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Cannoneer No. 4
04-03-2011, 10:38 PM
by John Hinderaker @ Power Line

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/04/028748.php

Who in the American domestic target audience still believes that Afghanistan and Afghans are worth it?

Who is supposed to be strategically communicating to the American voter what we're trying to do there, how well we're doing it, and why?

In 2005 Newsweak invented a story about Koran desecration at Gitmo. Seventeen Afghans died rioting. It is painfully obvious that we learned nothing from that. Why did we learn nothing?

Many questions. The only answer I have is that is indeed time to drastically reduce our headcount while at the same time dramatically increasing the Taliban's bodycount.

And for God's sake do not evacuate the Kabul Embassy via helicopters on the roof.

Presley Cannady
04-03-2011, 11:29 PM
by John Hinderaker @ Power Line

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/04/028748.php

Who in the American domestic target audience still believes that Afghanistan and Afghans are worth it?

My understanding was that the worth of the Afghans was tangential to the worth of eliminating a threat that inflicted massive damage on American soil. Also had the notion that America--within the universe of measures she's willing to use in war--had few if any better options than to gently pacify the base population of jihadists in order to deny them the territory, bases, supply and points of entry and departure needed to strike internationally. Specifically, I was under the impression that ultimately required putting up with the natives as they attempt to stand up a reasonably seaworthy government and army.

What's changed?

SJPONeill
04-03-2011, 11:31 PM
The simple answer is yes...what we are doing now is totally disconnected from what we went in there to (and did) do in 2001.

Regardless of the porice paid in blood and treasure to date, Afghanistan will never be any more a functional nation in the sense that we understand the concept than will Libya if the socalled rebels there get to takeover...

Watching the riots in London last week over cuts to public services and David Cameron stating how necessary there are as the UK is broke, my wife asked a simple question: if you're broke, why keeping getting into wars? A good question when the next news items was on the 'NATO' intervention/meddling in Libya...

The West is bankrupting itself fighting things that pose little or no threat to it and for people who really could care less...it's well past time to withdraw, regroup and RETHINK before we go haring off on any more morally-driven crusades...

While I don't agree with the case for the initial invasion of Iraq, more power to the US for staying the course and seeing that war through to a logical conclusion. But Afghanistan is not Iraq and the central government approach that worked in Iraq has no more chance of succeeding in Afghanistan than attempting to inflict a new religion on that nation...

The real question is not whether to start pulling out but what will we do for all those people in Afghanistan to whom we have promised better (in a western understanding) lives...

Presley Cannady
04-04-2011, 12:00 AM
The simple answer is yes...what we are doing now is totally disconnected from what we went in there to (and did) do in 2001.

I recall that the Allies drove al Qaeda into Taliban into the south and west and into Pakistan by spring of 2002. I don't recall in any of the tens years afterwards:

1. destroying the enemy,
2. forcing the enemy to capitulate, or
3. securing Afghanistan (or Pakistan, for that matter)--and consequently the base, supply and assembly area the enemy used to stage the 9/11 attacks--from future contest.

The Coalition leakily denies the enemy a breakout from his diminished territory, though the effort requires--minimum--a level of strength at least equivalent to that at the dawn of 2009. Still, seems to me the war ain't won and the threat eradicated until at least one of those three conditions are met.

SJPONeill
04-04-2011, 12:14 AM
...and if we were still in WW2 or maybe even the Cold War, that might be what we would be aiming to do.

Afghanistan stopped being the base for planning operations against the West by the beginning of 2003 - except, of course, those elements of the West that came to them and which are still in Afghanistan: one might argue that any actions against them might be justified defence against an invader (depending on your POV).

Those who still seek and plan and conspire against the west have long since moved on from Afghanistan and what we face there now is a problem centuries old that we have blindly blundered into. We know that we are not going to cross the border and clear out sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the 'border'; what we are doing in Afghanistan is doing nothing to ensure steady hands on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal: if anything the opposite...it's not helping us build bridges with Iran and only with India because it agitates the Pakistanis...

Yes, there is an insurgency in Afghanistan but it is largely one of our own making and one which will continue so long as we continue to prop up an ineffective and unpopular 'government' that according to its leader doesn't want the west there...all those who thinks the Karzai government will last two weeks past a western withdrawal, please raise your hands...

The simple fact is the best option for regional stability is a government in Afghanistan that we don't like but which allows us to meet our strategic objectives...and with that in mind, the same question remains: will we do the righty by those who expectations we have raised when we go?

Presley Cannady
04-04-2011, 01:10 AM
...and if we were still in WW2 or maybe even the Cold War, that might be what we would be aiming to do.

Just so I'm clear, precisely what has changed since the end of the Cold War? Pertinent to our discussion, of course.


Afghanistan stopped being the base for planning operations against the West by the beginning of 2003...

And the Combined Fleet ceased to be an offensive threat following Truk.


- except, of course, those elements of the West that came to them and which are still in Afghanistan: one might argue that any actions against them might be justified defence against an invader (depending on your POV).

We can leave the ins and outs of various parties' worldviews and intentions to posterity for the moment. At the end of the day, beginning in 2002 the Coalition has been in an imposed stalemate with Taliban and al Qaeda, facing off in the frontier along the border of nuclear Pakistan. And that's pretty much the western firebreak in the larger strategic problem.


Those who still seek and plan and conspire against the west have long since moved on from Afghanistan and what we face there now is a problem centuries old that we have blindly blundered into.

Moved on? I was under the impression that they've taken advantage of the somewhat riskier but still manageable environments across Afghanistan's borders to flow both in and out of theater. I question whether the Coalition can claim victory simply because the international fragment of the threat is willing to leave the bulk of the fight in theater to the natives. Especially since that's the samed damned objective the Coalition is pursuing.


We know that we are not going to cross the border and clear out sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the 'border'

So if we found the Rhine uncrossable for some reason, the Allies should've evacuated France?


what we are doing in Afghanistan is doing nothing to ensure steady hands on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, if anything the opposite...it's not helping us build bridges with Iran and only with India because it agitates the Pakistanis...

It also has nothing specifically to do with what we're doing in the Horn, or in Yemen, or in Southeast Asia, or a whole host of other fronts. Where is it written that wars must be won in single operations? OEF is keeping Afghanistan out of the hands of the Taliban and returning that state to the same people who struck the United States on 9/11. And unless we're in a topsy turvey world where not losing is no longer a prerequisite for winning, then returning the status quo ante would undoubtedly amount to a defeat.


Yes, there is an insurgency in Afghanistan but it is largely one of our own making and one which will continue so long as we continue to prop up an ineffective and unpopular 'government' that according to its leader doesn't want the west there...all those who thinks the Karzai government will last two weeks past a western withdrawal, please raise your hands...

It's borderline nonsense to argue that the Coalition "props" up Karzai in any meaningful way. Neither the US nor NATO designed Afghanistan's institutions. Neither chose the leadership, and despite various misgivings neither has done anything to interfere with Afghan self-determination. We know this because we have the examples of South Korea, the Republic of China, Mubarak's Egypt, Bahrain, and not a few African regimes. Some were spectacular successes, others not so much, but none involved tip toeing around internal affairs the way the Allies presently do in Kabul.

Certainly the Coalition provides the host government protection against a mass of anti-Kabul INS breaking out across the AfPak border, reconstruction aid and training. And should Afghans see fit to change their government and continue to work with the West, then the same largess will be available to Karzai's successor.


The simple fact is the best option for regional stability is a government in Afghanistan that we don't like but which allows us to meet our strategic objectives...

We don't like the current government all that much. What we need is a government that will root out and kill our enemy for us. What we can't afford is a government that will enable or even just stand by and let the enemy operate from her territory.

Cannoneer No. 4
04-04-2011, 02:36 AM
What's changed?

The regime in America.

jmm99
04-04-2011, 04:36 AM
30 Aug 2009 - AQ means ... (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=81327&postcount=23)


"The Base" - and as such, is supporting to efforts by other groups on a global basis to a greater or lesser extent, dependent on its analysis of each group and its plans. It also was (and probably still is, to a lesser extent) capable of its own direct action operations.

By analogy, AQ can be viewed as waging unconventional warfare in the classic sense of our FMs. A SFOB hinges on its personnel and functions, not on its location (or locations, which can be multiple - though obviously network-linked). So also AQ. That is COL Robert Jones' concept, which makes sense to me.

As to the 2001 invasion of Astan, two reasons were (1) retribution and reprobation; and (2) specific deterrence . Both reasons would have been satisfied by a complete destruction of the AQ leadership in Astan as we then knew it. That goal was not realized (Tora Bora et al).

The direct action effort against the AQ leadership still persists (separate US command); but has been submerged by the much larger efforts of UN-NATO ("nation-building" and peace enforcement in favor of the Karzai government) and the US FID-SA effort with major combat support (as noted by Bill Moore).

Since AQ (as a "base" of personnel and functions) is a moving target, the linkage between the effort against it, and the much larger Astan efforts, is not very clear to me. I expect I shall be enlightened.

The Taliban, very intentionally on their part, simply got in the way of our direct action efforts against AQ.

-----------------

Specific deterrence deters the individual wrongdoer (you execute the serial killer). That may have no general deterrence effect on serial killers to be.

30 Aug 2009 - Two kinds of deterrence (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=81339&postcount=26)


We've done a decent job on specific deterrence of AQ on three fronts: (1) intelligence + direct action (military); (2) intelligence + detention (law enforcement); and (3) disruption of network nodes, especially financing support (intelligence + counterintelligence).

As to general deterrence, not a real clue because I see no real plan to do that. By analogy, we need something akin to the European socialists who were anti-communist, but scarcely supportive of USG announced policies. I suppose support of certain Muslim governments (which ones ?) would be the answer. I also expect the tradeoff would be a much lesser role for the US in the Muslim world. That seems to be where Kilcullen is heading at the end of his book (Accidental Guerrilla).

As Ken noted, we are just getting into this - e.g., changes in Cold War strategy over decades.

Anyway, this is really a question for the younger generations.

So, what are your solutions to gain specific and general deterrence re: AQ ?

25 Jul 2010 - Well, one can question .... (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=103796&postcount=43)


whether a "COIN" strategy ever existed in Astan; and whatever the "Plan", the political side of the ledger was feeble at best ("lipstick on a pig" and the the rest of the cliches).

That didn't bother me cuz my rationale for being in Astan in the first place (and I never saw a reason to change the rationale) was to mount direct action operations against the AQ leadership cadres in Astan and Pstan (more a matter of "rental" operations), based on principles of retribution, reprobation and specific deterrence.

Other folks at much higher pay grades than mine, had different ideas.

Anyway, agreed: alia jacta est - and we are now in the period of Afghanization and exit strategy(ies).

The foregoing rationale (to me) constituted an overriding "but", even though Astan is in the middle of my personal "Never Again, but..." region - which looks like this:

1432

However, that "but" only goes so far - especially when state building (or nation building) - which doesn't start to meet my "but" test, gets in the way of the direct objective for which we (US) started in 2001 Astan.

Frankly, if we would have a better chance of killing our tall brother and his shorter comrade, by letting Astan revert to its pre-2001 condition (and by using better targeting methods than used in the Clinton era), I'd say let that happen.

Both OEF and OIF had a certain initial cleanliness and clarity (the run up to Tora Bora and the run up to Baghdad) - and I count those among the most beautiful military efforts I've seen in my cognitive lifetime.

So, my question to those who have been or are there (such as 120mm, who must have much of the time in for Astan citizenship ;)) is this:

Is what we are doing now substantially advancing the direct objective I've outlined above ?

If not, then we should revise the "Plan"; and if that requires a tactical withdrawal, so be it. If it requires other affirmative actions in Astan or Pstan, so be those.

Regards

Mike

bumperplate
04-04-2011, 05:14 AM
I realize I am not as informed as many but I'm growing ever so tired of these redundant comments: It's time to get out of Afghanistan.

Whether ill- or well-intentioned, these comments read in my mind as: Let's give in to the sand in our panties and just quit.

Can we Americans just decide to finish and win, for once?

I'm done with reading the naysayers, the depressed, the doom & gloom projectors and the apathy-ridden slugs that seem to think that no one currently in that theater or anyone preparing to go should be focused, positive, or feeling any sense of purpose.

