Retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor is one of the lone (but well-respected and honorable and knowledgeable) voices publicly casting doubts about our present course in Afghanistan. For those interested in alternative ideas to prolonged counterinsurgency, I suggest taking a look at Col. Macgregor’s recent paper, “Refusing Battle: The Strategic Alternative to Persistent Warfare.”
Discussing our current national security environment, he offers this key insight:
In this volatile setting, direct American military involvement in conflicts where the United States itself is not attacked and its national prosperity is not at risk should be avoided. Otherwise, American military involvement could cause 21st Century conflicts to spin out of control and confront Americans with regional alliances designed to contain American military power;14 alliances that but for American military intervention would not exist.15 It is vital the United States not repeat the mistakes of the British Empire in 1914: over-estimate its national power by involving itself in a self defeating regional war it does not need to fight and precipitate its own economic and military decline.