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Thread: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

  1. #1
    Stranger in a strange land Forum Administrator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    So last night Trump gave a speech on Afghanistan, saying that the US role in Afghanistan would have no end date, and an increase in US troops there. He also discussed that he wanted to focus on fighting the Taliban there, moving off of nation-building to focus on terrorist-killing.

    This of course is something of a flip from his previous statements talking about leaving Afghanistan, but considering he also criticized the vacuum in Iraq that the US pullout caused, this decision wasnt out of the blue.

    He also spent time criticizing Pakistan for harboring terrorism.

    Im unsure how I feel about this. I would want a pullout as I see nothing ending well in that country, but at the same time, the lessons from Iraq shouldnt be forgotten either. The Afghan government and forces are not ready to be on their own (still) so leaving now would just enable Taliban takeover once again.
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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    They are incapable, at present, of fashioning a relatively non-corrupt and vaguely stable government. They have, functionally, been ruled along tribalist lines since Megos Alexandros, and his "control" may have been pretty superficial.

    If the US pulls out completely, the area will revert to tribalism, probably under the loose leadership of the Taliban, and will return to its previous status regarding terror training camps etc.

    If the US commits an inordinate amount of resources engaged in full nation building, then in 30-40 years we may be able to draw down Afghanistan with some hope of leaving behind a stable state.

    Trump's alternative, enhanced terrorist whack-a-mole efforts, will allow Afghanistan to remain as it is provided we never draw down our troop totals too far and keep up the low grade warfare. Oh brave new world....
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

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    Apr 04-Nov 11 Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    What does terrorist killing even mean? How many terrorists actually operate in Afghanistan at this point? Surely it's not the most hopping theatre right now? No end date? The US military as an extra judical killing force?
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan is our gym membership held just in case we decide we want to go to the gym, someday. But if we drop our membership the company in charge goes bankrupt and the building itself collapses to the foundation.

    And we can never go to (this) gym again.

    At this point, the best option is probably to "evacuate" all the gym employees and other patrons, and start working out at home. That New Year's resolution just isn't going to pan out, and it's hurting the people in our life.
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooahguy View Post
    So last night Trump gave a speech on Afghanistan, saying that the US role in Afghanistan would have no end date, and an increase in US troops there. He also discussed that he wanted to focus on fighting the Taliban there, moving off of nation-building to focus on terrorist-killing.

    This of course is something of a flip from his previous statements talking about leaving Afghanistan, but considering he also criticized the vacuum in Iraq that the US pullout caused, this decision wasnt out of the blue.

    He also spent time criticizing Pakistan for harboring terrorism.

    Im unsure how I feel about this. I would want a pullout as I see nothing ending well in that country, but at the same time, the lessons from Iraq shouldnt be forgotten either. The Afghan government and forces are not ready to be on their own (still) so leaving now would just enable Taliban takeover once again.
    Criticizing Pakistan, with no strategy to change their behavior, won't achieve anything.

    The Taliban will indeed take over - or someone like them - and we will have to deal with it anyway. Best-case, we can reach an accommodation as follows, to put our relations at around Iran-tier, optimistically:

    1. We will pull out in 1 year (or whatever short period).
    2. We will cease hostilities so long as we and our protected populations are not attacked under agreed terms. (Maybe we can agree that IS Khorasan et al. are free game for all parties)
    3. All Afghans collaborating as civilian or military personnel will be evaluated for asylum in America, as well as their close family. Any other individuals seeking asylum will be considered as well, but at a lower priority.
    4. dot dot dot

    The idea is to protect the people we have promised to protect (having put their lives on the line for the coalition effort), minimize bloodshed in the interim, and incentivize peaceful power transfers after the coalition leaves. If this puts the Taliban at a majority stake in government throughout the country , so be it. We can't afford to antagonize them over this inevitability. We will need a minimum level of diplomatic relations, as if we can't even have that then our failure is absolute. The best case is that, over time, we may encourage through external and internal change the moderation of the Taliban regime and the opening of Afghanistan.

    Encourage Chinese buy-in to protect their resource extraction interests, and perhaps eventually the Taliban will come running to Western corporations to counterbalance Chinese domination.

    Yes, that's optimistic. Better than we can hope for on the current course. No more indefinite investment.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 08-22-2017 at 18:57.
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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Encourage Chinese buy-in to protect their resource extraction interests, and perhaps eventually the Taliban will come running to Western corporations to counterbalance Chinese domination.
    Bonus points if you can get the Chinese addicted to the opium and control them that way.


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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Trump just made it official:

    The War on Terror is the "forever war".
    Jobs Jobs Jobs for the U.S.A. and the export of endless terrorism...
    Ja-mata TosaInu

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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by HopAlongBunny View Post
    Trump just made it official:

    The War on Terror is the "forever war".
    Jobs Jobs Jobs for the U.S.A. and the export of endless terrorism...
    The War on Terror has been the forever war since the Camp David Accords. Only the intensity of the moment and specific location has varied.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

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  9. #9
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Having been there before and scheduled to go there again I'm biased toward a continued presence.

    Overall I'm glad we're not doing a giant surge to 'kill terrorists' because the Afghan government just isn't capable yet of securing whatever ground we win. Not focusing on Troop numbers or time tables is good though, I saw firsthand the problems that happen when a major stake holder like the US suddenly and quickly leaves and area without a capable replacement force from the Afghan Police or Army. That being said, while a limited increase in Troops (probably mostly support with very limited ground combat forces of the SOF variety) is good too many would create more problems as well.

    For the long term I hope we keep a commitment to Afghanistan, they're a poor country that can't afford the air force and communications equipment that they need to sustain the war they're in.