I believe one of the above comments hit precisely on the desired end state: to have a govt in place that can do the fighting and run the country without being or becoming a safe haven for those that will do us harm. Until that or a similar end state is achieved, perhaps the negative nancys can just find a local Starbucks to complain about.

jcustis
04-04-2011, 07:49 AM
Can we Americans just decide to finish and win, for once?

The drama to Afghanistan tends to be the fact that we've already "won" with regard to many of our initial goals, but yet the definition of a "win", and what it means to us as a populace, depends on where you sit. One side doesn't believe we've finished the job, because the Taliban oppose us and the guy we propped up to be Number 1. If they come to power, then Al Qaeda is going to rush back in. The other side believes that Al Qaeda will never have the same foothold it did before November 2001, in Afghanistan, and that we need to stop wringing our hands over the possibility that the Taliban may come to the fore and run a crippled state.

Erecting a wobbly government that cannot support itself without significant aid injections, and at the cost of a significant amount of our national treasure in lives and money, may make it a Pyhrric victory that we cannot afford.

Again, it all depends on where you sit. "Wins" are not black and white anymore.

Cannoneer No. 4
04-04-2011, 08:51 AM
the desired end state: to have a govt in place that can do the fighting and run the country without being or becoming a safe haven for those that will do us harm.

Five months shy of a decade and we still aren't there. If you include opium growers, heroin smugglers and their protectors among those that will do us harm, we're a very long way from achieving success as you've defined it.

Presley Cannady
04-04-2011, 10:23 AM
The drama to Afghanistan tends to be the fact that we've already "won" with regard to many of our initial goals, but yet the definition of a "win", and what it means to us as a populace, depends on where you sit.

No, it really doesn't. Either 1) the enemy has been destroyed, forced to capitulate, or emasculated such that he no longer poses a threat to Americans and their interests on American soil or abroad (victory), or 2) he hasn't (not victory). However amazingly executed initial operations were, until 1) happens, there is no reasonable way the Coalition can call it a win.

Presley Cannady
04-04-2011, 10:36 AM
Five months shy of a decade and we still aren't there. If you include opium growers, heroin smugglers and their protectors among those that will do us harm, we're a very long way from achieving success as you've defined it.

What are the alternatives? The West will not countenance waging war in ways that might considerably expedite pacifying the Afghan population. The enemy enters and exits Afghanistan with impunity, and the Coalition cannot hope to field enough strength to deny him access to the border or points of departure and entry in neighboring countries. Your choices are:

1. hand him back the base he used to strike at Americans ten years ago, or
2. to stand up whatever institution it takes to keep him out once and for all.

Am I missing anything?

Cannoneer No. 4
04-04-2011, 11:03 AM
You are missing the Strategic Communications campaign that somebody must competently wage to convince the American voter to pay for standing up whatever institution it takes to keep the enemy out once and for all.

Bob's World
04-04-2011, 12:03 PM
"Win" and "Lose" are terms that are necessary for warfare. To attempt to play a war to a tie or a mutually beneficial solution is a fast way to end up in the "lose" column.

But this is insurgency, which, doctrine be damned, is not war at all. It is a country dangerously out of balance with itself, where the populace feels compelled to adopt illegal, and often very violent, means to seek to force the government to a sustainable balance point. Far too often the government (that is often quite happy with the current imbalance of power opportunity) response is one of warfare against the populace. The presence of warfare does not make a situation war. (This is an equally important policy point for US leaders, just because they have put US forces into combat around the globe of late does not mean that we are a nation at war either.)

So, is it a "win" if the US achieves what we think we need in Afghanistan (recognizing that what we think is at least a little wrong, and is quite possibly very wrong in terms of what actually best serves our interests)?

Is a "win" establishing GIRoA control over the entire nation through an incredibly expensive program of violence and bribery against the populace, held in place through a massive foreign trained and funded national security force?

Or is a "win" finding a new balance point that allows all Afghans to have equitable opportunity in the political and economic environment of their own nation? Does a satisfied populace under a system not controlled by the US better serve US interests than a suppressed populace under a system of our own design? In the modern age the answer is increasingly the former rather than the latter. We will learn that, but we have not learned that quite yet.

We should have learned that in Vietnam, but we took away the wrong lessons learned. We should have learned that in Iraq, but again, we took away the wrong lessons learned. Now we apply those flawed lessons learned to the latest problem.

A win for the US will be if the PEOPLE of Afghanistan win. Karzai and Omar will both need to compromise for that to occur. So will the Coalition. This is why the reconciliation process is so important. It cannot be the sham that follows a military defeat, it must be the reality that makes further military action unnecessary.

Tukhachevskii
04-04-2011, 12:34 PM
"Never again...but"

Sir, quick question. On your map what does the red horizontal line demarcate? (or were you just underlining the text.

jmm99
04-04-2011, 05:17 PM
The red line is just an arbitrary horizontal line showing the width of the "Never Again" Region at that latitude. The "Never Again" Region encompasses the continental land masses of Eurasia and Africa.

An expanded version of B.L. Montgomery's (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bernard_Montgomery,_1st_Viscount_Montgomery_of_Ala mein) Rule 1:


Do not march on Moscow

and Rule 2:


Do not go fighting with your land armies in China

:)

Or, viewed from a ship, US force projection should not go beyond the far littorals of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, absent an extremely compelling reason - which is the "but..." in the equation.

An old concept (e.g., Mahan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Thayer_Mahan) and others of the "Guardian" school of thought (http://www.amazon.com/Echo-Battle-Armys-Way-War/sim/0674034791/2)). See A.T. Mahan, Naval Strategy: Compared and Contrasted with the Principles and Practice of Military Operations on Land (http://books.google.com/books?id=X3ksAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Naval+Strategy:+Compared+and+Contrasted+with+th e+Principles+and+Practice+of+Military+Operations+o n+Land&source=bl&ots=uIZBiVz1OD&sig=mP7RKOVeISsCDN4oz2Y_84BmE7s&hl=en&ei=6QOtTIXrNYHPnAfTyPHhDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false) (1911) (pdf free from Google Books).

Regards

Mike

Cannoneer No. 4
04-04-2011, 08:51 PM
It’s time to leave Afghanistan (http://jbsanctuary.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/its-time-to-leave-afghanistan/)
http://jbsanctuary.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/its-time-to-leave-afghanistan/

Time to leave Afghanistan? (http://www.blackfive.net/main/2011/04/time-to-leave-afghanistan.html#comments)
http://www.blackfive.net/main/2011/04/time-to-leave-afghanistan.html#comments

Should we give up on Afghanistan? (http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=22807)
http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=22807

The comments on these blogs are an indicator that some of the most sympathetic and supportive members of the domestic target audience are disgusted and demoralized. Whoever does the SITREP Live from Afghanistan for the MILBLOG Conference (http://milblogconference.milblogging.com/conference-panels/) will need to slip down to Dubai and spend a night in a Holiday Inn Express or La Quinta before they strategically communicate to that crowd.

Presley Cannady
04-04-2011, 11:36 PM
You are missing the Strategic Communications campaign that somebody must competently wage to convince the American voter to pay for standing up whatever institution it takes to keep the enemy out once and for all.

Happens every year on September 11.

Presley Cannady
04-04-2011, 11:48 PM
The comments on these blogs are an indicator that some of the most sympathetic and supportive members of the domestic target audience are disgusted and demoralized.

1. They don't get to be demoralized, and someone should tell them as much. This isn't baseball and we're not talking about a pennant you can take another whack at next year.

2. JB contemplating the US quitting the field hinges on two very dubious notions: "that we've killed most of Al-Qaida," and that "[s]mall amounts of Special Operations Forces could have been left in strategic locations to periodically take out AQ as they popped up." I say dubious because there is no firm estimate of AQ's base strength, let alone that of its affiliates and all other individuals and groups willing to act independently in the same vein. Additionally, it seems ludicrous to suggest that special forces can range across a country the size of Texas and do a job that the entire Coalition commitment can't achieve in a territory half the size of New York.

It's one thing to be dissatisfied with the way things are going (though it helps if you at least show up with a better plan in hand). It's another thing to demand the Allies pack it up when an enemy bound and determined to get back on the offensive is still out there.

Fuchs
04-04-2011, 11:53 PM
Sometime in the future maybe -just maybe- humanity will advance to a point where it's going to look back at people who got it right early on and increase its respect for them and their long-derided opinions.


In the case of AFG, there were people who saw that it's about time to get out of AFG as early as in 2002 ...


There was also a group of I think 33 intellectuals who sponsored an ad in the NYT against OIF. Only one of them (Walt) has become a kind of nation-wide known pundit. The old warmongers of 2002 on the other hand ... many of them are still in the business and have become rich(er) by producing a net damage to their society.

Cannoneer No. 4
04-05-2011, 12:24 AM
Happens every year on September 11.

Do you seriously believe that the 10th Anniversary of the start of what used to be called the Global War On Terror and has since been downgraded into an Overseas Contingency Operation is going to be spun in any way which might positively influence the American electorate to stay the course?

Cannoneer No. 4
04-05-2011, 12:38 AM
1. They don't get to be demoralized, and someone should tell them as much. This isn't baseball and we're not talking about a pennant you can take another whack at next year.

WHY don't they get to be demoralized?

Who do you think the "someone" is that should tell them they don't get to be demoralized? Not the same people who were supposed to be in charge of morale on the home front, I hope.

Think they'll meet with much success persuading-changing-influencing sceptics with your approach?


2. JB contemplating the US quitting the field hinges on two very dubious notions: "that we've killed most of Al-Qaida," and that "[s]mall amounts of Special Operations Forces could have been left in strategic locations to periodically take out AQ as they popped up."
Go to Jb's blog and tell him how dubious he is.

Presley Cannady
04-05-2011, 01:05 AM
Do you seriously believe that the 10th Anniversary of the start of what used to be called the Global War On Terror and has since been downgraded into an Overseas Contingency Operation is going to be spun in any way which might positively influence the American electorate to stay the course?

I believe the Administration can't even close a next to empty detention camp in Cuba, let alone overcome the political and cultural pressure to fight the war. And it took ten years and the housing bubble popping to even get to the point where suggesting such a thing on the campaign trail was survivable.

Presley Cannady
04-05-2011, 01:12 AM
WHY don't they get to be demoralized?

Because they have an audience speak with no small amount of authority.


Who do you think the "someone" is that should tell them they don't get to be demoralized? Not the same people who were supposed to be in charge of morale on the home front, I hope.

So whenever somebody fails to do their job, feel free to use your megaphone to wonder aloud if America should call it quits?


Think they'll meet with much success persuading-changing-influencing sceptics with your approach?

I think that conceding the debate to the other side is a very...um...novel way of persuading them to your point of view.


Go to Jb's blog and tell him how dubious he is.

Come on. You know I said no such thing.

Cannoneer No. 4
04-05-2011, 01:47 AM
"Because they have an audience speak with no small amount of authority" is not a reason why commenters on blogs don't get to be demoralized that makes any sense.

I say again, who do you think the "someone" is that should tell them they don't get to be demoralized? Looking for names or titles here, not another question. Admitting that you do not know is an acceptable response.


JB contemplating the US quitting the field hinges on two very dubious notions

Presley Cannady
04-05-2011, 01:53 AM
"Because they have an audience speak with no small amount of authority" is not a reason why commenters on blogs don't get to be demoralized that makes any sense.

I think the confusion here lies in that you were talking about the comments and I was talking about the bloggers themselves.


I say again, who do you think the "someone" is that should tell them they don't get to be demoralized?

That's easy. Other milbloggers. Particularly ones who'd quickly pounce on echoes of Biden-lite in JB's post.

Tukhachevskii
04-05-2011, 01:49 PM
The red line is just an arbitrary horizontal line showing the width of the "Never Again" Region at that latitude. The "Never Again" Region encompasses the continental land masses of Eurasia and Africa.

An expanded version of B.L. Montgomery's (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bernard_Montgomery,_1st_Viscount_Montgomery_of_Ala mein) Rule 1:



and Rule 2:



:)

Or, viewed from a ship, US force projection should not go beyond the far littorals of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, absent an extremely compelling reason - which is the "but..." in the equation.

