Comments on: Afghanistan: Petraeus, personalities and policy Perspectives on Pakistan Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:31:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: Mortal1 Thu, 17 Feb 2011 01:10:36 +0000 @”If Obama really wants to please his base, the voters and the rest of the civilized world, he will do the right and intelligent thing and get out of there. If not, he really is toast in 2012; the people who voted for him want out of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The opposition won’t vote for him no matter what he does.” Posted by nocounty

If Obama loses his re-election, it won’t be due to US presence in Af-Pak but if there’s a successful terrorist attack in the US on his watch, he almost certainly will lose. If Obama does not get re-elected, it will primarily be due to the economy & fortunately for him, the economy has been showing signs of revival & expansion over the last couple of quarters. IMO, the key statistic to watch here, is the rate of unemployment. By summer/fall 2012, if unemployment is still hovering around where it curently is (9% +), he’ll lose but if it’s below 8%, he’ll win. Looking at the trajectory of the economy, I believe it will be the latter. Of course, there’s a lot of time left between now & election day and many other variables will factor in but it’s very very pre-mature to write off Obama at this time.

By: KPSingh01 Wed, 16 Feb 2011 20:53:18 +0000 nocountry: “If Obama really wants to please his base, the voters and the rest of the civilized world, he will do the right and intelligent thing and get out of there. If not, he really is toast in 2012; the people who voted for him want out of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The opposition won’t vote for him no matter what he does. He is perceived as weak because he is.”

Obama is toast already. He will not make it in 2012. Though he has tried to do the right thing, he came to power at the wrong time. If he had been President in 2001 instead of the idiot, he would have gone after the real culprits behind the whole thing. Iraq diversion would not have happened. The entire focus would have been on Afghanistan and to a larger extent on Pakistan. Bush administration dropped a lot of bombs in Afghanistan and lot of cash in Pakistan and dusted its hands off the whole thing. By the time Obama came on board, the rot had set in well. Now it is too difficult to stem the tide no matter how much he can try. Things have gained momentum.

Getting out now has dire consequences for your country (based on your words I get the feeling you are an American citizen).

The people in the Af-Pak region are different. They deal with only two things in this world – enemies and conflicts. There is no such thing as peace, negotiations and co-existing with others. They have lived at the cross roads where empires have clashed many times over. Their history is filled with wars, conquests and survival through those difficult times. To them, inviting them to a negotiating table and signing a peace treaty is tantamount to accepting defeat. They are not kind towards defeated people. They are on the other hand very kind to those who surrender to them.

If the US gets out of the place because of domestic issues, then that will become the future war strategy for groups like Al Qaeda – economic strain is another weapon that they can use. When economy hurts, the enemy is weak and more damage can be done. This is the mindset of an enemy who has been at the receiving end since 2002. From their stand point, they have nothing to lose. American presence in Af-Pak has worked to their advantage. That was their aim – draw the enemy closer to familiar ground and drag things to cause frustration to them. And that frustration would be directed at innocent civilians who now would begin to get alienated. Look at the love they have for Americans in Pakistan. If the US gets out of here with a half baked solution, these elements will be encouraged to go after the US and its allies. Remember that they claim that time is on their hands. They conduct a war of psychology where transitions happen over a generation or two. It is a slow poisoning of the enemy that helps win in the long run. They will be very happy to see America lose its support in Egypt and other Arab countries which have had dictators who have been staunch American allies. For them this is a Jihad that will span over a long time.

Getting out of Af-Pak now will lead to more attacks on the home front for Americans as well as abroad, wherever Americans are. You have no idea how much they hate America. If America signs out of Af-Pak now, they will be signing out their ultimate decline. And it won’t change anything on the domestic economy front. The problem that US faces today is a culmination of short sighted and greedy policies of the political-business nexus that shipped off jobs abroad to make hefty profits. And a generation of Americans have grown up in comfort and complete ignorance of the outside world. They love the quality of life they are getting, but have lost the realization that it takes hard work to sustain it.

Obama or not, the US will not get out of its troubled waters on the economy front for a long time to come. It will need to accept its position in the new world order as a secondary power and reduce its efforts to control the world affairs.

By: nocounty Wed, 16 Feb 2011 17:24:19 +0000 It costs approx. 1 million per soldier in Afghanistan. We are too broke to repair our infrastructure, build new infrastructure, properly fund health care for all Americans (as Canada does), give all our children a good education K-12 and on and on. But, we have all the money in the world for the DOD to stumble around in AfPak where we are mostly unwanted and where we have had no real influence (e.g. drugs) or impact. Although Pakistan is a huge pile-up on an interstate, the bloated DOD, ambitious generals, shady contractors and congressional “hawks” just love fighting there. If Obama really wants to please his base, the voters and the rest of the civilized world, he will do the right and intelligent thing and get out of there. If not, he really is toast in 2012; the people who voted for him want out of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The opposition won’t vote for him no matter what he does. He is perceived as weak because he is.