    Their economy though slow is growing, especially as it's got a generation of kids that have mostly received some sort education (including significant numbers of girls) as opposed to nearly nationwide illiteracy that was there before 2001. Unfortunately the population is growing faster than the economy though...

    Why bother keeping up this fight? I believe that so long as we give the ANA basic air support, limited training, and some supervision they won't be defeated. They might lose parts of the of the countryside but it's unlikely that they'd be kicked out of cities or along the ring road. Victory will be a long time coming, will probably take this current generation of Afghans that have grown up in the post-Taliban rule but under Taliban threat to change things. I doubt that they want to revert to no TV, internet, Bollywood, etc.. the indicator of that is the constant flow of refugees Westward.
    On the point of refugees, it's better helping the Afghan government now than dealing with the millions more that would flee Afghanistan if the Taliban were taking major cities over. The current flow is but a trickle compared to if it were to go full on Syria.

    Don't take the above as naivete about the situation. I am truly not optimistic about it but looking at Libya, Syria, Mali, Somalia, and Yemen I lean toward helping the current government with all its faults with at least control of the cities and nearby countryside than letting it collapse completely into regional warlords with cities of millions in between.
    Giving up and pretending that we can leave without it causing larger problems is something the past 30 years of warfare in Asia/Africa should have taught the US. Try to address the problems there at great expense or try and ignore the problems and deal with them later at much more expense and possibly much closer to home or allied homes.
    Last edited by spmetla; 08-23-2017 at 04:24.

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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by spmetla
    Why bother keeping up this fight? I believe that so long as we give the ANA basic air support, limited training, and some supervision they won't be defeated. They might lose parts of the of the countryside but it's unlikely that they'd be kicked out of cities or along the ring road. Victory will be a long time coming, will probably take this current generation of Afghans that have grown up in the post-Taliban rule but under Taliban threat to change things. I doubt that they want to revert to no TV, internet, Bollywood, etc.. the indicator of that is the constant flow of refugees Westward.
    Perhaps that change would come more naturally from a population unified under the Taliban, rather than a fragmented one often opposed to Western armed presence and the government of the Islamic Republic, if not more than, then almost as much as they are opposed to the Taliban?

    Recall that it was only now, after more than 50 years, that FARC was disarmed in Colombia, and the vacuum in its place was filled by other criminal organizations (which arose over time alongside FARC) immediately as well as by the transfer of former FARC to those ranks. The Colombian government has not been capable of eliminating either cartels or insurgencies, even with American assistance - but at least Colombia has generally had enough power and popular support to maintain itself without foreign intervention. What profit could there be to the world by maintaining an edge-of-the-teeth presence in Afghanistan for generations that couldn't be expected to flow organically from the development of self-government and economic necessity? Why wouldn't indefinite maintenance indefinitely stunt the condition of Afghan civil society and economy?

    On the point of refugees, it's better helping the Afghan government now than dealing with the millions more that would flee Afghanistan if the Taliban were taking major cities over. The current flow is but a trickle compared to if it were to go full on Syria.
    Many of those would be taken in by the United States and coalition partners during the process of divestment. On those not qualified for asylum in the first process, or refugees following Taliban retrenchment, perhaps we could accept reliance on the participation of Iran and Pakistan.

    Giving up and pretending that we can leave without it causing larger problems is something the past 30 years of warfare in Asia/Africa should have taught the US. Try to address the problems there at great expense or try and ignore the problems and deal with them later at much more expense and possibly much closer to home or allied homes.
    As I said in earlier posts, this has always been a plausible justification but by now it looks threadbare. What we are doing is continuing to kick the ball down the road in case we eventually muster the will and resources to "address the problems there at great expense". What we have and have had is merely stable vacillation. Look at the importance of South Korea to the contemporary international economy and American strategy - and now think what a folly it would have been to entertain a siege by victorious North Korean armies from a few southern port cities for decades, had the military situation come to that, in the hope of a strong allied Korea as the outcome. At that point, you have to accept that hostile - but potentially diplomatically-amenable - hegemony is preferable to chaos and a bloody foot caught in the door.

    Is the argument really that similar troop levels, investments, and Op-tempos in Afghanistan over the next decade, with periodic surges, will benefit us, the world, and/or the Afghan people more than a smooth and peaceful departure with expected rapid ANA collapse and Taliban reconquest would, over that same decade?

    Is the argument that maintenance will produce less international Islamist militancy in the medium- or long-term than departure would?

    I just can't believe it, in our present time.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 08-23-2017 at 06:03.
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  11. #11
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Recall that it was only now, after more than 50 years, that FARC was disarmed in Colombia, and the vacuum in its place was filled by other criminal organizations (which arose over time alongside FARC) immediately as well as by the transfer of former FARC to those ranks. The Colombian government has not been capable of eliminating either cartels or insurgencies, even with American assistance - but at least Colombia has generally had enough power and popular support to maintain itself without foreign intervention.
    What exactly are you talking about? From what I can see, the biggest issue in Colombia is inequality, the lack of a proper social security net and the lack of trust among the population due to corruption and other issues. Like in many Latin American countries it's almost as though you have a strange mix of economic ideologies from Ayn Rand style capitalism, probably supported by the US Monroe doctrine and related influences such as the upper class being mostly the offspring of greedy Spanish conquistadors who just came for the gold and riches.

    The drug problems there have gone down significantly though, or rather, were outsourced to Mexico and the country overall is becoming safer. So I'm not sure why you would say the FARC are getting replaced by other groups. There are still plenty of bad groups left, including far right militia who hunt and kill homeless children at night, but I don't think any of them take over the entire FARC territory.