An old concept (e.g., Mahan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Thayer_Mahan) and others of the "Guardian" school of thought (http://www.amazon.com/Echo-Battle-Armys-Way-War/sim/0674034791/2)). See A.T. Mahan, Naval Strategy: Compared and Contrasted with the Principles and Practice of Military Operations on Land (http://books.google.com/books?id=X3ksAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Naval+Strategy:+Compared+and+Contrasted+with+th e+Principles+and+Practice+of+Military+Operations+o n+Land&source=bl&ots=uIZBiVz1OD&sig=mP7RKOVeISsCDN4oz2Y_84BmE7s&hl=en&ei=6QOtTIXrNYHPnAfTyPHhDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false) (1911) (pdf free from Google Books).

Regards

Mike


Ahhhh yes, Mahan. Interesting chap that. You will forgive me if I say that I (much) prefer Sir Julian Corbett (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Corbett) (not just because I'm British:rolleyes: but also because of the lectures of this man (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/sspp/ws/people/academic/professors/lambert/)). Which see, for instance, Some Principles of Maritime Strategy (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15076)

Do I detect a touch of the Monroe Doctrine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine) in your spatial representation/policy preference? Does that mean the the US does not rule out land operations in Latin/South America? The Bay of Pigs didn't turn out too well IIRC and nor did the whole business with the Contra allthough you had a creditable showing in Panama and Haiti, in recent years (quite apart from Asian landwars:D).

If so...das is sehr gut! I myself am all in favour of the establishment of Grossraume (http://experiment.iitalia.com/librarysplit2/Ulmen,%20Introduction%20to%20Carl%20Schmitt.pdf) (a la the late great, and much maligned, Carl Schmitt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Schmitt)).

Still, thanks for the banter,

Cheers,

T

jmm99
04-05-2011, 05:55 PM
:). Quite seriously, the banter does contain some nuggets that apply here - as from your Julian Stafford Corbett, Some principles of maritime strategy (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15076/15076-h/15076-h.htm) (1911; the same year as Mahan, but more overtly CvC and fairly arguably more modern) - from p.326-328 (emphasis added):


Notes on Strategy

PART ONE

GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND DEFINITIONS

INTRODUCTORY

Naval strategy is a section of the Art of War.

The study for officers is the Art of War, which includes Naval Strategy.

War is the application of force to the attainment of political ends.

MAJOR AND MINOR STRATEGY

We seek our ends by directing force upon certain objects, which may be ulterior or primary.

Primary objects are the special objects of particular operations or movements which we undertake in order to gain the ulterior object of the campaign.

Consequently it must be remembered that every particular operation or movement must be regarded, not only from the point of view of its special object, but also as a step to the end of the campaign or war.

Strategy is the art of directing force to the ends in view. There are two kinds — Major Strategy, dealing with ulterior objects; Minor Strategy, with primary objects.

Every operation of an army or fleet must be planned and conducted in relation (1) to the general plan of the war; (2) to the object to which it is immediately directed.

Major Strategy, always regarding the ulterior object, has for its province the plan of the war and includes:

(1) Selection of the immediate or primary objects to be aimed at for attaining the ulterior [pg 327] object;

(2) Selection of the force to be used, i.e., it determines the relative functions of the naval and military forces.

Major Strategy in its broadest sense deals with the whole resources of the nation for war. It is a branch of statesmanship which regards the Army and Navy as parts of one force, to be handled together as the instrument of war.

But it also has to keep in constant touch with the political and diplomatic position of the country (on which depends the effective action of the instrument), and the commercial and financial position (by which the energy for working the instrument is maintained). The friction due to these considerations is inherent in war, and is called the deflection of strategy by politics. It is usually regarded as a disease. It is really a vital factor in every strategical problem.

It may be taken as a general rule that no question of major strategy can be decided apart from diplomacy, and vice versâ. For a line of action or an object which is expedient from the point of view of strategy may be barred by diplomatic considerations, and vice versâ. To decide a question of Major Strategy, without consideration of its diplomatic aspect, is to decide on half the factors only.

Neither strategy or diplomacy has ever a clean slate. This inter-action has to be accepted as part of the inevitable "friction of war." A good example is Pitt's refusal to send a fleet into the Baltic to assist Frederick the Great during the Seven Years' War, for fear of compromising our relations with the Scandinavian Powers.

Minor Strategy has for its province the plans of operations. It deals with—

(1) The selection of the "objectives," that is, the particular forces of the enemy or the strategical points to be dealt with in order to secure the object of the particular operation.

(2) The direction of the force assigned for the operation.

Minor Strategy may, therefore, be of three kinds:—

(1) Naval, where the immediate object is to be attained by a fleet only.

(2) Military, where the immediate object is to be attained by an army only.

(3) Combined, where the immediate object is to be attained by army and navy together.

[pg 328]

It will be seen, therefore, that what is usually called Naval Strategy or Fleet Strategy is only a sub-division of Strategy, and that therefore Strategy cannot be studied from the point of view of naval operations only. Naval Strategy, being a part of General Strategy, is subject to the same friction as Major Strategy, though in a less degree. Individual commanders have often to take a decision independently of the central government or headquarters; they should, therefore, always keep in mind the possible ulterior effects of any line of action they may take, endeavouring to be sure that what is strategically expedient is not diplomatically inexpedient.

Quite a decent summary of how to frame the boundaries of the problems presented and their solutions (as in Astan and Pstan).

As to this:


from T

Do I detect a touch of the Monroe Doctrine in your spatial representation/policy preference? Does that mean the the US does not rule out land operations in Latin/South America? The Bay of Pigs didn't turn out too well IIRC and nor did the whole business with the Contra allthough you had a creditable showing in Panama and Haiti, in recent years (quite apart from Asian landwars).

If so...das is sehr gut! I myself am all in favour of the establishment of Grossraume (a la the late great, and much maligned, Carl Schmitt).

A number of questions and probably a digression from this particular thread - Maybe a later PM on them to see whether I can summarize my views in a semi-coherent manner. :D

Regards

Mike

Cannoneer No. 4
04-06-2011, 11:00 PM
http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/207206.php

The Counter Insurgent-Supportive Blogosphere is begging for some credible, confidence-inspiring Strategic Communication from somebody.

Ray
04-12-2011, 03:09 PM
For an insurgency to sustain itself, there has to be mass support, adequate finances, free supply of arms and ammunition, safe havens to recruit, train, refit and reorg and external support.

Have these been addressed in Afghanistan?

First and foremost, one has to eliminate the safe havens where recruiting, refitting, reorganising can is being done.

Currently, all insurgents/ terrorists etc are with impunity recruit, refit, train, reorg and then launch forays against the ISAF.

Drone attacks cannot address the issue in it totality, more so since the CIA and others have been given the marching orders.

Fuchs
04-12-2011, 03:28 PM
For an insurgency to sustain itself, there has to be mass support, adequate finances, free supply of arms and ammunition, safe havens to recruit, train, refit and reorg and external support.

Have these been addressed in Afghanistan?

First and foremost, one has to eliminate the safe havens where recruiting, refitting, reorganising can is being done.

Currently, all insurgents/ terrorists etc are with impunity recruit, refit, train, reorg and then launch forays against the ISAF.

Drone attacks cannot address the issue in it totality, more so since the CIA and others have been given the marching orders.


You focus too much on the lesser paramilitary arm of a proper insurgency. The much more relevant political base and supporters are more decisive because they replenish the losses of the paramilitary arm and you need completely different view on this civilian political supporters base.

SJPONeill
04-13-2011, 05:18 AM
Fuchs is correct in that statement however in the case of AFG, they probably all reside in the same (relatively) untouched sanctuary...in the unlikely event that were to be neutralised, the insurgency per se in AFG would wither away into inter-tribal feuding...

Ray
05-03-2011, 02:55 PM
You focus too much on the lesser paramilitary arm of a proper insurgency. The much more relevant political base and supporters are more decisive because they replenish the losses of the paramilitary arm and you need completely different view on this civilian political supporters base.

I have not understood as to exactly what your are trying to convey.

1. a proper insurgency?

2. lesser paramilitary arm?

3. The much more relevant political base and supporters are more decisive because they replenish the losses of the paramilitary arm?

My experience has been confined to Kashmir, NE India and a bit of Mao stuff.

Fuchs
05-03-2011, 04:10 PM
The actual fighters can be killed, but they will be replaced and new fighters will be more careful.

The movement only ends if the political side of it falters. Fighters without a base (politically convinced supporters) disappear quickly or at least morph into a much easier to defeat opponent.
A base without fighters simply generates (new) fighters.

The strategically more relevant target is therefore the supporter base. This base has been simplified as "Pashtuns", "drug trade", "foreigners", "highwaymen", but its actual face depends obviously on local circumstances (drug business isn't strong everywhere).

This supporter base is not a legitimate target for organised violence in our moral compass, so it's only going to be defeated by non-combat means.



In my opinion, all the (para)military efforts in COIN don't do much more than to push the insurgent fighters into the shadows. The really decisive fight is political - unless you're ready to take the gloves off. The latter is self-defeating for us since we have certain expectations on our warfare that do not tolerate Hama solutions any more.


Sometime in 2009 I argued for a COIN model (http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2009/06/pacification-strategy.html) that combined
# few military mobile strike reserves
# many cheap (para)military security forces
# semi-covert political action groups

The first two were tasked to keep the flame of war small, while the political action groups would turn the relevant people or solidify their support for the government cause (with a huge repertoire of actions, including dirty tricks, deportation and intrigue).


This war should have been run by diplomats and indigenous politicians assisted by bodyguard teams, interpreters and such.

Instead, it was run by the military which was and is not really suitable for the decisive domain of the war.

The result is known; a stalemate.

Ray
05-03-2011, 06:19 PM
Valid points.

Fighters killed can be replaced. Yet, New fighters may not be careful since they maybe there for revenge killing of their kith and kin.

The Movement will end if the political ideology/ side destroyed. True.

However, if where the support base is i.e. KP where the terrorists have their sanctuaries that are only disturbed by Drones and nothing substantial happens, they will continue to proliferate, train, rest, refit and reorg, while their political heads rest and refit in luxurious environs like Abbotabad.

Therefore, it become essential to attack relentlessly the bases, including with ground troops, and in this instant case, KP and FATA.

Once the bases are destroyed and the area occupied, it will make it a buffer to where the ISAF is operating. Somewhat sanitised, at least better for somewhat unhindered operations.

The terrorist Heads can well plot and scheme in their luxurious houses and it would not matter since they would have no influence in the ‘buffer zone’ as they would not be able to inject any of their own there.

The support base is a legitimate target. If morality is to be debated, then infringing Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty with Drone attacks, CIA operatives masquerading as defence contractor and violating Pakistan’s airspace and injecting SEALs to kill a ‘guest i.e OBL is a huge moral question and totally contravening international law and niceties.

The action against terrorists cannot be only a military operation, it has to have a political solution ongoing. However, unless the military aspect of terrorism is seen to be on the verge of defeat, no political solution can be hammered out.

Fuchs
05-03-2011, 06:54 PM
You're too stuck in thinking about sanctuaries and kills.

The supporting base are the villages where TB can move in, drink a tea and not get reported, but even be able to get some supplies and a bed for the night.
It's not something you deal with with drones and Hellfires.

The military reach is irrelevant. A whole infantry company can sweep that village and the next day the village wills till be part of the supportive base of TBs.
It's political.


And the support base is as much a legitimate target as it would have been legitimate if Germany had killed 30-80% of French civilians in '43 because of the Resistance.
No, they are not a legitimate target for deadly violence. The maximum justifiable violence would be a forced deportation.

carl
05-03-2011, 10:13 PM
Fuchs:

Physical sanctuaries are important. It is much easier to stay alive when there is someplace to run to where the people hunting you can't physically go. That seems self evident. The trigger pullers are important and they can stay alive longer if they have access to a physical sanctuary.

Fuchs
05-03-2011, 10:32 PM
Emphasis: Amagnetic needle in haystack.

The sheer size of Afghanistan in area, population size and travel times means that there's not really a problem with hiding in plain sight. You need no physical or other 100% security. War claims souls anyway.


The real security wall there is loyalty (or fear, everything is fine as long as it works).

carl
05-03-2011, 10:57 PM
Fuchs:

I disagree. To carry your haystack analogy further, you can find the needle if you have access to the haystack and keep looking. If you are not allowed to access to the haystack it is impossible to find it. The needle can rest easier that way.