By: KPSingh01 Wed, 16 Feb 2011 14:50:53 +0000 Settlement in Afghanistan with a rag tag bunch of tribals will be like settlement in Kashmir. Pakistan will never allow any settlement that does not suit its interests. Any time the two parties seem to near a settlement, Pakistan will rattle it and derail it. We have seen this trend for the past 60 years in the context of Kashmir. The same thing will happen here. Pakistan will deceive the US and will prevent it from taking stern actions against it. Its rapid build up of nukes could be to get a bargaining chip in case it feels cornered. This whole Afghan war has dragged on due to Pakistan’s wily tactics that has exploited the ignorance of the Americans to the hilt. While the US thinks it is controlling Pakistan, in reality it is the other way around. It will use the paranoia of a nuclear armed nation spinning out of control into the hands of radicals as a means to keep the US at bay. In reality, its military is fully in tact and healthy. The nation might appear to be in turmoil, but the military seems to be doing just fine. If Pakistani citizens suffer from lack of justice and resources, it is hardly a concern for the military which sees it as an advantage. It has figured out a way to run Pakistan from behind the curtain. It is a lot more effective than direct rule. The US can change as many generals as it wants, nothing will settle until Pakistan is fixed. But that is the headache for the Americans and no one else. They have helped Pakistan become this monster. Let them figure out a way to contain it. Afghanistan is only the symptom. Pakistan is the real sickness. If the US tries a cold medicine to suppress the symptom without addressing the source of the symptom, it is going to be in for a long haul. If they do not get serious about fixing Pakistan, they will never find a solution to the Afghanistan and Al Qaeda menace.

By: DaraIndia Wed, 16 Feb 2011 12:03:12 +0000 The Afghan war has become a bundle of contradictions for the US. As far as I recollect the US went in to get OBL and defeat his AQ network. To achieve that, it had to first rid the county of Taliban rule, which treated OBL as an honoured guest. By smashing the AQ network the US hoped to secure itself against future terror attacks from this part of the world. As events unfolded, it got rid of the Taliban but did not eliminate the AQ or OBL and so the threat remained. It did however corner OBL and the AQ to some extent. Why it did not persevere then but shifted focus away from Afghanistan will remain a mystery and was perhaps their biggest failing.

Like a dog running around in circles chasing its own tail – US operations have come full circle. Fight the Taliban, oust them, let them regroup, negotiate a return of the Taliban with promises of good conduct but also prepare for a spurt in anti American attacks in future.

We come back to the basic questions – what has the US achieved in Afghanistan after 10 years? What did it want to achieve? Petraus, Gates, Holbrooke et al are not the issues. The issue really is the absence of any political aim in the Afghan operation. There has been too much shifting of goal posts.

By: prasadgc Wed, 16 Feb 2011 10:10:19 +0000 It’s amazing that Reuters is maintaining such a conspicuous silence on the Raymond Davis affair and all its implications. A spotlight needs to be turned on the role of security contractors in recent US military strategy, and the interplay between their role and those of diplomats and spies.

The Davis incident is a manifestation of a much larger set of issues, and it’s not easy to sweep them under the carpet. BTW, the Western media has taken a very partisan line on the Davis issue and refuses to budge from the official US position, riddled though it is with ambiguity and contradiction. This article in a Pakistani news outlet ( highlights the hypocrisy of the US position on the diplomatic immunity it is willing to grant foreign consular officials on US soil. And when US officials don’t even confirm the man’s name, one has to wonder.

Can we see something on this from Reuters?

Ganesh Prasad

By: Umairpk Wed, 16 Feb 2011 00:13:50 +0000 Myra

The Afghan war is one big mess, it will continue to be a brutal stalemate between the the world best funded military and the world most ruthless insurgent force, in one of the harshest terrain. Additionally, it has spilled over to Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Personalities are not important, people will come and go. The strategy should be correct. No one must pull the strings, let the Afghans decide themselves how they would like to live and govern their country. We can sure mentor them and shape them in a positive outlook. But ultimately, peace is something until the Afghans themselves do not sought it, no one can sell it to them. New faces, new strategy, new course, everything must change so that this unfortunate war comes to an end and a new chapter can begin.