    Not to forget that capitalist theory says supply exists as long as there is a demand, so the drug and cartel problems are not just the fault of the drug-producing countries, but also partially the fault of those first world countries that suppress local production and yet create an enormous demand for these drugs despite high prices. If you're a coke-snorting banker in Miami and you make fun of Mexico's inability to cope with the drug cartels, I got news for you because you're the cause of their problems.

    That's also partially applicable to Afghanistan it seems, given that drugs make up a large part of their exports: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/front...t_-survey.html

    Opium production in Afghanistan rose by 43 per cent to 4,800 metric tons in 2016 compared with 2015 levels, according to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey figures released today by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the UNODC. The area under opium poppy cultivation also increased to 201,000 hectares (ha) in 2016, a rise of 10 per cent compared with 183,000 ha in 2015.
    And just like some of the Colombian NGO factions (FARC etc.), the Taliban are partially financed through this drug production: https://www.forbes.com/sites/andersc.../#55176f9457d3

    Targeting opium production in Afghanistan is timely, and important for two reasons: opium does harm to opiate abusers worldwide, and as an illicit economy, it incentivizes corruption and criminality, and is being used to fund terrorism.
    Note: I'm not sure whether I agree with Forbes on attempting to fight the supply side as said above, as capitalists they should know that demand always creates a supply from somewhere so it is usually better to curb demand, I'm sure all the people who oppose the EU incandescent light bulb ban will agree. (yes, completely different product and circumstances, but I mean ideologically)


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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    ...Is the argument really that similar troop levels, investments, and Op-tempos in Afghanistan over the next decade, with periodic surges, will benefit us, the world, and/or the Afghan people more than a smooth and peaceful departure with expected rapid ANA collapse and Taliban reconquest would, over that same decade?

    Is the argument that maintenance will produce less international Islamist militancy in the medium- or long-term than departure would?

    I just can't believe it, in our present time.
    I think the idea is to keep whack-a-mole efforts in Afghanistan up so as to perpetuate the current situation -- i.e. the LACK of a protected center for terrorist training and development. In the decade the Taliban WAS in charge of Afghanistan, we had the ramp up of Al Queda.

    Will our continued efforts in Afghanistan make Islamist militancy/terror attacks fewer? Probably not, and certainly not decisively fewer. The goal here is simply to prevent them from having a safe haven wherein such attacks would be fostered and become more numerous and more severe.

    We shall see if this approach actually yields that much.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

  13. #13

    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Another formulation of the maintenance doctrine I discussed and have come to reject:

    A few hours before the speech, I spoke with one former senior official with much experience in the region whose forecast for what Trump would say was dead on.

    “Unless he was going to withdraw U.S. troops, you really didn’t have any other choice,” the official told me. “There is no other option that isn’t too risky. If you do nothing at all in a context where security continues to deteriorate, then you just narrow your set of options for the full four years ... If you pull out precipitously, you’re definitely going to have a crisis on your hands. So a modest increase stabilizes the situation where it is and prevents the defeat of the government. It’s unsatisfying but it at least preserves your options.

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    What exactly are you talking about? From what I can see, the biggest issue in Colombia is inequality, the lack of a proper social security net and the lack of trust among the population due to corruption and other issues. Like in many Latin American countries it's almost as though you have a strange mix of economic ideologies from Ayn Rand style capitalism, probably supported by the US Monroe doctrine and related influences such as the upper class being mostly the offspring of greedy Spanish conquistadors who just came for the gold and riches.

    The drug problems there have gone down significantly though, or rather, were outsourced to Mexico and the country overall is becoming safer. So I'm not sure why you would say the FARC are getting replaced by other groups. There are still plenty of bad groups left, including far right militia who hunt and kill homeless children at night, but I don't think any of them take over the entire FARC territory.

    Not to forget that capitalist theory says supply exists as long as there is a demand, so the drug and cartel problems are not just the fault of the drug-producing countries, but also partially the fault of those first world countries that suppress local production and yet create an enormous demand for these drugs despite high prices. If you're a coke-snorting banker in Miami and you make fun of Mexico's inability to cope with the drug cartels, I got news for you because you're the cause of their problems.

    That's also partially applicable to Afghanistan it seems, given that drugs make up a large part of their exports: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/front...t_-survey.html



    And just like some of the Colombian NGO factions (FARC etc.), the Taliban are partially financed through this drug production: https://www.forbes.com/sites/andersc.../#55176f9457d3



    Note: I'm not sure whether I agree with Forbes on attempting to fight the supply side as said above, as capitalists they should know that demand always creates a supply from somewhere so it is usually better to curb demand, I'm sure all the people who oppose the EU incandescent light bulb ban will agree. (yes, completely different product and circumstances, but I mean ideologically)
    Columbia: FARC vacuum

    Understand that Colombian gangs and cartels, involved in criminal industries of agriculture and mining in addition to traditional drug-running and production, have been around for years, long before FARC finally stood down. They are, as you see, very large and diversified organizations just like the Mexican cartels, and they had divided the country up amongst themselves - other than FARC land.Now that FARC has demobilized, groups are moving to establish control over this territory and its people. Of all the candidates, it seems unlikely that the government will be the one to successfully assert authority.

    As for poppy and derivatives/products, one of the problems is that Afghanistan does not have a diverse economy and poppy cultivation is one of the only ways for farmers to make money, which of course then funnels through the Taliban and other militant groups in many cases. Maybe if we promoted contracts between the farmers and our pharmaceutical industry (with *sigh* state subsidies to the corporations) to prevent poppy cultivation from causing as much harm as it ultimately does now, through criminal and insurgent channels. At any rate, to stop cultivation you need to give the cultivators an alternative. Merely committing manpower to destroy product where it grows will have - has had - diminishing returns, unless we decide to escalate to dropping napalm or herbicide all over the fields of Afghanistan.