Afghanistan is big but there are only so many places where humans can live. In a desert area there must be water close by and there may be only so many water holes. The hunters know where those are. You could live on a mountaintop but still there has to be water and fuel available. Probably most of the places where water, fuel, food and shelter are available have people near by. Those people may be with you, a valuable thing; but they may not, and if they are not they can rat you out and the hunters will come for you. In a physical sanctuary, no hunter can come for you.

Political support is vital but so is a sanctuary.

Fuchs
05-04-2011, 12:31 AM
You may find the needle, but meanwhile another two or three were thrown into the haystack and you cannot win this without burning everything down.


You sound like some Clancy fans who think a tank's purpose is to be invulnerable. Of course you cane eventually score against the enemy. No enemy is invulnerable (not even in supposedly safe havens). That's not strategically necessary, decisive or even only important, though.


The U.S. never had something like the R.A.F., but the example may still help you understand:

The R.A.F. had a supportive base of a few thousand symphatisers. It had a few dozen murderers/robbers/kidnappers. The latter were able to hide, survive and replace their losses thanks to the supportive base for decades.
Some of them retired into East Germany for a physical sanctuary, but those effectively retired, because the East Germans didn't allow them to return.

The thing that eventually defeated the R.A.F. was not the headhunt, but the fact that the supportive base god disillusioned and separated and eventually the movement faltered because there was neither motivation left nor the infrastructure for ambitious actions any more.
Without that, we could have headhunted for decades without winning the fight. A physical sanctuary was not necessary; the core of the supportive base and illegal income (bank robberies and such) sustained the violent few well within our own population.


The safe haven / sanctuary thing is a strange fixation of U.S. COIN folks - and it's badly misleading because there's always some sanctuary left, but the fight is being lost hundreds of miles away from physical sanctuaries as well. The are obviously not the key to TB success or survival.

Ken White
05-04-2011, 01:07 AM
Physical sanctuaries are important. It is much easier to stay alive when there is someplace to run to where the people hunting you can't physically go.Not really much easier, just less stressful.. The flip side is time and effort lost moving from operating area to 'sanctuary' plus the increased logistic burden and the potential for attack while moving to and fro-- and one must always wonder how long the opponent will allow it to remain a sanctuary.
That seems self evident.A large number of things that may seem self evident at first glance are not -- once some thought is given them...
The trigger pullers are important and they can stay alive longer if they have access to a physical sanctuary.They aren't that important and generally are easily replaceable. Plus, if such a sanctuary exists, the nominal leaders tend to operate almost exclusively from that safe haven -- which creates trigger puller morale problems. Then there's the problem of the lad who gets to that safe haven after a few fights and elects not to return to the arena...

It's a set of trade offs. Like everything else. :wry:

carl
05-04-2011, 02:45 AM
I still disagree. Physical sanctuary in the sense that Pakistan is a physical sanctuary for the Taliban is important. It is not only less stressful for a Talibani to stay alive there it is physically easier because he won't be hunted by ground troops there; not only easier but almost gaurenteed (sic). Drones may be around but there really aren't that many of them and they go after the bigger guys. There is extra time and effort involved in going to and fro but that is counterbalanced by the ability not to get kilt in the sanctuary. Time is not that important anyway for those guys. They got years and years. You do have to wonder how long the sanctuary will remain so, but given our record it will be indefinitely. Even if it stopped being one they gain the advantage for however long it does last. That is of value if they will win during that time.

The high mucky mucks have been in Pakistan for 10 years and their presence there hasn't seemed to cause many morale problems so far. If some of the trigger pullers decide to stay in Pakistan that isn't much different than if they decide to stay home in Afghanistan. Either way they aren't available. From what I know those guys drift in and out of the ranks all the time anyway, especially the lower down guys. I think it would be especially useful for low and mid level leaders to have a place safe from the hunters. Their positions are stressful.

I don't think the RAF has much application. They were a tiny group. It is easy to hide a tiny group. We have had things like that here, not as murderous but just as hard to hunt down because of sympathizers. A big group like Taliban & co. needs a physical sanctuary, especially for the big leaders. They wouldn't operate there unless they had to to stay alive.

It is a set of trade offs, but I just don't see how having a physical sanctuary isn't critically important for Taliban & Co. Sanctuary may be a fixation for small wars people, but it is a fixation for small wars people on both sides. If it wasn't important for the insurgents why would they be so set on using them? I don't think it is so strange.

Ray
05-04-2011, 08:34 AM
You're too stuck in thinking about sanctuaries and kills.

The supporting base are the villages where TB can move in, drink a tea and not get reported, but even be able to get some supplies and a bed for the night.
It's not something you deal with with drones and Hellfires.

The military reach is irrelevant. A whole infantry company can sweep that village and the next day the village wills till be part of the supportive base of TBs.
It's political.


And the support base is as much a legitimate target as it would have been legitimate if Germany had killed 30-80% of French civilians in '43 because of the Resistance.
No, they are not a legitimate target for deadly violence. The maximum justifiable violence would be a forced deportation.

Indeed I am too stuck in the groove of sanctuaries and kill.

That I found was the crux to the issue, having also been on the high level parleys at the political level too, as also being on the ground level. Too much of theory at the political and totally devoid of the reality. Good chaps and wonderful thoughts but no way to get results.

I am not suggesting the Sri Lankan mode. It is inhuman. What I am suggesting is a cognizable military success on which the a political solution can be constructed.

I would be immensely surprised to find people beyond law and reason like the terrorists coming to the negotiation table when they are riding the crest of success. Don't take my word for it, you should have asked Mao when he was alive or you still have the chance, ask Castro!

If you have read my post carefully, you would find you are echoing my thoughts that The supporting base are the villages where TB can move in, drink a tea and not get reported, but even be able to get some supplies and a bed for the night.

It's not something you deal with with drones and Hellfires.

But where I disagree is your contention - The military reach is irrelevant. A whole infantry company can sweep that village and the next day the village wills till be part of the supportive base of TBs.
It's political.

Sanitising an area and even a whole province and having it registered as a failure of the terrorist is a MUST to bring the Taliban to the table for talks. A victorious lot does not come to the negotiation table.

Since you bring in if Germany had killed 30-80% of French civilians in '43 because of the Resistance may I remind you of The Treaty of Versailles? It should ring a bell, where even an unjust Treaty was meekly endorsed by the vanquished.

May I also remind you that Chamberlain, the British PM, with all his goodness, failed politically to bring Hitler to the negotiating table and Winston Churchill, the horrible man, made mincemeat of Hitler through wily political alliances and sheer brute force?

Politics without worthwhile military action is chasing the will o' the wisp!

The attack on Abbotabad has removed OBL which no political parley would achieve.

Who knows that is a starter towards the negotiating table. If not, some more would see the light of day till it works out.

I am not a Clancey fan. If only I had his trait of story telling, I would have been a millionaire since I have 'been there and done that' and each activity is a thrilling story by itself!

Ray
05-04-2011, 09:02 AM
Not really much easier, just less stressful.. The flip side is time and effort lost moving from operating area to 'sanctuary' plus the increased logistic burden and the potential for attack while moving to and fro-- and one must always wonder how long the opponent will allow it to remain a sanctuary.A large number of things that may seem self evident at first glance are not -- once some thought is given them...They aren't that important and generally are easily replaceable. Plus, if such a sanctuary exists, the nominal leaders tend to operate almost exclusively from that safe haven -- which creates trigger puller morale problems. Then there's the problem of the lad who gets to that safe haven after a few fights and elects not to return to the arena...

It's a set of trade offs. Like everything else. :wry:

Anyone who has done a long trek in the mountains with heavy battle load and gone through a few skirmishes will understand what a 'break' (forget about sanctuaries) mean.

One does not go back to base (sanctuaries) after every action. Therefore, the issue of logistics is redundant. One does a tenure and hangs around in local sanctuaries for the next actions, having been replenished. That is how the terrorist operate in Kashmir. Therefore, the danger of moving from a base and carrying out an operation and then returning to safe sanctuaries across the border is imaginary.

The terrorists operating in Kashmir are on a one year tenure and they are paid a King's ransom for the same. They are logistically topped up from across the border at their local sanctuaries and so can carry on with their activities. I daresay the Taliban, who are of the same genre, are any different in their modus operandi.

It would be unbelievable that anyone, be they terrorists or otherwise, do not require to rest, refit and reorganise. Obviously, it cannot be done in 'enemy' territory. Therefore, after a longish stint, they have to touch base at their sanctuaries which cannot be 'touched' without raising international concern of violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty.

For the Taliban, the KP area is ideal.

That is why the US Drones operate there and Pakistan complain of violation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Drones cannot target all areas and that is obvious.

JMA
05-04-2011, 09:41 AM
The terrorists operating in Kashmir are on a one year tenure and they are paid a King's ransom for the same. They are logistically topped up from across the border at their local sanctuaries and so can carry on with their activities. I daresay the Taliban, who are of the same genre, are any different in their modus operandi.

This payment business tends to depreciate the claim of their being patriots fighting for freedom and other good things. These hired guns are more mercenaries and less insurgents and should be treated as such.

Their sanctuaries have got to be targets of that there is no doubt. The problem with the drone activities is that it is a slow drip of humiliation for Pakistan at their having to explain why the US are free to attack targets in their country and why they have so little control over large areas of their country. The problem is that these clowns have got the Bomb.

The Afghans are not worth fighting for, but maybe the location of Afghanistan has certain strategic considerations. Get out ASAP and the lesson learned should be how punishing the Taliban (for providing sanctuary to AQ) grew into this Nation Building crap at a cost of too many lives and a lot of cash. The other lesson is that the armies that rolled Saddam's forces up with ease in Operation Iraqi Freedom had little or no idea how to fight an insurgency. Some hard lessons where learned along the road from then until today.

Fuchs
05-04-2011, 01:07 PM
May I also remind you that Chamberlain, the British PM, with all his goodness, failed politically to bring Hitler to the negotiating table and Winston Churchill, the horrible man, made mincemeat of Hitler through wily political alliances and sheer brute force?

Hitler wasn't the supporting base, but the head.

Britain' time to convince a German supportive base to play nicely was in 1919-1932 when it was able to negotiate and deliver foreign political successes to Social democrats and thus keep the far right nutcases from power.

Later on, 1933-1945, the supportive base was too much in the grip of force.
It might still have helped not to ask for unconditional surrender in 1943, for this could have meant everything including national slavery in Siberia.


The attack on Abbotabad has removed OBL which no political parley would achieve.

Really? I think it would have been interesting to offer the continued existence of Islamabad for UBL's head.


A huge arms deal package at discount prices (worth 300 bn+, price 100 bn+) for India would also have been a good argument.
Instead, the U.S. government bribed directly and was content with almost no returns.

Ray
05-04-2011, 03:33 PM
This payment business tends to depreciate the claim of their being patriots fighting for freedom and other good things. These hired guns are more mercenaries and less insurgents and should be treated as such.

When I was there, the radio transcripts indicated that the tenure was for one year and the bounty was Rs 2,00,000. That may not appear much in $, but it is a King's Ransom in these parts.

Also, chaps on death row, were given the option of clemency if they volunteered for a tenure as a terrorist in Kashmir.

Some were dedicated to the Islamic cause but most of them were mere mercenaries.

Interestingly, the Tanzeem (Group) Leader would, at times, pocket a part of the money given for refurbishing the Tanzeem and for other necessities or the payment for the dead and there was a lot of grouse over that.



Their sanctuaries have got to be targets of that there is no doubt. The problem with the drone activities is that it is a slow drip of humiliation for Pakistan at their having to explain why the US are free to attack targets in their country and why they have so little control over large areas of their country. The problem is that these clowns have got the Bomb.

It is true the Drone attacks have their value from the standpoint you have mentioned.

It is true that Pakistan has the Bomb, but it will be the day they use it on the US. They may appear a trifle silly, but then they are not totally stupid is what I would say.

As it is the US special forces are undertaking raid into KP.


The Afghans are not worth fighting for, but maybe the location of Afghanistan has certain strategic considerations. Get out ASAP and the lesson learned should be how punishing the Taliban (for providing sanctuary to AQ) grew into this Nation Building crap at a cost of too many lives and a lot of cash. The other lesson is that the armies that rolled Saddam's forces up with ease in Operation Iraqi Freedom had little or no idea how to fight an insurgency. Some hard lessons where learned along the road from then until today.

It is not the Afghans that is in the consideration.

