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COIN was always a bogus concept. It was never about helping a "host nation" fight an insurgency, as in FM 3-24, it was about overthrowing a government and defending a puppet government, which has always failed as in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
And then came Syria, aiding a real insurgency. What do you call that? Doesn't matter, it's failing too, just as CT is. Why? These are political problems not amenable to military force.
1 month ago on Access denied | The AfPak Channel
""The 60 Minutes piece detailed the people on the ground saw this attack coming. Has anybody been fired for letting the consulate become a death trap?" asked Senator Lindsey Graham."
It may have been a "death trap" but it was definitely not a "consulate." It was a CIA operation involved in transferring arms to Syria via Turkey, which is why the US ambassador was there. Graham knows this, of course, but does truth matter?
It's ironic, because Stevens' previous job in Benghazi was to incite Islamists against Gaddafi, and then on a return visit he gets killed by the same people. But as Zbigniew Brzezinski once said about another place: "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"
1 month, 1 week ago on Access denied | The Cable
You had a different view in February:
"In The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007) John Mearsheimer and I wrote: The bottom line is that AIPAC, which bills itself as ‘America's Pro-Israel lobby' has an almost unchallenged hold on Congress ... Open debate about U.S. policy toward Israel does not occur there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world. (p. 162)"
1 month, 1 week ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt
I guess Iran was inspired by a piece Michael Weiss wrote about a year ago.
"The rebels are winning. "
Nope. Go Persians!
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Access denied | Foreign Policy
@anjan288 Exactly correct. It was all for profit.
"War is a racket. . .the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." -- MajGen Smedley D. Butler, USMC, double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, 1939
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt
Excellent -- thank you. Truth is so beautiful.
"Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake;" --Henry David Thoreau, Walden
@TerryBrennan COIN was a phony mental diversion which has been thoroughly discredited and few even refer to any more, except to say it'll never be done again.
COIN was never done in Iraq or Afghanistan, either. Counterinsurgency is those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency, which is an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government.
COIN doesn't apply to the recent situations which involved the US overthrowing a government, installing a puppet government and then defending it against the former ruling caste. The French Freedom Fighters in the 1940's weren't insurgents either.
In order to have COIN the US would be helping an existing government defeat insurgents. The primary objective of any COIN operation is to foster development of effective governance by a legitimate government -- FM 3-24. The US has never promoted the government of Afghanistan. Instead it has undermined the government with its night raids and air attacks, which President Karzai has consistently complained of, fruitlessly.
So of course COIN didn't work, which is why Petraeus went to targeted killing after McChrystal got bounced. Petraues was a charlatan, who thankfully has been totally discredited.
The US is still in Afghanistan for the same reason you gave for the surge -- political considerations of Obama. There is no other reason. Get one's legs and testicles blown off for Obama? Sounds like a good deal to me. /s
Meanwhile the Taliban have gained control over most of the countryside, while the local governments control the cities. (The national government is a joke.) Normal travel (with out air and ground escort) on the highways, including the main highway one, has never been possible and it isn't possible now. Remote outposts have to be resupplied by air with helicopters flying at night, because daylight trips are too dangerous.
(You won't read this in the Washington Post, of course.)
NATO still has almost a hundred thousand troops in Afghanistan, and many private security people. As they withdraw, the Taliban influence will increase as it already is. And the US? "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East."
Obama's decision to surge in 2009 could be called treasonous because in this mistaken AfPak adventure the US has been stupidly allied with and funding the neighboring country (Pakistan) which is supporting the people (Taliban) who are killing Americans.
General McChrystal's Report, Aug 30, 2009: 'Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. . .and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI [Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence ]. . . .Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India."
Nevertheless, President Obama, three months later, December 1, 2009 at West Point: . . ."Third, we will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan."
"The corrupt Karzai government" -- You mean the US isn't corrupt? Au contraire, professor.
There is widespread corruption in the public sector, with the two main actors -- government and corporations -- colluding with each other to screw the easy marks, the citizens. They've got money? Take it and give it to the corporations (corporate welfare). They've got freedom? Take it, and give it to the government to do whatever it wants. How widespread is corruption?
Sep 18, 2013 -- U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Testifies at the Public Hearing of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption
"Fighting public corruption has been a top priority for my office for a long while. . .The diversity of the officials caught up in our probes reflects not only the level of our commitment but also the depth of the problem in our state. Public corruption, based on all the evidence, appears rampant. And the ranks of those convicted in office have swelled to absolutely unacceptable levels.
"We have had to prosecute State Senators as well as State Assemblymen; elected officials as well as party leaders; city council members as well as town mayors; Democrats as well as Republicans. In an age often decried for increasingly bitter partisanship, we can say that public corruption in New York is truly a bipartisan affair."
Of course corruption is not confined to New York, it's everywhere, which is why they want to distract us with "the Iran nuclear crisis" and other such mind candy.
@BearKlein And why would an imagined nuclear Iran be more dangerous than a nuclear Israel which is? The Arabs, according to several polls, fear Israel not Iran, for obvious reasons.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Access denied | The Cable
The US-fomented sanctions on Iran have had two principal effects:
1. They have accelerated and deepened (literally) Iran's nuclear program.
2. They have hurt not only Iran's economy but also that of Europe, once Iran's principal non-petroleum trading partner. They have put many Europeans out of work.