    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    I think the idea is to keep whack-a-mole efforts in Afghanistan up so as to perpetuate the current situation -- i.e. the LACK of a protected center for terrorist training and development. In the decade the Taliban WAS in charge of Afghanistan, we had the ramp up of Al Queda.

    Will our continued efforts in Afghanistan make Islamist militancy/terror attacks fewer? Probably not, and certainly not decisively fewer. The goal here is simply to prevent them from having a safe haven wherein such attacks would be fostered and become more numerous and more severe.

    We shall see if this approach actually yields that much.
    But terrorists already have safe havens throughout the world, and at least a Taliban government could be expected to tolerate only a certain subset of them. But again, a level of diplomatic and economic relations with the Taliban in the aftermath of departure could extract further limitations on that subset. We'll never be friendly, but at least between our warmth toward Iran and toward North Korea, in between that standard seems achievable, right?
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    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Perhaps that change would come more naturally from a population unified under the Taliban, rather than a fragmented one often opposed to Western armed presence and the government of the Islamic Republic, if not more than, then almost as much as they are opposed to the Taliban?
    What makes you think that the population of the Taliban would be unified under the Taliban more than they are under the current government? Sure the the Taliban has loyalty among the most loyal of the Pashto tribesmen but it has not done anything to elicit support from the large Tajik and Hazara minorities. A Taliban government might be supported in the South and East of the country but the North and West would be in general opposition. The Hazara certainly would never welcome a Taliban government seeing as they were oppressed en masse under the previous regime and endure endless attacks by attempted Taliban infiltration into Bamyan province.

    Heck, one of the reasons that the Taliban were overthrown so easily is that there were so many people opposed to them, from the Northern Alliance to just general dissidents throughout the rest of the country. I still think it's a shame we didn't allow the 'King' to return under a constitutional monarchy which would have given the government more legitimacy in the Pashto regions due to the royal families tribal ties there.

    The 'peace' you probably remember of the Taliban period in Afghanistan is more due to the lack of interest or coverage by any media at the time. Apathy might allow peace of mind but not peace.

    Also, if the Taliban took power they would probably re-impose their drug ban as before which would likely push the now highly militarized smuggler/criminal network from the opium trade into supporting more opposition as well.
    One of the big mistakes of the current government was the enforcement of the ban on opium and marijuana production. Firstly the enforcement is corrupt in that those with ties to the government don't get their crops bulldozed while those without ties or paying the right fee get their crops destroyed. I've seen miles and miles of opium and marijuana being grown, right next to ANA and Afghan police outposts that are absolutely powerless to do a thing about it.

    On this aspect it'd probably be cheaper for the coalition forces to just buy the drugs from the farmers and either destroy or use for medical use to deny the smugglers and criminal networks this source of revenue. If that had been done in the early 2000s I highly doubt the Taliban would ever have had the money to regain support.
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    The above are photos from my tour in Kandahar province, Zharay district in 2013. As you can see no shortage of marijuana or opium. Actually stopping production of these drugs would require essentially torching hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland which is completely infeasible and even if doable would be stupid.

    Your comparison with the FARC is valid, it too was an ideological organization that really turned into narco-terrorists. It's only been a short time since the cease-fire and peace deal between them and Columbia, the peace dividend will take time to pay out.
    A similar deal with the Taliban would be nice, though they would undoubtedly keep fighting. Bear in mind they fight each other quite a lot and fight other extremist groups too, they are not as unified as you think, especially since the death and cover up of Mullah Omar.

    Why wouldn't indefinite maintenance indefinitely stunt the condition of Afghan civil society and economy?
    Because the previous Taliban government did stunt Afghan civil society and economy. They had peace for those they tolerated, terror for those they didn't. No education for women, only islamic education for men. You don't build a modern economy on the ability to recite the Quran. The potential for mineral exploitation, transportation services, and any industry that would actually grow the economy requires a modern education, the islamist education they received before was really only good for agriculture and coolie work with limited mechanical skills allowed.

    The ongoing security situation is stunting the economy certainly but there is still foreign investment. Not something you'd see under the Taliban. Despite the current problems they are still making agreements between their neighbors and attempting to develop infrastructure like rail transport networks, something complicated by the neighbors using varying gauge systems. At some point under this government these rail projects will finish. If peace ever breaks out, Afghanistan will play a major role as a rail transfer point switching cargoes between the different gauges for its many neighbors.

    Do you think that a true Taliban government would bring in this foreign investment? Perhaps from Pakistan and China but not from its other neighbors or any Western country.

    Is the argument that maintenance will produce less international Islamist militancy in the medium- or long-term than departure would?

    But terrorists already have safe havens throughout the world, and at least a Taliban government could be expected to tolerate only a certain subset of them. But again, a level of diplomatic and economic relations with the Taliban in the aftermath of departure could extract further limitations on that subset. We'll never be friendly, but at least between our warmth toward Iran and toward North Korea, in between that standard seems achievable, right?
    I'd point to Somalia and Libya as examples of the continuous militancy that would be produced. Just like any facisist groups these modern radical Islamic countries need a 'bad guy' which will always be the 'corrupt and sinful West' which they will continue to attack. The US left the Taliban alone and it was used as a safe haven for Al Queda to attack us. Qaddafi was overthrown and then Libya was stupidly left alone and its allowed none stop violence and people smuggling which also spread to Mali until the French intervened there. Somalia has been a mess since the collapse of the USSR, Clinton intervened and then abandoned, the following 20 years of leaving them alone didn't help the situation.