It is the location which is important from the US' geostrategic standpoint. It sits close to the underbelly of Russia and prevents Russian influence into Afghanistan and thence into Iran, with which Russia is quite chummy. Likewise, it also allows a peek into China and the Uyghurs.

That apart, it also overlook the South Asian hotbed.

I seriously think that all the brouhaha over spreading "Freedom and Democracy" (which in any case is a bogus reason) is any reason to unleash a war. It is mere smokescreen for the strategic intent, which I think, was valid given the Cold War realities and compulsions and so the foray into Afghanistan. It is another matter that the US has found itself stuck.

From the results observed in the open forum, it does appear that the US is not well versed in COIN. It requires patience and less of gung ho stuff (product of SLA Marshall's theories). No one likes a foreigner bossing around who expects all to cringe and crawl and be eternally grateful. On the other hand compare the British imperialism in India, where a handful could keep a huge mass under control. But then one is not here to recount history and the rationale.

Take the case of Bush. Gung ho and no Osama!

Take the case of Obama. Bumbling around as it appeared, weak and all that, but patiently went through the steps. Result = Osama killed.

Patience.

Speak softly but carry a Big Stick as the US President Roosevelt had said.

If one looks at the Indian experience, one can see there is hardly any insurgency in the NE of India, which was once an hotbed. Currently, the separatism in Kashmir is in disarray. The terrorists killed one of the leader who was advocating dialogue and that has cause disharmony amongst their ranks.

One of the reasons why the Pakistani sponsored terrorists in Kashmir or the Chinese sponsored ones in the NE has not been able to make headway is that their areas of operations have been sanitised, by having troops on the border (hence a much less of them can ingress) and those who ingress are taken on by the second line of mobile elements on search and destroy.

Patience is required and there is no instant quick fixes.

Ray
05-04-2011, 03:41 PM
Hitler wasn't the supporting base, but the head.

Britain' time to convince a German supportive base to play nicely was in 1919-1932 when it was able to negotiate and deliver foreign political successes to Social democrats and thus keep the far right nutcases from power.

Later on, 1933-1945, the supportive base was too much in the grip of force.
It might still have helped not to ask for unconditional surrender in 1943, for this could have meant everything including national slavery in Siberia.



Really? I think it would have been interesting to offer the continued existence of Islamabad for UBL's head.


A huge arms deal package at discount prices (worth 300 bn+, price 100 bn+) for India would also have been a good argument.
Instead, the U.S. government bribed directly and was content with almost no returns.

Chamberlain was addressing the head = the political aspect. And failed.

When Britain addressed the base = Germany = the base. They won!

I think you are not paying heed to what is being said in Washington over the Abbotabad raid and planning. They are saying that Pakistan was kept out of the loop since Pakistan leaks like a sieve and OBL would have been alerted.

If indeed, as you suggest, that there should have been political solution to OBL, well then, we would still be roaming round and round like Tony Lumpkin.

You make a mistake. India is not Pakistan. Our govt is responsible to the people and such a 'bribe' would have brought the Govt down. And our Army is subservient to the civilian Govt and has no role in the political environment or governance of the country.
As it is, it (the Indian Govt) was shaky with that dubious deal over the Nuclear Agreement and now with the Japanese nuclear disaster, the Govt does not know where to hide.

Now, what was the bribe the US gave directly to India?

Even the US aircraft offered was way high in cost for India compared to the price sold to Australia. Hence, India said no way!

jmm99
05-04-2011, 04:51 PM
Yes.

In support of said answer, we had a discussion nearly two years ago - e.g., some posts in it:

BW: What would "moderate" look like... (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=82440&postcount=265)

jmm99: What would "moderate" look like... part 1 (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=82455&postcount=273) and What would "moderate" look like... part 2 (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=82456&postcount=274)

We could today be discussing the very same issues without substantial changes in what is expressed - and in fact we are ! :eek:

We (US) have various open-source (and perhaps classified) "partnership agreements" with the GoA (initiated in the Bush administration and confirmed early on in the Obama administation). Based on the open-source documents, these are legally Presidential Executive Agreements; and could be legally terminated by the US.

With respect to the region (South Asia), I'd like to see all US military forces withdrawn - you all know my boundary lines; and that "Never Again" has a "but..." attached to it. One "but" could be direct actions of the type we have just witnessed.

Further with respect to the projection of non-military US capabilities, we would continue and rely on:

1. Diplomatic under DoS.

2. USIA - yup, good old agitprop under an agency independent of State.

3. USAID - yup, good old focused on local developmental liaison (tied into US trade and commerce) under an agency independent of State.

4. Peace Corps

5. Intelligence (Gathering and Analysis) - You decide on the organizational setup.

Not very isolationist, but it would be as non-interventionist as possible.

The key concept would be to move away from "partnership agreements" (and the "dammit, we made a contract" mentality) and into personal, emotional relationships with the people of South Asia.

Since I'm not "touchy feely", it ain't that - or close to that. What I'm talking about is mutual respect and communication based on shared, enlightened self-interests.

So, "Who [and Where] is John Galt?"

Regards

Mike

PS: Ray, sometimes I change my mind - temporarily hanging my Nehru jacket on the shelf (ha, ha).

Ray
05-04-2011, 06:03 PM
Mike,

Your ideas are perfect.

However, it is too late in the day to abandon the gains to include the strategic one.

I chanced upon this link and it traces historically the importance of Afghanistan and what it will if the US quits.

http://cinemarasik.com/2009/10/10/afghanistan--its-strategic-importance-to-america.aspx

Excerpt:


Chance Favors The Prepared Mind

The Chinese Leaders are masters of the Prepared Mind concept. China would not have risked going to war with India in 1950s to annex Tibet. But India's prime minister Nehru, is an act of historical stupidity, unilaterally pulled the Indian Army out of Tibet. The Chinese were prepared and they walked in.

The Chinese are also determined and ambitious. Tibet is gone virtually forever. There is no way China will give it up. Tibet is strategically crucial to China. It provides direct land access to Xinjiang for Eastern China. It gives China control of the top of the world and a direct access to Kashmir.

America, frankly, lucked out in Afghanistan. The 2001 attacks allowed America the moral ground to remove the Taleban regime in Afghanistan. Now, America is in control of this vital strategic asset, this gateway between Central Asia, China, Iran, Pakistan and India. It boggles our mind that reasonably patriotic Americans can even consider leaving Afghanistan for the next 10-15 years.

Today, Afghanistan is the land nexus of the World, the World of nearly 3.5 billion people with growing incomes and rising aspirations. America lucked into this nexus position. The question is whether the American mind is prepared to seize this chance the way China did with Tibet.

Unlike Iraq in 2006, this World wants America to stay in Afghanistan. This is of course the real World - India, Iran, Russia, China, Turkey, the Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan & Turkmenistan.

The only regime that does not want America to stay in Afghanistan is the Pakistani Army and the ISI, the Army's Intelligence service. Notice we do not say Pakistan, the country. Because, the Pakistani people will leave peacefully if American pacifies Afghanistan. But as they say in Pakistan, the Pakistani Army owns the country and not the other way around.

If America runs away from Afghanistan, it will never be allowed in again. The game for Afghanistan will begin again, this time with China, Pakistan, India & Iran. We would favor the China-Pakistan axis to win this prize. What is the prize? Central Asia, access to the Persian Gulf and Trade with 3.5 billion people.

If you don't believe us, look at the maps again.


Read the full article. It is interesting.

Fuchs
05-04-2011, 06:14 PM
@Ray; you don't seem to have understood what I meant with the India deal.
I meant to address the one Pakistani interest that totally overrides whatever interest they have in TB and AQ: India's ability to invade Pakistan.

Threaten to push India into such heights of military power that Pakistan would be hopeless and Pakistan would be forced to do just about everything because this touches their core vital interest with a glowing axe.

Bribing Pakistan invited them to play you - threaten them indirectly at their core interest and they'll #### their pants. Even the ISI's vital interest would be hit.

There would not need to be any arms deal. Just the credible threat.

Fuchs
05-04-2011, 06:20 PM
Today, Afghanistan is the land nexus of the World, the World of nearly 3.5 billion people with growing incomes and rising aspirations. America lucked into this nexus position. The question is whether the American mind is prepared to seize this chance the way China did with Tibet.


What a piece of crap.
The most crucial geostrategic spot on earth is Turkey, not a unusable land in Central Asia.

To have AFG means nothing. Even the Philippines are more geostrategically relevant than AFG.


Tell me one influence that could be exerted out of AFG in your nations' advantage (benefit minus cost !!!) that wouldn't be available otherwise.


Tibet is also rather useless. China has nothing to gain from hostility with India but some useless patches of rather barren land. The most interesting thing Tibet does is to distort the Chinese population density statistic.

Ray
05-04-2011, 06:36 PM
@Ray; you don't seem to have understood what I meant with the India deal.
I meant to address the one Pakistani interest that totally overrides whatever interest they have in TB and AQ: India's ability to invade Pakistan.

Threaten to push India into such heights of military power that Pakistan would be hopeless and Pakistan would be forced to do just about everything because this touches their core vital interest with a glowing axe.

Bribing Pakistan invited them to play you - threaten them indirectly at their core interest and they'll #### their pants. Even the ISI's vital interest would be hit.

There would not need to be any arms deal. Just the credible threat.

Maybe.

I am not being rude, but are you even aware of the restrictions that the US wants to impose on arms that they SELL to India?

With due humility I will state that India is not a tinpot democracy like some in the neighbourhood that will sell itself. For your information, India has rejected US Arms and weapons platforms.

It is important to note that we are BUYING and paying for it with hard Cash and we are not in the game to SELL OUR SOULS.

May I request that you would do well to research before you post.


Don't forget that China has great stakes in Pakistan to keep India occupied since China sincerely believes that India can upset their apple cart in Tibet with none the wiser.

Ray
05-04-2011, 06:44 PM
What a piece of crap.
The most crucial geostrategic spot on earth is Turkey, not a unusable land in Central Asia.

To have AFG means nothing. Even the Philippines are more geostrategically relevant than AFG.


Tell me one influence that could be exerted out of AFG in your nations' advantage (benefit minus cost !!!) that wouldn't be available otherwise.


Tibet is also rather useless. China has nothing to gain from hostility with India but some useless patches of rather barren land. The most interesting thing Tibet does is to distort the Chinese population density statistic.

From the Western standpoint, of course it is crap.

However, every action taken from the Western standpoint beyond Europe, has turned out to be total failure and has bogged the West with an Albatross around the Neck!

So, this 'crap' is subjective at best!

Again viewing Tibet as useless is myopic.

Are you aware of the untapped mineral resources in Afghanistan, Xinjiang and Tibet? In a resource dwindling world, it will matter, if not today, at least in the near future. Then you will be crying over spilt milk!! Look beyond into the future and not merely to save your bacon today!

Turkey? How so?

It is time to look at the world without the old 'imperialist Europe' eyeglass!

The centre of gravity has moved East.

Sooner it is realised, it will help to maintain West's supremacy!

Fuchs
05-04-2011, 06:58 PM
The centre of gravity is the earth core.

There's no geostrategic centre of gravity, just especially interesting spots/regions.


On Turkey:

Connector between Arab world, Persians, CIS

Controls Bosporus

In strike range of Suez Canal.

Political connector between orient and occident and not fully joined with any bloc.

Still a NATO member and thus able to veto all major NATO actions.

Good infrastructure (harbours, roads and rail lines that can actually support a major force - unlike Afghanistan).

Easily accessible.

Substantial economy and good growth. Substantial military force (especially in terms of quantity).

---
Meanwhile, AFG is separated from India, borders minimally to the empty end of China and borders on notoriously unreliable Central Asian CIS powers, but not Russia itself.The closest Russian areas are de facto empty. AFG is easily contained because of its land-locked status both land and air, while it has no port whatsoever. Its national infrastructure supports almost nothing. Its economy supports barely itself. AFG is not clearly and strongly involved in anything; it's not allied with any relevant bloc (unless you insist on allying with it) and provides no lever anywhere.

It's a strategically useless piece o c and I lose respect for people who think it's especially valuable in geostrategic terms.

---

Now about supremacy; that's a piece o c as well. Seriously, supremacy is useless. Luxembourg is a nicer place to live than the U.S..
The thirst for power knows no limits in undisciplined minds, though.

Ray
05-04-2011, 07:11 PM
Your theory on Turkey being the centre of gravity does not gel.

