“Trump must have the courage to cut America’s losses now and focus on empowering individual tribes in limited counterterrorism efforts (counterterrorism being the original reason why the United States invaded Afghanistan to begin with). The fight is against al Qaeda and other terrorists. America’s war is not about trying to nation-build in Afghanistan.”
“In effect, the real “Axis of Evil” was none other than Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran. And, it’s not even really an axis. One must also include Turkey, which has done everything in its power to become a rival to the United States and a friend to both Sunni extremists as well as Iran.”
“This is the endless treadmill that the civilised world is on: Libyans (and others like them) disturb the peace of the world. In turn, the West tries to kill those who would impose their will on others (because the others include us).
It is a recurrent police action and no more than that is needed; it is pointless to stay around to do some nation-building – the mistake of Afghanistan.”
“The Americans and British judiciously used time, geography, and force to their extreme advantage during World War II. In Afghanistan, however, the United States never took the time to analyze the situation from a strategic view. Rather than recognizing how America’s partners, such as Pakistan, could have fully assisted the war effort (had we simply made a deal with the Taliban, Pakistan’s client in Afghanistan) and remained tightly focused on al Qaeda, who knows how differently our history would have turned out?”
“Unless American leaders begin accepting limits on what pure military force can achieve (without becoming doves), and more fundamentally, inherent limitations on their power to conduct war, then a sound strategy will never be crafted in war. Rather, we will continue to “do stuff.” Action will be conflated with accomplishment. And, threats will never be mitigated. Instead, they will simply multiply–even as we increase our expenditures and commitments to the conflict.”
“For the United States, it needs to not only temper its expectations (and therefore slow down the tempo of its intervention in the region generally, but specifically in Syria), and start focusing on larger geopolitical concerns. Obviously, the United States cannot (and should not) simply abandon the region, as many on the Far Right insist. But, we must be willing to give greater levels of support–and responsibility–to our local allies. That is our only hope for not breaking the American military in the quicksand of Mideast politics (which we presently are in danger of doing).”
“Clearly, the fight against ISIS has shifted away from the Mideast. President Trump’s forthcoming National Security Strategy memo rightly focuses on boosting homeland security. But the president’s national security team should also intensify its support of Asian governments where Islamic extremism is on the rise. Further, the United States should expand its special forces activities in Africa and Asia, in an effort to neutralize the Islamic State’s threat before it becomes a real problem, as it did in northern Iraq and Syria in 2014.”
“If Macron wants France to take a more active role in the region, we should encourage him. After all, misery loves company. We’ve already got the Russians joining us in this miserable party, let’s get the ultimate party-goers–the French–to bring their resources to the table as well!”
“Russia is not our friend (and we need to always be on guard when dealing with them, and interact with them from a position of strength). However, Russia is not our enemy…unless we make them our enemy. The Russians have indicated with this recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel that they are looking for a more amicable, stable solution to the cauldron of chaos that is the Mideast. Now is the time for President Trump to buck the idiotic orthodoxy of the Washington establishment and go to Moscow to make the deal of the century.”
Brandon J. Weichert spoke with the ERA Institute’s Erik Khzmalyan on his “Eurasia Unveiled” podcast discussing the War in Afghanistan.