    Yes, terrorist have safe havens, why should we encourage more? Of course the Taliban would only tolerate their terrorists, how is that more tolerable? So that they can make them better trained and more dangerous as Iran has with it's associates in Palestine and Lebanon?
    As for us extracting further limitations, this would only be possible if we have influence in the country. US insistence to the Iraqi government on treating the Sunnis well in Iraq fell on deaf ears once we left and had no 'skin' or money in the game. Hence the already ineffective Iraqi military and government was made more so by selective funding and promotions for Shias over Sunnis creating the conditions that made the sunnis in Iraq initially welcoming of ISIS.
    Last edited by spmetla; 08-23-2017 at 20:00.

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  15. #15

    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    What makes you think that the population of the Taliban would be unified under the Taliban more than they are under the current government? Sure the the Taliban has loyalty among the most loyal of the Pashto tribesmen but it has not done anything to elicit support from the large Tajik and Hazara minorities. A Taliban government might be supported in the South and East of the country but the North and West would be in general opposition. The Hazara certainly would never welcome a Taliban government seeing as they were oppressed en masse under the previous regime and endure endless attacks by attempted Taliban infiltration into Bamyan province.

    Heck, one of the reasons that the Taliban were overthrown so easily is that there were so many people opposed to them, from the Northern Alliance to just general dissidents throughout the rest of the country. I still think it's a shame we didn't allow the 'King' to return under a constitutional monarchy which would have given the government more legitimacy in the Pashto regions due to the royal families tribal ties there.
    I assumed they would achieve it by force, sadly. Just like last time. At various times since 2001 I think people have suggested partitioning Afghanistan along ethnic lines, or along lines according to what areas are most amenable to coalition policing and government rule (i.e. in practice abandoning outright the least valuable and most violent territories). What is your opinion on these proposals, both in their past context and in terms of a durable international mission for the future?

    A similar deal with the Taliban would be nice, though they would undoubtedly keep fighting. Bear in mind they fight each other quite a lot and fight other extremist groups too, they are not as unified as you think, especially since the death and cover up of Mullah Omar.
    When I said that the Taliban would assume majority rule over the country, I didn't mean that there would suddenly be peace, just hegemony. In your experienced opinion, would the Taliban have more trouble pacifying the country now after a coalition departure than they did in the 1990s? I mean this question with or without the assumption of rapid collapse on the part of the ANA, since there are many extant factions. Also, do you predict the Taliban, upon the cusp of victory over most of their local antagonists, would fragment into internecine conflict? Is your belief that within a few years of Afghanistan being 'let loose' there would not be one consolidated power over most of the country, Taliban or otherwise?

    I'm sure a lot has changed in the past 20+ years, but what strategically has changed that will affect how militant groups from the Taliban down prosecute their campaigns in the absence of outside powers? I mean, besides everyone being better armed and more experienced in fighting. And how could we account for these factors toward a successful transition out of the country? For the sake of answering the question, take for granted that we will eventually pull out on some kind of transitional deal without having stabilized the central government (whether or not you personally credit that).

    Because the previous Taliban government did stunt Afghan civil society and economy. They had peace for those they tolerated, terror for those they didn't. No education for women, only islamic education for men. You don't build a modern economy on the ability to recite the Quran. The potential for mineral exploitation, transportation services, and any industry that would actually grow the economy requires a modern education, the islamist education they received before was really only good for agriculture and coolie work with limited mechanical skills allowed.
    I acknowledge all of the deleterious practices and abuses, but at this point wonder if we would better serve these people by using political tools from the outside to try to mitigate the damage done by their rulers, to chip away at the worst elements of the ruling ideology. The idea isn't that the Afghan people will spontaneously self-democratize, but that grassroots opinion and political reality will prompt less-bad government over time. I think that's the grinding process we have seen in many Middle Eastern/West Asian countries, while granting that they started at a higher level than Afghanistan is at now.

    Compared to 2000, how is the Taliban ruling its territories now? Specifically, those territories it has held longest and is most entrenched in. Do you perceive their governance as worse, better, or the same as what they offered in 2000, and in what aspects if different?

    The ongoing security situation is stunting the economy certainly but there is still foreign investment. Not something you'd see under the Taliban. Despite the current problems they are still making agreements between their neighbors and attempting to develop infrastructure like rail transport networks, something complicated by the neighbors using varying gauge systems. At some point under this government these rail projects will finish. If peace ever breaks out, Afghanistan will play a major role as a rail transfer point switching cargoes between the different gauges for its many neighbors.

    Do you think that a true Taliban government would bring in this foreign investment? Perhaps from Pakistan and China but not from its other neighbors or any Western country.
    It may be something worth (secret) discussion.

    I'd point to Somalia and Libya as examples of the continuous militancy that would be produced. Just like any facisist groups these modern radical Islamic countries need a 'bad guy' which will always be the 'corrupt and sinful West' which they will continue to attack. The US left the Taliban alone and it was used as a safe haven for Al Queda to attack us. Qaddafi was overthrown and then Libya was stupidly left alone and its allowed none stop violence and people smuggling which also spread to Mali until the French intervened there. Somalia has been a mess since the collapse of the USSR, Clinton intervened and then abandoned, the following 20 years of leaving them alone didn't help the situation.
    But the question is, would "not leaving them alone", and to what extent, have really changed the long-term outlook?

    On Somalia, most of the progress seems to have come from multi-lateral action by regional powers through the African Union. This is probably more sustainable than a long-term Western military mission.

    Libya is a much larger country than Afghanistan, with a much smaller population and much lower density, with higher volume of trans-national, -regional, and -continental transit due to its location between the Mediterranean and the sahel. Hypothetically one could limit externalities from its fragmentation by securing just the coastline. But occupying the country and enforcing peace would surely be and would have been even more difficult and costly than in Afghanistan. Our presence would merely give warring factions one more enemy to turn their arms against; it couldn't assure peace or stable governance.