Connector between Arab world, Persians, CIS

Are they threats to the West?

Iran is closer to CIS from the CAR and Afghanistan

Controls Bosporus

What is important to the West? Bosporus or Hormuz? Hormuz controls 60% of the world's oil movement.

If CIS is in Afghanistan it is closer since Russia has good ties with Iran. What stops Russia using Iranian ports if Russia adopts a confrontationist stance with the West, having developed Afghanistan as a sphere of influence?

In strike range of Suez Canal.

What is its relevance to the world - the real world in the East?

Political connector between orient and occident and not fully joined with any bloc.

An ancient mindset that hovers around the West as the centre of the world!!

Still a NATO member and thus able to veto all major NATO actions.


NATO is an irrelevance that is being tolerated. It has lost its meaning after the Cold War. They can't even agree to disagree.

Good infrastructure (harbours, roads and rail lines that can actually support a major force - unlike Afghanistan).

Are you aware of the development being undertaken?

jmm99
05-04-2011, 07:55 PM
The suggested article did not move me in the least - except for its use of the "Great Game" terminology. It is not our (US) "Great Game", as far as I am concerned.

The article BTW makes the assertion that:


It boggles our mind that reasonably patriotic Americans can even consider leaving Afghanistan for the next 10-15 years.

So, according to that assertion, I am not a "reasonably patriotic American". To that assertion and similar assertions (note the attack on the message), I say what I have said during and since Vietnam - FOAD.

Just to make it clear, Ray, my message to the "assertion" is definitely not directed at you. You just provided the link and may well have not even realized the impact (on such as me and my ilk) of the pathetic "reasonably patriotic American" piece of cant by the website's author. Them's fighting words in my little neck of the woods.

Here's a point from the article:


Unlike Iraq in 2006, this World wants America to stay in Afghanistan. This is of course the real World - India, Iran, Russia, China, Turkey, the Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan & Turkmenistan.

So, let the "Real World" (sans USA) duly occupy Astan and they all can exploit it. And, if they can't put together an "international mandate" (isn't the Middle East of post-WWI, just such a wonderful example - that's being sarcastic, folks), let them fight, etc., etc.

Regards

Mike

Fuchs
05-04-2011, 09:15 PM
Your theory on Turkey being the centre of gravity does not gel.

A kitten died.


Connector between Arab world, Persians, CIS

Are they threats to the West?

Surprise: Geostrategy is about influence, not only about threats.
Best answer to hostiles in a distant region is to stay away from them.


Iran is closer to CIS from the CAR and Afghanistan

So what? Turkey is a neighbour of Iran just like Afghanistan.


Controls Bosporus

What is important to the West? Bosporus or Hormuz? Hormuz controls 60% of the world's oil movement.

Maybe, but Turkey controls Bosporus, Afghanistan isn't even close to a maritime bottleneck at all.

Turkey: score +1, AFG score +0.


If CIS is in Afghanistan it is closer since Russia has good ties with Iran. What stops Russia using Iranian ports if Russia adopts a confrontationist stance with the West, having developed Afghanistan as a sphere of influence?

Nothing, a few isolated soldiers and diplomats would have no influence whatsoever on Russia using Iranian ports. Russian brain cells would, though. Russia has nothing to gain whatsoever from such a move and its ports are freakishly far away from Iranian Persian Gulf ports and half the Russian navy would break down before it reached any of those.


In strike range of Suez Canal.

What is its relevance to the world - the real world in the East?

Oh, wow. First it was "Old Europe and New Europe, now the whole West is unimportant?
Hint: Afghanistan is in strike range of nothing of relevance at all. Again score +1 Turkey, nothing AFG.


Political connector between orient and occident and not fully joined with any bloc.

An ancient mindset that hovers around the West as the centre of the world!!

Hardly, it's rather a description of the shism between two cultural regions. This shism has been fortified by separate economic development and the description is still useful to describe that the two regions are different.
Turkey is relevant to both - especially politically, but also as the only halfway realistic in-between country.


Still a NATO member and thus able to veto all major NATO actions.


NATO is an irrelevance that is being tolerated. It has lost its meaning after the Cold War. They can't even agree to disagree.

It's not a readily available and willing pool of slavish auxiliary army troops that Americans want it to be, but it's extremely important as a security guarantee for dozens of countries and pacifying a historically extremely warlike continent.
A member like Turkey has great influence on whether NATO stays such a stabiliser or whether it becomes a military adventure club.

In fact, you argued involuntarily for Turkey's importance, for Turkey is part of the reason why NATO didn't agree so easily recently. Again Turkey score +1, Afghanistan +0.


Good infrastructure (harbours, roads and rail lines that can actually support a major force - unlike Afghanistan).

Are you aware of the development being undertaken?

Yeah, show me the military air bases, the huge civilian and government stocks of fuel and food, show me the civilian communication infrastructure, show me the modern ports, show me the two-way rail lines.
Istanbul has by itself more relevant infrastructure than all of Afghanistan.
Turkey +1, AFG +0.001.

carl
05-04-2011, 10:04 PM
Fuchs:

This is just one little point but which is closer to India, China, Indonesia, Thailand and the eastern central Asian 'stans? Afghanistan is. And which countries are likely to be more important in the next 50 years, the countries named above, or Hungary and the Crimea? In my view the countries in the east. Afghanistan is well located.

What does a kitten died mean?

Fuchs
05-04-2011, 11:12 PM
Fuchs:

This is just one little point but which is closer to India, China, Indonesia, Thailand and the eastern central Asian 'stans? Afghanistan is. And which countries are likely to be more important in the next 50 years, the countries named above, or Hungary and the Crimea? In my view the countries in the east. Afghanistan is well located.

What does a kitten died mean?


The centre of gravity is the earth core.

There's no geostrategic centre of gravity, just especially interesting spots/regions.


Your theory on Turkey being the centre of gravity does not gel.

AFG may be closer, but it's not useful.

The relation between Indonesian and Thailand on the one hand and AFG on the other is basically nil.

China has a few kilometres border with AFG, but that means pretty much nothing. It's the empty end of China.
India is behind Pakistan. Effect from AFG on India - nil.

carl
05-04-2011, 11:32 PM
Yea but what does a kitten died mean?

Ray
05-05-2011, 07:18 AM
Mike,

Having observed various posts here and in other threads, I found that they were oriented towards the western point of view.

Nothing wrong there, except all the battlefields have shifted to the East, populated by people, most of whom have no clue of western ways or sensibilities. They obviously would not respond as desired to the western thought. The result would be what it is now! Doldrums! And at what a cost!

I thought it would be worthwhile to append a few links that are from the Orient so that you all get an overall picture and understand the Oriental psychology.

Since the SWJ is populated with highly placed professional and some, who I presume, play a role in policy making, I thought it would be right that one projects to them the Oriental viewpoint so that it would be mutually beneficial and campaigns come to a conclusive and correct end.

There is no doubt that in article from the Orient there will be sentences aimed to inflame the western reader. I think it is done with a purpose. Everyone is aware that Pax Americana has replaced Pax Britannica and no matter how many US Flags are burnt and demonstrations held, all are aware that but for the US, there would be chaos in the third world order.

The thought of having quasi democracy controlled by the Army, wimps ruling democracies, autocratic Sultans and dictators under every stone, is scary. Democracies in the West have stabilised and so all look West.

All are aware that the US wants to reel in, from its overseas campaigns, for obvious reasons.

That is why the authors inflame the American reader to act with anger and say 'OK, we will show you who is patriotic and not patriotic'. Inflame them so that they remain and bring some order, even if chaotic, at least not anarchic as it would be if it were in the hands of the wild.

Notwithstanding, what the author's line is to 'convince' the reader to his point of view, since in the East (apart from Pakistan) there is a serious worry of Russia and China projecting their hegemonic aspirations. It is better to have rough Pollyannas of the West than the Jackboots of Russia and China.

Let me give you another example of the Oriental approach - the killing of OBL.

While secretly all are delighted that he has been killed, yet if you visit websites of the East, you will find that while all find it fine that the bloke is dead and gone, yet political correctness makes many comment on violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan. I am sure it will inflame many Americans, but then that is how the pennies fall in these parts.

While there is no doubt that the patriotic reference is off colour, yet, what is important to note is the apprehension that the article indicates if the US pulls out.

I, for one, am not convinced that the US intervened in Afghanistan to 'teach OBL and AQ a lesson'. I am sure the Americans know better than many, that you can kill an individual, but you cannot kill a thought/idea. Neither, it is true that the US went into Iraq to bring 'Freedom and Democracy' nor was it for oil alone. It was a strategic compulsion to squeeze Russia from the South as the US did by squeezing from the West and then later have those Colour and Floral Revolutions. Likewise, I feel that the US entered the 'cockpit' of the world to exert its influence and reinforce its influence on the southern belly of Russia, peek into China and control indirectly the Uyghurs to extend the US influence and to look East towards Pakistan and India.

If one recollects, what powers the economy is Oil and 60% of the world's oil passes through the Straits of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean. I daresay the US is keen to abdicate its supremacy in the world. Therefore, it is essential to keep a thumb over the sealanes in the Indian Ocean. And who is the US' challenger? China!! And China is oil hungry. Therefore, where is the stranglehold if the push comes to shove? Obviously, the Straits of Hormuz and the Straits of Malacca. The Chinese are no fools and so they are building oil pipeline and highways from Gwadar through Baluchistan via the Karakorum to Xinjiang and thence to Mainland China. China is also doing the same in Myanmar connecting the Myanmar ports to Mainland China and in this instant case, apart from the oil pipeline, the highway, also a rail link!! Thereby even if the Straits of Malacca is blocked oil will still go through to China.

What is the most critical issue in this Gameplan to contain China and like it or not the US is trying its best to contain China, but more of that as we go along. The most critical chokepoint is Straits of Hormuz and who control the flanks? Bahrain, Oman and Iran. That is why while the US is inflamed with Gaddafi and it human rights violation, it is not so with the Sultan of Bahrain, who is no less a despot running a riot on the majority Shias! Note Shias. And, guess what? Iran is Shia and sort of a mentor for all Shias! Dangerous, if nothing else. The current regime in Iran is virulently anti US. Like it or not, the US is keen that this regime goes and so it is doing everything to ensure that it goes. And one day it will go.

That takes me to Baluchistan. If Baluchistan is on the boil it will squeeze Iran from both sides - Iraq and from Baluchistan. And Iran's East is Baluchis! Therefore, enough reasons to foment an Independent Balochistan movement. That will also sort out Pakistan and if one goes through history one will understand the equation of the Balochis with Afghanistan. That is why Balochi rebel leaders find sanctuary in Afghanistan!!

If Baluchistan is 'free', and Afghanistan brought under some control, the Caspian oil shall flow to Gwadar and thence onto the two nations that are hungry for oil - India and China. And since it will be under US control, the finger on the jugular will always be there!! Rule Americana!! I don't think I am to remind that Karzai was selected, yes selected to lead Afghanistan and still being allowed inspite of corruption, is because he is an UNOCAL man, even though I believe UNOCAL is now defunct.

India is being wooed, not only for its market or as an instrument to keep China in check, but also to keep the Bay of Bengal under US surveillance so that, when required the ports of Myanmar which connect to China are nullified. That is why the Indian US Naval exercises take place mainly in the Bay of Bengal with some other navies thrown in, to throw off the scent!

Well I can go on.

Lastly, as I said somewhere in this forum if one reads Dick Cheney's 'Defence Policy Guidelines' when he was the Secretary of Defence and also his National Energy Policy (I don't remember the exact title), one will realise that what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and is happening is but a flow out of these two excellent strategic papers!

Even Rumsfeld (I know you all don't like him) has said in 2001 that he wanted an American boot or bomb to be anywhere in the world within two hours of identifying a threat to the US!

I don't expect anyone to take this without raising their eyebrows, but this is just another thought as to why US will not totally pack its bag from Afghanistan or even Iraq.

Ray
05-05-2011, 07:28 AM
Fuch,

Why did Obama's tour have a long trip of India, Indonesia and Japan extensively?

And why is Vietnam cosying up to the US and vice versa?

I am sure he was not visiting as a tourist, because he missed the Taj Mahal, Bali and the Fuji Yama.

And why were the Chinese dailies infuriated with the Obama visit and wailing shrilly that the US was trying to contain China?

