Blogging live from New Delhi, India. Ergo, reading The Times of India, which published an interesting piece from Brahama Chellaney on Obama’s Afghan strategy called “Surge, Bribe, and Run.”
The writer, with candor we don’t often see in the U.S. press, states pretty clearly aim of the Afghan surge strategy–that it’s “designed…not to militarily rout the Afghan Taliban but to strike a political deal with the enemy from a position of strength. Without a deal with Taliban commanders, the US cannot execute the ‘run’ part.”
Ie, we’re fighting and dying not for victory, not even to kill terrorists, but to help Hamid Karzai consoldiate his power so he can cut a deal with our temporary enemies. These enemies, so the wishful thinking goes, will then reject extremism and start to help us in our fight against Al Qaeda.
Chellaney also weighs in on what the long term prospects of success for this strategy. I’m quoting at length.
Obama’s Afghan strategy should be viewed as a short-sighted strategy intent on repeating the very mistakes of American policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan over the past three decades that have come to haunt US security and that of the rest of the free world. Washington is showing it has learnt no lesson from its past policies that gave rise to Frankenstein’s monsters like Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar and to “the state within the Pakistani state”, the ISI, made powerful during Ronald Reagan’s presidency as a conduit of covert US aid for anti-Soviet Afghan guerrillas.
To justify the planned Faustian bargain with the Taliban, the Obama team is drawing a specious distinction between al-Qaeda and the Taliban and illusorily seeking to differentiate between “moderate” Taliban (the ‘good’ terrorists) and those that rebuff deal-making (the ‘bad’ terrorists). The scourge of transnational terrorism cannot be stemmed if such specious distinctions are drawn and the security interests of the world’s most populous democracy, which confronts a tyranny of geography, are ignored. India, on the frontline of the global fight against transnational terrorism, will bear the brunt of the blowback of Obama’s Af-Pak strategy, just as it came under terrorist siege as a consequence of the Reagan-era US policies in that belt.
The Taliban, al-Qaeda and groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba are a difficult-to-separate mix of soulmates who together constitute the global jihad syndicate. To cut a deal with any constituent of this syndicate will only bring more international terrorism. A stable Afghanistan cannot emerge without dismantling the Pakistani military’s sanctuaries and sustenance infrastructure for the Afghan Taliban. Instead of seeking to achieve that, the US is actually partnering the Pakistani military to win over the Taliban.