    Yes, terrorist have safe havens, why should we encourage more? Of course the Taliban would only tolerate their terrorists, how is that more tolerable? So that they can make them better trained and more dangerous as Iran has with it's associates in Palestine and Lebanon?
    The question isn't whether this is a good option but whether it is a less-bad option. Would it produce less terrorist activity in the region or the world than other courses of action, is a primary concern. And there is a strong case to be made that US intervention in Afghanistan has not impeded international Islamist terrorism, even as it has badly damaged the stability of Pakistan and some of the smaller Central Asian countries.

    What exactly is the case that the past decade of the Afghanistan mission has improved world safety or reduced Islamist militancy? What if the consequences of our actions end up contradicting our goals and priorities? We would have to try another tack.

    In 2001 the Al-Qaeda organization was more centralized, more fragile, and smaller overall than it is today, and the militant landscape across the world is much more crowded. Muslim popular opinion overwhelmingly perceives US military actions as disproportional and illegitimate. The one area where we appear to have seen definite improvement is in narrowly-tailored counter-terrorist operations and in low-hanging domestic security measures. Is that really the best success we could have expected?

    As for us extracting further limitations, this would only be possible if we have influence in the country. US insistence to the Iraqi government on treating the Sunnis well in Iraq fell on deaf ears once we left and had no 'skin' or money in the game
    But the paradox is that as long as we're in the country we have no real political leverage over the Taliban, being their mortal enemy. A peaceful transition period of several years should give us time to identify leverage and normalize negotiation on a broad range of issues.

    Some call the Obama administration's decision to back incumbent al-Maliki in the 2010 election result, even after al-Maliki appeared to be strongmanning his way over the internationally-monitored election results, as one more harmful to our efforts than any timetable or change in troop levels. To some, it's Obama's biggest mistake in Middle East policy. What is your opinion on that?
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  16. #16
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    I assumed they would achieve it by force, sadly. Just like last time. At various times since 2001 I think people have suggested partitioning Afghanistan along ethnic lines, or along lines according to what areas are most amenable to coalition policing and government rule (i.e. in practice abandoning outright the least valuable and most violent territories). What is your opinion on these proposals, both in their past context and in terms of a durable international mission for the future?
    The ANA might fall quickly just like the previous Afghan did after the USSR funding stopped in 1992 but there would then be years of very bitter bloody fighting. Those arsenals that are currently in use by the ANA would be spread out amongst warlords. The CIS nations to the north would probably support another Northern Alliance to prevent the spread of Taliban groups undermining their fragile countries.
    Iran would keep supporting it's factions in Herat due to its historical Persian ties as well as keep funding the Hazara in Bamyan so that the Shia cause remains alive. The Taliban would essentially be able to rule Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand, Ghazi, and Kabul, pretty much the South and East of the country.

    Splitting it along ethnic lines would be useful but once done would result in Balkanesque genocides and infighting. It could have been doable in 2001, we had the good will of the world, Pakistan was worried we'd invade them too for their support of the Taliban and Al Queda in the frontier provinces, heck even Iran was actively working with us until we invaded Iraq.
    These Bush era errors together with the infusion of too much cash with too little oversight is how we've gotten the corrupt Afghan government of today.

    I do predict that the Taliban would split into infighting if they'd seized power. They lack a charismatic leader like Mullah Omar and survive on their 'brand name.'

    Their governance right now is not popular, sort of like it was in ISIS Mosul. They appreciate the quasi security they have but that's because the people who were blowing up market places are trying to rule. Instead of fear of for collaborating with the government they've replaced it with fear of the government.
    Afghans will pay their taxes to the Taliban shadow governors so they don't get dragged off and killed in the night. Ignoring the current Afghan government results in no such problem. Their 'courts' offer fast if bloody justice. They haven't actually had to really rule though, the electricity, roads, IT systems, and schools are still funded by the actual government.
    Much like our current Republicans have found out, ruling isn't as easy as opposition. A Taliban government would probably be more corrupt and inefficient, just brutally repressive giving the illusion of peace.

    But the paradox is that as long as we're in the country we have no real political leverage over the Taliban, being their mortal enemy. A peaceful transition period of several years should give us time to identify leverage and normalize negotiation on a broad range of issues.

    Some call the Obama administration's decision to back incumbent al-Maliki in the 2010 election result, even after al-Maliki appeared to be strong manning his way over the internationally-monitored election results, as one more harmful to our efforts than any timetable or change in troop levels. To some, it's Obama's biggest mistake in Middle East policy. What is your opinion on that?
    Obama's support of al-Maliki was a mistake but I still think the the half-hearted negotiations on a status of forces agreement was the worse mistake. An air base in Balad and just enough ground troops to support it would have allowed the US true leverage in the country. Having us police it for them was a mistake among many, but if the power of US helicopters and CAS aircraft was there to help out the Iraqi Army in Mosul then it's likely they wouldn't have given up as they had.

    We have no leverage because the Taliban believe they can just wait out our fickle governments. If there is a guarantee of support, even in token form on the ground but definitely in the air then the current government will survive. One of the major personal tragedies for me was seeing the intel reports on the Afghan police unit I advised selling their ammo and fuel to the Taliban two months after we pulled out advisers in the area. My counterpart often told me they don't want to stop the smugglers because they'd just be killed by the Taliban once we left if they did, seeing that attitude put into practice was certainly eye opening.

    I'm sure a lot has changed in the past 20+ years, but what strategically has changed that will affect how militant groups from the Taliban down prosecute their campaigns in the absence of outside powers? I mean, besides everyone being better armed and more experienced in fighting. And how could we account for these factors toward a successful transition out of the country? For the sake of answering the question, take for granted that we will eventually pull out on some kind of transitional deal without having stabilized the central government (whether or not you personally credit that).
    The only major change is how these militants communicate, train, and finance themselves. It only takes a few bombs and a few night-time kidnappings to destroy the illusion of security. The Taliban wouldn't be able to stop an insurgency much better than the current government short of mass murder. It's too easy for a rebel with no uniform to attack a uniformed checkpoint.

