Sunday, May 10, 2009

"American presence: more the problem than the solution"

Graham E. Fuller was CIA station chief in Kabul. He knows what he is talking about. And he lays out why President Obama's plans for escalating war in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a recipe for more disaster. Some of the more devastating items in his critique:

-- Military force will not win the day in either Afghanistan or Pakistan; crises have only grown worse under the U.S. military footprint.

-- The Taliban represent zealous and largely ignorant mountain Islamists. They are also all ethnic Pashtuns. Most Pashtuns see the Taliban -- like them or not -- as the primary vehicle for restoration of Pashtun power in Afghanistan, lost in 2001. Pashtuns are also among the most fiercely nationalist, tribalized and xenophobic peoples of the world, united only against the foreign invader. In the end, the Taliban are probably more Pashtun than they are Islamist.

-- India is the primary geopolitical threat to Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Pakistan must therefore always maintain Afghanistan as a friendly state. India furthermore is intent upon gaining a serious foothold in Afghanistan -- in the intelligence, economic and political arenas -- that chills Islamabad. Pakistan will therefore never rupture ties or abandon the Pashtuns, in either country, whether radical Islamist or not. Pakistan can never afford to have Pashtuns hostile to Islamabad in control of Kabul, or at home. ...

-- Pakistan is indeed now beginning to crack under the relentless pressure directly exerted by the U.S. Anti-American impulses in Pakistan are at high pitch, strengthening Islamic radicalism and forcing reluctant acquiescence to it even by non-Islamists.

Only the withdrawal of American and NATO boots on the ground will begin to allow the process of near-frantic emotions to subside within Pakistan, and for the region to start to cool down. ... [emphasis added.]

My link for this article (reading the whole thing is totally worth it) is to a TV station in Arizona. Yet I am told that the piece appeared in the print edition of the International Herald Tribune in Europe. IHT has not put it online. I have to wonder, why?

Peace Action West is working to raise awareness of the deepening disaster in Afghanistan. Sign up here for updates. And do support Congressman Jim McDermott's bill asking that the administration explain its exit strategy for its Central Asian war.


libhom said...

The idea in the Pakistan military that India poses a threat to their country when they have nuclear weapons is just plain silly. The government in Pakistan is likely to fall if they buy into such folly.

Religion gets people to do the most idiotic things.

Darlene said...

This is an excellent post, Jan. Santayana was right, those who fail to study the past are doomed to repeat it.

We will emulate Russia and slink away after losing this war. In the interim so much terrible damage will be done.

I watched Fareed Zakaria (sp.?)on CNN as he interviewed the President of Pakistan. The President is obviously not up to the challenges facing his nation and just wants more of our money. It's a quagmire.

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