afghanistan, I'm afraid he'll come out the loser in that narrative. I wonder if he knew that when he worked so hard to get the job.

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