    Libya is a much larger country than Afghanistan, with a much smaller population and much lower density, with higher volume of trans-national, -regional, and -continental transit due to its location between the Mediterranean and the sahel. Hypothetically one could limit externalities from its fragmentation by securing just the coastline. But occupying the country and enforcing peace would surely be and would have been even more difficult and costly than in Afghanistan. Our presence would merely give warring factions one more enemy to turn their arms against; it couldn't assure peace or stable governance.
    Libya would probably have been the easiest country to enforce a peace in. A small coastal population with limited agriculture around a few major cities. It's East and West neighbors are are modern and relatively stable.
    The warring factions only became warring factions because the collapse of Qaddafi allowed the massive influx of weapons from sub-sahara. Qaddafi had a relatively small army with limited depots to secure.
    Splitting Libya into Tripolitania and Cyrenaica would have allowed the development of smaller more effective governments which together with its oil wealth would have given a peace dividend much quicker.

    Ignoring Libya allowed the warlords to from and arm, allowed the normalization of terrorism and violence, and currently allows the smuggling of weapons, drugs, refugees, and slaves throughout the Med. I know Europe didn't want to get into another colonial war in Africa but I think the French action in Mali has demonstrated that limited military actions together with the African Union support and and enduring support the government can push back terrorism and allow for peace, but only if such action is taken quickly enough before the normalization of violence allows for the whole social fabric to be destroyed. Such an action could have and should have been undertaken in Libya but for the cowardice and lack of vision of our elected leaders (Sarkozy, Cameron, and Obama) that brought us into that war with even less of a plan for afterward than Bush had for Iraq.

    The question isn't whether this is a good option but whether it is a less-bad option. Would it produce less terrorist activity in the region or the world than other courses of action, is a primary concern. And there is a strong case to be made that US intervention in Afghanistan has not impeded international Islamist terrorism, even as it has badly damaged the stability of Pakistan and some of the smaller Central Asian countries.
    I still stand by my opinion that abandoning Afghanistan is the worse option. The de-stabilization of Pakistan is their own fault, without their support the Taliban would never have been able to regroup, they harbored the devil and he turned on them. I regret that the US didn't persue the Taliban and Al Queda into the Pakistan regions in which their own government had not control.

    The increase of Terrorism throughout the world I'd say is due more to the US invasion of Iraq together with the rise of the internet. Expertise and networking for Terrorism is too easy to spread nowadays. It takes little to no effort on the internet on how to make bombs.
    I firmly believe that leaving Afghanistan would only hasten the spread of terrorism in the region and quicken the destabilization of the CIS nations and Pakistan. After a 'win' these Islamic warriors aren't going to turn in the weapons and farm but look for their next victory.

    How many millions died in China and it's neighboring countries following the victory of the Maoists over the Nationalists. Perhaps like China the Taliban could stabilize and modernize but at what cost? It took Deng Xiaoping's reforms to essentially turn China from a Maoist country into more or less what the Nationalist were trying to be. It took 50 years and tens of millions of deaths to achieve prosperity.
    It will probably take Afghanistan decades to recover just as it took China but I think they'd be better off without having to have Taliban versions of the "Great Leap Forward" and "Cultural Revolutions" to ensure ideological compliance.

    Only a fortune teller could really say which future is better for the Afghans and the region's quicker recovery but I've seen no good arguments for the Taliban to create that future aside from the ability to create security through medieval brutality.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Our best (only?) hope in all of this may be husbanding the seed of a small new Afghani intelligentsia, one that can use their knowledge for good and doesn't resent us too much. And the hope that every small interaction between locals and the coalition may help eventually shift the momentum from violence to its rejection.

    Thank you for your perspective. Good luck on your next tour. I hope the situation doesn't get worse.
    Vitiate Man.

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  18. #18

    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    The solution is obvious.
    Make it a state; buy the crop outright; distribute the opium/derivatives to safe injection sites, medical uses, and maintenance programs
    You will simply get tired of winning so much! (as one American sage has said)
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  19. #19
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    This wasn't a "strategy", it is doing something more than nothing. Just enough to keep the things ticking over.

    The mistake was going in to the place all those years ago. And who knew that going into Afghanistan was a problem? Apart from every other empire that went in there exchanged a vast amount of money for... very little.

    If Trump were any sort of business man, when considering investment one does not worry about what has already been spent, just the cost and benefits of choices.

    Yes, the military hates loosing - the Marines more than most. But that is why they are not in charge of themselves.

    Destroying terrorist organisations and insurgencies rarely works (the USSR managed to do so in Latvia / Estonia) and in a country the size of Afghanistan with borders and clans as porous as they are? Without every bordering country pressing in with serious resources there's no point even bothering.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Wooooo!!!

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  21. #21
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Interesting video. That was of course never going to work.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Wooooo!!!

  23. #23
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Criticizing Pakistan, with no strategy to change their behavior, won't achieve anything.

    The Taliban will indeed take over - or someone like them - and we will have to deal with it anyway. Best-case, we can reach an accommodation as follows, to put our relations at around Iran-tier, optimistically:

    1. We will pull out in 1 year (or whatever short period).
    2. We will cease hostilities so long as we and our protected populations are not attacked under agreed terms. (Maybe we can agree that IS Khorasan et al. are free game for all parties)
    3. All Afghans collaborating as civilian or military personnel will be evaluated for asylum in America, as well as their close family. Any other individuals seeking asylum will be considered as well, but at a lower priority.
    4. dot dot dot

    The idea is to protect the people we have promised to protect (having put their lives on the line for the coalition effort), minimize bloodshed in the interim, and incentivize peaceful power transfers after the coalition leaves. If this puts the Taliban at a majority stake in government throughout the country , so be it. We can't afford to antagonize them over this inevitability. We will need a minimum level of diplomatic relations, as if we can't even have that then our failure is absolute. The best case is that, over time, we may encourage through external and internal change the moderation of the Taliban regime and the opening of Afghanistan.