2 months ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt
How about: To obey the law? The UN Charter is law in the states that have ratified it.
To maintain international peace and security,
# All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
# All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Or do we say the law doesn't matter? That the people who worked hard almost seventy years ago to form the United Nations and write its charter were fools wasting their time?
I don't understand why the law is not a consideration. Basing a decision on logic, instead of law, depends upon whose logic it is. The purpose of law is to remove that biased human element, to remove the "reasoning," and the discussions with Teddy, and set a standard which everyone understands and follows.
But Professor Walt doesn't care about international standards or the law. That's disappointing.
3 months ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt
What these dummies don't know, and haven't even asked about apparently, is the "range of options" available to Syria. Little things like ballistic and cruise missiles impacting US warships and Israel cities.
3 months, 1 week ago on Access denied | The Cable
"Both governments present evidence that the Syrian regime launched chemical weapons on rebel-held neighborhoods"
But there is no mention of evidence of a government attack in your post, it's just like Kerry: "We know. . ."
3 months, 1 week ago on Access denied | FP Passport
"It was both smart and necessary to go after al Qaeda in Afghanistan"
Even after twelve years of abject failure some are defending the Afghan War!
The war was never about al-Qaeda. George Bush said years ago that OBL meant nothing, and in fact there has never been proof of his connection to 9/11, which is why he was assassinated (supposedly -- the story goes).
So OBL is gone, General Dunford has said that AQ in Afghanistan is down to 50-75, and still the US has 68,000 troops there, and wants to stay longer. How much proof do you need?
So, enough of the "massive command failure" at Tora Bora. Bunch of baloney. The US is in Afghanistan because that country is the keystone to Central Asia -- home of natural resources and potential profits.
I can't believe that they teach such pap at Harvard. Oh well.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Access denied | Stephen M. Walt
Mohammed Ayoob at al Jazeera
Israel-Palestine negotiations: The road to nowhere Settlements are rendering a two-state solution an impossibility and upcoming negotiations are little more than a sham.
Why is it then that US Secretary of State John Kerry is so eager to push both parties into another set of negotiations that are highly likely to be not only unproductive but counterproductive, by fuelling Palestinian anger by their failure and thus bringing us a step closer to the inevitable third intifada?
The answer is simple. The United States needs Israel and the Palestinian Authority to start negotiations for the sake of negotiations well before the UN General Assembly convenes in September so that it can be spared another major embarrassment on the issue of Palestinian statehood when the General Assembly convenes. If Kerry can demonstrate that an American-sponsored peace process is underway he can forestall criticism both of Israel and of the United States in the General Assembly for lack of progress toward Palestinian statehood.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Access denied | The Cable
Sanctions have had the reverse effect of that intended. Sanctions have not influenced Iran nuclear policy in favor of the West, in fact they have done the opposite. Iran has abandoned the Additional Protocol and the Brazil-Turkey 20% enrichment deal because of sanctions. Iran has also expanded, protected and modernized its uranium enrichment facilities. In recent testimony, DNI Clapper said: “Iran is growing more autocratic at home and more assertive abroad."
Sanctions affect many parties, not just Iran, as I have commented elsewhere. Sanctions cut two (at least) ways, affecting buyers and sellers. And the illegal US economic sanctions on Iran have had a large effect on the European companies that had Iran as an important buyer.
recent news reports:
PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG), Europe’s second-biggest carmaker, reported a 9.8 percent drop in first-half vehicle sales because of slumping demand in its home region and the end of component-kit deliveries to Iran.
French giant carmaker Renault says its profits have plunged after US-engineered sanctions against Tehran led to a halt in its activities in Iran. The auto group said the stoppage resulted in a loss of 249 million euros from a profit of 519 million euros last year.
And some sanctions are farcical. Example: The US has imposed sanctions on Niksima Food and Beverage JLT, a frozen yogurt company based in the United Arab Emirates, saying the company has been engaged in a transaction for the purchase of petrochemical products from Iran.
@threadbarebridge So the War On Terror is actually a War Of Terror, and we are the victims (as we were designed to be).
And people like Professor Walt take it seriously to be as the government spins it.
Cheeeez. Come on, Professor. Wake up and smell the coffee.
These jihadists don't recruit themselves, they are mostly recruited by the states of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and the Unites States also by the way. And when the terrorist don't actually exist, the US makes them up. The War on Terror couldn't exist without the al-Qaeda bogeyman, descendants of the crews the US and Pakistan recruited thirty years ago. The US has been supporting the terrorists for several years in Syria. That's what got Ambassador Stevens and his CIA mercs killed -- shipping arms from Benghazi to Turkey, bound for Syria.
How about that Afghan thing? General Dunford: There are 50-75 al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Also 68,000 US troops. Stupid.
"If we really want to bring the "war on terror" to an end"
"We" don't, obviously. It pays too well. Plus it's hopeless to conduct a war on a crime. Kind of like the War on Drugs -- thirty years a failure. It too pays very well.