If Turkey was that important in the western strategic matrix, why is it being denied EU status when other nondescript counties of the erstwhile eastern block and breadbasket cases being welcomed with open arms?

Fuchs
05-05-2011, 09:47 AM
Fuch,

Why did Obama's tour have a long trip of India, Indonesia and Japan extensively?

And why is Vietnam cosying up to the US and vice versa?

I am sure he was not visiting as a tourist, because he missed the Taj Mahal, Bali and the Fuji Yama.

And why were the Chinese dailies infuriated with the Obama visit and wailing shrilly that the US was trying to contain China?

If Turkey was that important in the western strategic matrix, why is it being denied EU status when other nondescript counties of the erstwhile eastern block and breadbasket cases being welcomed with open arms?


You should try logic. The importance of A does not lend importance to B without further reasons.

Besides, he did some non-vacation trips to Europe as well.


Tell me; what kind of influence can be exercised from Afghanistan on what's happening in Southeast or East Asia that cannot be exercised if Afghanistan becomes a Chinese or Russian province.

Even IF you could name one influence, you would still need to answer the next question about cost/benefit before the 'AFG is important in geostrategy' line begins to make sense.


And Turkey is being denied EU membership effectively because it's the European Union, not the United Nations. The EU is busy and challenged enough without further mindless expansion.

Dayuhan
05-05-2011, 10:25 AM
I, for one, am not convinced that the US intervened in Afghanistan to 'teach OBL and AQ a lesson'. I am sure the Americans know better than many, that you can kill an individual, but you cannot kill a thought/idea. Neither, it is true that the US went into Iraq to bring 'Freedom and Democracy' nor was it for oil alone. It was a strategic compulsion to squeeze Russia from the South as the US did by squeezing from the West and then later have those Colour and Floral Revolutions. Likewise, I feel that the US entered the 'cockpit' of the world to exert its influence and reinforce its influence on the southern belly of Russia, peek into China and control indirectly the Uyghurs to extend the US influence and to look East towards Pakistan and India.

Cockpit of the world? Hardly. I can't see how a US presence in Afghanistan would squeeze China or Russia in any way, or serve as a strategic asset in any way.


Caspian oil shall flow to Gwadar and thence onto the two nations that are hungry for oil - India and China.

Why would anyone pump oil from the Caspian south to Gwadar and then back north to China... especially when there are already pipelines direct from the Caspian to China via Kazakhstan? It makes no sense at all. And while of course the Chinese are trying to diversify their sources and routes of supply as much as possible (and the Caspian oil producers are trying to develop export routes that don't pass through Russia), these pipelines do nothing to secure the Chinese against an "push comes to shove" effort to cut off Chinese oil supplies. If the US ever decided to try and blockade Chinese oil - essentially in the event of open war - the pipelines would be the easiest of targets, and cutting them off would be far easier than enforcing a naval blockade.

Lots of shaky conclusions based on sketchy evidence and reasoning here.

Ray
05-05-2011, 05:40 PM
You should try logic. The importance of A does not lend importance to B without further reasons.

Besides, he did some non-vacation trips to Europe as well.


Tell me; what kind of influence can be exercised from Afghanistan on what's happening in Southeast or East Asia that cannot be exercised if Afghanistan becomes a Chinese or Russian province.

Even IF you could name one influence, you would still need to answer the next question about cost/benefit before the 'AFG is important in geostrategy' line begins to make sense.


And Turkey is being denied EU membership effectively because it's the European Union, not the United Nations. The EU is busy and challenged enough without further mindless expansion.

Trying logic, not the Fuchs way though!

It is ever so obvious that it does not require recall that the importance of A does not lend itself to B – that is if one observes them as individual entities and not in either the regional or global context.

Is Geopolitics and geostrategy based on a country in a standalone mode? Or is it based on its CNP?

It would be worth your while to read my post to Mike that, in a very simplistic way, indicates the geostrategic inputs that are in play in this region and the interse impact on each other and the US. I am sure you have not had the time to browse through it.

If it matters not if Afghanistan becomes a Chinese or Russian province, then may I ask as to what the US was doing by arming the mujahideens through Pakistan to evict the Soviets?

If it does matter not now whether Afghanistan becomes a Soviet province or not, it should not have mattered then! As I see, it matters now more than before since the Frankenstein they created by default called the AQ, is hell bent to destroy the US!!!!

Since you are keen on cost effectiveness of issues, may I request you to tote up the cost that the US has invested in Afghanistan, in men, materiel, finances and other resources in Afghanistan ever since the days when the US was hell bent to evict the USSR?

Therefore, will all due regards to you, I must confess that I have lost you on the logic that you apply.

If EU is busy and challenged enough without further mindless expansion. and so is keeping Turkey out in the cold, does it not indicate that Turkey is not that important a country than say, Poland, Latvia, Slovakia or Lithuania? They don’t control the Bosporus or any waterway!

As far as what the Obama trip to Asia achieved, you may like to Google.

Ray
05-05-2011, 05:41 PM
Cockpit of the world? Hardly. I can't see how a US presence in Afghanistan would squeeze China or Russia in any way, or serve as a strategic asset in any way.

I am sure you are aware of the US attempts to woo the CAR countries ever since they broke away from Russia. Apart from the Caspian oil, also the other reasons thereof.

Here is a glimpse of the US interests in CAR:


In the summer of 2005, Frederick Starr, chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies published an article in the US Magazine "Foreign Affairs", in which he clearly put forward the vision of the "Great Central Asia" strategy.

Starr proposed in a "Great Central Asia cooperative partnership for development" which will have the US taking the lead, the five Central Asian states and Afghanistan entering as the main members, and India and Pakistan participating in. The main idea of the proposal is to take the US control of the situation in Afghanistan as an opportunity, promote optional and flexible cooperation in security, democracy, economy, transport and energy, and, make up a new region by combining Central Asia with South Asia. The United States is to shoulder the role of a midwife to promote the rebirth of the entire region."

The US government quickly accepted this concept.


Break Russia's dominance in Central Asia

Russia and China are graphically adjacent to each other in Central Asia area. Both countries have their own state interests in the region. The five Central Asian states have common needs for economic development, anti-terrorism and regional security with China and Russia. Under the framework of the SCO, the mutual cooperation between these countries has been enhanced. Correspondingly, the influence of China and Russia in Central Asia is rising.

Obviously, the US is not happy with this situation. The reason why it has brought up the so-called "choosing from the South" policy in Central Asia is that it is determined to use energy, transportation and infrastructure construction as bait to separate Central Asia from the post-Soviet Union dominance. By this means, it can change the external strategic focus of Central Asia from the current Russia-and-China-oriented partnership to cooperative relations with South Asian countries. It can break the long-term Russian dominance in the Central Asian area, it can split and disintegrate the cohesion of the SCO and gradually establish US dominance in the new plate of Central and South Asia.
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200608/03/eng20060803_289512.html

If the US interest in CAR and Afghanistan were not strategically important it would have not spooked China as is evident from the above.


By December, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Krol told the Senate that “The region is at the fulcrum of key U.S. security, economic and political interests. It demands attention and respect and our most diligent efforts. The Obama Administration is committed to that very approach”. Those were not just words. Other Administration documents recognize the fragility of the region’s security situation. Therefore, the U.S. is now pursuing vigorous multi-dimensional initiatives going beyond the war in Afghanistan, which will allow it to maintain a presence in Central Asia after troops begin leaving Afghanistan in 2011. Krol announced the formation of a regular high-level dialogue with Central Asian states to help them resist both Russian and Chinese incursions on their independence, work with the U.S. towards that end, and foster regional cooperation. Obviously, this also means renewed U.S. interest in large-scale investments.

More strikingly, high-level visits to the region have resumed.
http://eurodialogue.org/Is-A-US-Strategy-For-Central-Asia-Emerging%3F

This will also be of interest to know the US Russia equation:

The Medvedev Doctrine and American Strategy
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/medvedev_doctrine_and_american_strategy

The only caution is look at the broad picture and not read selectively or merely be country specific.


Why would anyone pump oil from the Caspian south to Gwadar and then back north to China... especially when there are already pipelines direct from the Caspian to China via Kazakhstan? It makes no sense at all. And while of course the Chinese are trying to diversify their sources and routes of supply as much as possible (and the Caspian oil producers are trying to develop export routes that don't pass through Russia), these pipelines do nothing to secure the Chinese against an "push comes to shove" effort to cut off Chinese oil supplies. If the US ever decided to try and blockade Chinese oil - essentially in the event of open war - the pipelines would be the easiest of targets, and cutting them off would be far easier than enforcing a naval blockade.

Lots of shaky conclusions based on sketchy evidence and reasoning here.

Nothing shaky really.

There is evidence in abundance, but it is expected that others are in the know. Or else, with each thought appending evidence clutters the post as also appears condescending as it assumes that the reader is not conversant with the happening in the world. That is why I tread the issue softly lest it gave reason for umbrage.

At the same time, I seek one’s indulgence one studies the issues with resolve and without being perfunctory.

A valid observation – why pump oil to Gwadar and then through the sealanes north to China?

Suffice it to say that this will explain:


The fact that the countries of the region lack the capital and the technology to proceed independently to the development of these oilfields offers American companies, such as Chevron, considerable investment opportunities.

In this context, we can better understand the geopolitical and economic aims of the US in Central Asia. At the geopolitical level, the United States wants to help the countries of Central Asia to develop their oil and natural gas industries. According to the estimates of the American Government, this development will bring about economic growth and will help these countries move away from the Russian sphere of influence.

At the economic level, the development of the oil industry of these countries means investment opportunities for the American construction and oil companies. Politically, the United States will be in a position to control these new important energy resources and diversify its own sources supply.

American private companies have been supported by the US Government in at least two countries of Central Asia, namely, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Other American political objectives include the containment of Iran and the reinforcement of Turkey's role in the region. The US has not only blocked any pipeline route passing through Iran, but has also cancelled Iran. Ås participation in the international consortium which has undertaken oil production in Azerbaijan
http://www.hri.org/MFA/thesis/winter98/geopolitics.html

There are enough links to indicate the interest and control of CAR oil by US companies. Google is you wish.

If the US controls the oil, then it controls the world economy. Obviously, they will not use the Chinese pipeline, which will not be under their control. Malfunction and hence loss of revenue will result. Instead the US will use their own to Gwadar and then have the Chinese, at their expense, ferry it to China. That is the first issue.

India is also expected to be an oil hungry nation. Gwadar is ideal than having the oil sent through China and then through Nepal to India.

Two birds with one stone!

Pipelines can be interdicted, but if the oil supply of oil is controlled ab initio because the US controls the transshipment, then which is the better option?

In peacetime, the quantum of oil extraction and supply also controls the state of the world market and consequently the world economy. The OPEC has played this game rather well. One of the reasons for Iraq was to control the oil of Iraq (the second largest oilfield in the world) so as to break the OPEC cartel.

I presume none can go to war if the oil supply dwindles (controlled).

Where is the question of a naval blockade to its ‘own’ port, Gwadar?

In case of war, will China be capable of blockading Gwadar if it is under US control?

Fuchs
05-05-2011, 08:08 PM
Ray; you simply don't link the relevance of Asia and/or Persian Gulf oil to Afghanistan.

That's why your assertion of Afghanistan's super importance fails to be logical.


I honestly don't care here about thousands of irrelevant things that are not linked to Afghanistan. Link them to Afghanistan and they may influence the appraisal of Afghanistan's relevance.

Until then you just appear to be someone who cannot think clearly but prefers to cheer the fashion of the day.


Your vague hinting at "context" is NO link.

Ray
05-05-2011, 08:34 PM
You are welcome to your opinions.

I am no missionary roaming the bush for the heathens to convert! :)

However, do Google for the Senate Proceeding on CAR oil. It has the connection.

It came on the website when the Iraq War was about to start IIRC.

Dayuhan
05-06-2011, 11:30 PM
There are enough links to indicate the interest and control of CAR oil by US companies. Google is you wish.

If the US controls the oil, then it controls the world economy. Obviously, they will not use the Chinese pipeline, which will not be under their control. Malfunction and hence loss of revenue will result. Instead the US will use their own to Gwadar and then have the Chinese, at their expense, ferry it to China. That is the first issue.

What on earth are you talking abou? "Their own"? Their own what?