    Encourage Chinese buy-in to protect their resource extraction interests, and perhaps eventually the Taliban will come running to Western corporations to counterbalance Chinese domination.

    Yes, that's optimistic. Better than we can hope for on the current course. No more indefinite investment.
    Is it just me, or does this sound lot like exiting Vietnam?
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagemusha View Post
    Is it just me, or does this sound lot like exiting Vietnam?
    At least we evacuated our supporters when we left and - ffs.

    But yes, it's similar. The most obvious parallel is to American drawdown and increased delegation to local government forces alongside constant enemy gains in territory.

    IIRC Nixon infamously entered office prepared to intensify and prolong the war such that the ultimate outcome to the Paris peace talks would be negotiated from a position of American strength (they would not be). On the other hand, I doubt the leadership, military or civilian, has any particular strategic goals or exit conditions for Afghanistan. A few thousand men, politically speaking, could be maintained there indefinitely unless the entire national orientation with respect to Middle East, and probably global, policy is radically transformed.
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  25. #25
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Futility, if the West does succeeds, what did we do then

  26. #26
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    At least we evacuated our supporters when we left and - ffs.

    But yes, it's similar. The most obvious parallel is to American drawdown and increased delegation to local government forces alongside constant enemy gains in territory.

    IIRC Nixon infamously entered office prepared to intensify and prolong the war such that the ultimate outcome to the Paris peace talks would be negotiated from a position of American strength (they would not be). On the other hand, I doubt the leadership, military or civilian, has any particular strategic goals or exit conditions for Afghanistan. A few thousand men, politically speaking, could be maintained there indefinitely unless the entire national orientation with respect to Middle East, and probably global, policy is radically transformed.

    Sadly, while we withdrew with many who had supported US efforts in Vietnam and were therefore targeted, many others remained to await their fates.


    And, whether you deem it 'infamous' or not, Nixon's strategy of ramping up the war to put pressure on the NK so as to get a better exit deal was a strategy with quite a lot of support in government and the general population.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Sadly, while we withdrew with many who had supported US efforts in Vietnam and were therefore targeted, many others remained to await their fates.
    It's hard to envision even something like this today (though noting I'm not sure how many Vietnamese refugees there were overall during the war or between 1975-9):

    The Orderly Departure Program (ODP) was a program to permit immigration of Vietnamese to the United States and to other countries. It was created in 1979 under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The objective of the ODP was to provide a mechanism for Vietnamese to leave their homeland safely and in an orderly manner to be resettled abroad. Prior to the ODP, tens of thousands of "boat people" were fleeing Vietnam monthly by boat and turning up on the shores of neighboring countries. Under the ODP, from 1980 until 1997, 623,509 Vietnamese were resettled abroad of whom 458,367 went to the United States.
    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh
    And, whether you deem it 'infamous' or not, Nixon's strategy of ramping up the war to put pressure on the NK so as to get a better exit deal was a strategy with quite a lot of support in government and the general population.
    Hubris is the applicable term for good reason. At least the French people (AFAIK) overwhelmingly rejected the war by the time of the French analogue 'sprint to the finish' in 1953-4.
    Vitiate Man.

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  28. #28
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Member Furunculus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    i have some sympathy for trump here.

    i am at heart a westphalian: where the compact of nations deems a state's territory and internal affairs to be inviolable, except whereby complicity or incompetence one permits attack upon other states from your own territory.

    afghanistan is a failed state, which through a combination of both complicity and incompetence it allowed attacks on another state.
    there are two options here:
    1. intervene - to help build a real state capable of upholding its westphalian obligations to its neighbours. we have done this with some vigour, and at great cost in blood and treasure!
    2. contain - after assessment that no escape from failed state tatus is possible, simple wall the place in and use stand-off munitions and special forces to smash anything that looks like a tall poppy.

    the US has china to contend with and limited resources with which to do so, so I won't blame them if they decide that option 2 looks like the cheaper one for what is a sideshow and distraction from 'important' matters.
    Last edited by Furunculus; 12-22-2018 at 10:43.
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  29. #29
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Quote Originally Posted by Furunculus View Post
    i have some sympathy for trump here.

    i am at heart a westphalian: where the compact of nations deems a state's territory and internal affairs to be inviolable, except whereby complicity or incompetence one permits attack upon other states from your own territory.

    afghanistan is a failed state, which through a combination of both complicity and incompetence it allowed attacks on another state.
    there are two options here:
    1. intervene - to help build a real state capable of upholding its westphalian obligations to its neighbours. we have done this with some vigour, and at great cost in blood and treasure!
    2. contain - after assessment that no escape from failed state is possible, simple wall the place in and use stand off munitions and special forces to smash anything that looks like a tall poppy.

    the US has china to contend with and limited resources with which to do so, so I won't blame them if they decide that option 2 looks like the cheaper one for what is a sideshow and distraction from 'important' matters.
    Im confused.Isnt Westphalia state in Germany?
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    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trump strategy in Afghanistan

    Staying in Afghanistan is not to rebuild Afghanistan but to make sure we have troops that can rapidly deploy into Pakistan.

    What a short sighted decision, forget about China we need to start getting on India's good side and have the second most dangerous state in the world contained.
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