Buttle's World

10 February, 2009

Not Ready to Throw in the Towel on Afghanistan

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 16:10

If Michael Yon has reason for any hope, albeit with downgraded expectations, then there’s reason for some hope. As he points out in this email, the second war starts this year.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan war increases in complexity with each passing year.  Fighting will likely be more intense this year — probably kicking off in earnest at around April or so — than ever before.  It’s dangerous to try to predict the course of a war, though my guess is that 2010 will see even greater fighting than 2009.  By Fall of 2010, we likely will know if our new President has gotten hold of this tiger.

The good news is that Iraq just keeps doing better and better.  Truly an amazing turnaround.

It’s not all great news in Afghanistan. Not by a long shot.

While we prepare to shunt perhaps 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan (which still will not be enough), Russia continues to play the Asian chessboard.  The Russians are picking off pawn after pawn, and steadily eroding our foreign policy influence with them and other Central Asian countries.  The Russians know that we need a land route through their country to Afghanistan, especially as we begin the slow process of increasing our combat presence.  The Pakistan land route is one Achilles’ heel to our Afghanistan effort, and Russia is working hard to make sure that Russia is the other Achilles’ heel, which will strengthen the Russian position on matters such as missile defense.  Russia, at the present rate, will eventually exercise considerable control over the spigot to Afghanistan.  The Russians are successfully wrestling us into a policy arm-lock.  While Russia takes American money and gains influence over our Afghan efforts, we will continue to spend lives and tens of billions of dollars per year on Afghanistan in an attempt to civilize what amounts to Jurassic Park.

As linked above, Yon recommends this article by Frederick Kagan. It’s well worth reading if you want a primer on why Afghanistan is not Iraq.

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