There's a huge confusion here. US Companies, like European and Chinese companies, invest in projects all over the world, including the Caspian. They are typically supported by their governments: support for home-country commercial enterprise is one of the oldest of diplomatic functions. In areas posing political and security risk the Companies mitigate risk by joining consortia with other companies. Major Caspian projects typically involve many companies from many countries, often US, European, Russian, and Chinese.

Just because a US company is involved doesn't mean the US controls the oil or that the oil goes to the US. Far from it. All it means is that a US company gets some of the money. National oil companies in the countries with the oil typically retain controlling interests and decide where the oil will be sold. The notion that investment in a project by a US company somehow equates to US control of the oil is completely absurd.

US companies involved in, say, projects in Kazakhstan would rather see the oil flow direct to China than south through the mess of AfPak. The Chinese pay cash and there's far less security risk.


India is also expected to be an oil hungry nation. Gwadar is ideal than having the oil sent through China and then through Nepal to India.

Why would the Indians do that when the Arabian Gulf is so near at hand? The Caspian isn't the only source of oil.

Caspian oil will flow to Europe through Russia, it will flow to China, and it will flow west through Turkey. Geography, and the geopolitical mess to the south, demand it. Nobody wants to invest in taking that oil south, political and security risk is just too high and there isn't enough to be gained by it.


Pipelines can be interdicted, but if the oil supply of oil is controlled ab initio because the US controls the transshipment, then which is the better option?

How would the US control the transshipment?

Like Fuchs, I see no logic here. I don't see that US involvement in Afghanistan supports US interests in Central Asia... if anything, it undermines them. I don't see how Afghanistan has any great strategic significance: if AQ hadn't located there, the US would never have noticed the place; it's a backwater and of no use to anyone. Even the strategic significance of the Central Asian region overall seems to me wildly overrated by people who have a vested interest in overrating it... we see a great deal of that (witness all the "New Silk Road" nonsense), but it really doesn't mean much.

Ray
05-08-2011, 06:18 AM
What on earth are you talking about? "Their own"? Their own what?

Selective reading without the context has caused this confusion for you. Read the part. 'Their own', if read in context would reveal is US oil companies.


There's a huge confusion here. US Companies, like European and Chinese companies, invest in projects all over the world, including the Caspian. They are typically supported by their governments: support for home-country commercial enterprise is one of the oldest of diplomatic functions. In areas posing political and security risk the Companies mitigate risk by joining consortia with other companies. Major Caspian projects typically involve many companies from many countries, often US, European, Russian, and Chinese.

Just because a US company is involved doesn't mean the US controls the oil or that the oil goes to the US. Far from it. All it means is that a US company gets some of the money. National oil companies in the countries with the oil typically retain controlling interests and decide where the oil will be sold. The notion that investment in a project by a US company somehow equates to US control of the oil is completely absurd.

US companies involved in, say, projects in Kazakhstan would rather see the oil flow direct to China than south through the mess of AfPak. The Chinese pay cash and there's far less security risk.

I don’t find any confusion though.

Of course, companies invest all around the world. In risky parts of the world, the companies tend to not go in for international partnership except with the local govts since the options are normally limited to avoid local partnership.

However, to suggest that US policies are not governed without Business nudging it on the way would be too naïve.

It is too well known that the movers and shakers of US politics and the US government are the commercial companies, to require recall. They play an important part in their govt's policies.

Notwithstanding, this link to CAR oil would indicate the relationship:


The Pursuit of Black Gold: Pipeline Politics on the Caspian Sea
http://www.cfr.org/energy/pursuit-black-gold-pipeline-politics-caspian-sea-rush-transcript-federal-news-service/p14861

That business propels US Govt policies is evident from the fact that the US repeatedly has toppled govt, foisted dictators, helped autocratic Sultans and Sheiks to abuse human rights so as to make the environment ideal for US business.

The US govt connection and commercial interests:

Government Spying for Commercial Gain
https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol37no2/html/v37i2a02p_0001.htm

One link amongst many:

West's greed for oil fuels Saddam fever
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/aug/11/iraq.oil

Therefore, you are right that support for home-country commercial enterprise is one of the oldest of diplomatic functions.

I find it difficult to subscribe to is your contention - Just because a US company is involved doesn't mean the US controls the oil or that the oil goes to the US.

The presence or absence of a US company is a part of US foreign policy interest. Wherever business opportunities have presented itself, the US govt has moved in at the behest of the vested interests to make the area conducive to US business and through its presence further US interests. CAR is an example. With the fall of the USSR opportunities opened up in CAR, which is said to be having the world’s largest untapped source of hydrocarbons. The manner in which the CAR nations have been wooed with money, military training et al by the US is well known. It served in a major way, the US business and its strategic interests to foray into CAR.

On the issue of National oil companies in the countries with the oil typically retain controlling interests and decide where the oil will be sold , that is not true in all cases.

Here is one example:


Standard Oil Company of California (Socal), which was not affected by the Red Line Agreement, gained a concession and found oil in Bahrain in 1932. Socal then sought a concession in Saudi Arabia that became effective in July 1933. Socal assigned its concession to its wholly owned operating subsidiary, California Arabian Standard Oil Company (CASOC). In 1936 Socal sold a part interest in CASOC to Texaco to gain marketing facilities for the crude discovered in its worldwide holdings. The name of the operating company in Saudi Arabia was changed to Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) in January 1944. Two partners, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (later renamed Exxon) and Socony-Vacuum (now Mobil Oil Company), were added in 1946 to gain investment capital and marketing outlets for the large reserves being discovered in Saudi Arabia. These four companies were the sole owners of Aramco until the early 1970s.
http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/40.htm


The connection of Afghanistan and CAR oil:

The Oil Connection: Afghanistan and Caspian Sea oil pipeline routes
http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article17841
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/caspian.html and http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/afghan.html (For more links, also see http://www.mujahideen.fsnet.co.uk/afghanistan-oil.htm )



Why would the Indians do that when the Arabian Gulf is so near at hand? The Caspian isn't the only source of oil.

Because Gwadar is closer.

A penny saved is a penny earned!


Caspian oil will flow to Europe through Russia, it will flow to China, and it will flow west through Turkey. Geography, and the geopolitical mess to the south, demand it. Nobody wants to invest in taking that oil south, political and security risk is just too high and there isn't enough to be gained by it.


Wherever the Caspian oil flows, transit fees will be levied.

If there we no problems the why not let Caspian oil flows through Russia? Why should alternate routes be constructed that avoid Russia?

Risks are high as of now in Afghanistan.

Thereafter?

And what about the positive strategic fallout where Iran is boxed in and Pakistan subdued and weaned away to a great degree from China?

In so far as the oil demand of India and China:



A study by the International Energy Agency (2007) estimates that between 2005 and 2030, developing countries, which have the highest rates of economic growth and population, contribute 74% of the increase of energy consumption, of which China and India will responsible for approximately 45% of that increase. The forecast of the International Energy Agency confirmed, and China became the largest energy consumer in 2010, surpassing the United States - increased relevance if we consider that in 2005 the U.S. consumption was one third larger than the Chinese. Regarding India's projection indicates that from 2005 to 2030 the demand for primary energy will double, and in this same period, coal consumption is expected to triple.
http://saopaulo2011.ipsa.org/sites/default/files/papers/paper-1491.pdf


The country that owns, controls and supplies and feeds this demand is on a win win course.

Thus, Gwadar.

Xinjiang is prone to insurgency. Indian Ocean is relatively safe.



How would the US control the transshipment?

Like Fuchs, I see no logic here. I don't see that US involvement in Afghanistan supports US interests in Central Asia... if anything, it undermines them. I don't see how Afghanistan has any great strategic significance: if AQ hadn't located there, the US would never have noticed the place; it's a backwater and of no use to anyone. Even the strategic significance of the Central Asian region overall seems to me wildly overrated by people who have a vested interest in overrating it... we see a great deal of that (witness all the "New Silk Road" nonsense), but it really doesn't mean much.

If Afghanistan was the backwaters, then why did the US squander money, time, resources to evict the Soviets?

Obviously, for strategic interests.

Strategic interests do not die overnight.

Take the example of Iraq. Freedom and Democracy has come to town. Saddam is dead. Mission Accomplished actually!!

Yet........


Contours of a large and lasting American presence in Iraq starting to take shape

Despite Iraqi leaders' insistence that the United States meet its end-of-2011 deadline for withdrawing all troops, the contours of a large and lasting American presence here are starting to take shape........

The department would use the bases to house a force of private security contractors and support staff that it expects to triple in size, to between 7,000 and 8,000, U.S. officials said.

Ongoing negotiations between the United States and Iraq will determine the number of contractors and bases, as well as the number of uniformed military personnel the United States hopes to keep here to continue training Iraqi security forces, the officials said.....

More at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/12/AR2011011204225.html



I wonder if the strategic interests are overrated by 'vested interests'. I don't think that the people staffing the US Administration are not qualified to chalk out their national aims.

But then, you maybe right.

Business could be driving strategy!

Dayuhan
05-09-2011, 02:18 AM
Selective reading without the context has caused this confusion for you. Read the part. 'Their own', if read in context would reveal is US oil companies.

Read in context it would reveal that reference, it wouldn't make that reference make any sense. The pipeline would not have belonged to or been controlled by US companies under any of the proposed scenarios.

I repeat: investment by US companies or participation of US companies in a consortium does not translate to "US control" of the pipeline or whatever flows through it. Citing the pre-70s Saudi Aramco as an example to the contrary is, I fear, ridiculous. We all know business was once done that way. We all know business isn't done that way any more: there's not a sovereign nation on the planet that would accept such an arrangement in today's world. Anyone who's even vaguely familiar with the way Central Asian energy deals are being structured knows that foreign control is simply not an issue: the US is not going to "control" these resources... nor, frankly, does it need to.

There's been a great deal of utter nonsense written about the proposed TAPI pipeline, and I fear you've bought the lot. The key item of context that's typically missed in these discussions is scale. It's just not that big or important a project. It's not a game-changer; never was.

The intention of the pipeline was to bring a portion of Turkmenistan's natural gas output south to India and Pakistan. For the Turkmens this was part of an effort to diversify export routes: they were simultaneously developing a larger pipeline to China (now in operation) and building up their links to the Russian gas grid. It wasn't about a seismic shift in policy, just a natural diversification. There's never been any question of the US supplanting Russian and Chinese regional influence, for reasons that will be instantly clear to anyone with access to a map.

For India and Pakistan the pipeline would have been one source of energy supply among many. It would not have the capacity to meet all their needs and nobody would be foolish enough to rely on a pipeline crossing such a volatile area. Again, a matter of interest but at no point a critical need or a game-changing project.

In the project's original incarnation, in the Taliban years, the US interest was in using the project as a cash-generating carrot to try to bait more moderate elements in the Taliban into a more engaged stance, and of course the possibility of tossing a project to an American company that was undergoing some hard times (none of the major companies were interested; the project was too small and too risky). Since regime change there have been vague attempts to revive the project, mainly as a way of trying to provide a revenue source for the Afghan government. Of course nobody's really interested in investing, given the security risks.

There is not and never was any great strategic imperative here on the part of the US. The pipeline would not have given "control" of anything, just the potential for Afghanistan to earn a little money. In the old days that was a possible lever to manipulate the Taliban; more recently it's a possible way to let the Afghan government earn a bit on its own and suck a little less off the great American teat, which is running a bit dry at the moment. It's nowhere nearly as large or important as it's been cranked up to be by people who are trying to construct a case for some "all about oil" scenario or some vast regional strategic imperative.


With the fall of the USSR opportunities opened up in CAR, which is said to be having the world’s largest untapped source of hydrocarbons. The manner in which the CAR nations have been wooed with money, military training et al by the US is well known. It served in a major way, the US business and its strategic interests to foray into CAR.

Who says the CAR has the world's largest untapped supply of hydrocarbons?

It's widely believed in energy circles that Caspian reserves have been massively overstated:

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/86

Certainly reserves are significant, but by no means unique or spectacular. There is also no need whatsoever for the US to try to control this oil/gas or get it to the US. It makes far more geographic sense to let it flow to China and to Europe through Russia. Of course that poses risks, but not for the US. Long term there's real potential for Russia-China conflict in the area, but that's all the more reason for the US to keep a light footprint.

Certainly the US has been cozying up to regional governments since the Afghan intervention, but that's more about keeping the northern supply route to Afghanistan open than about trying to "get the oil" or pursue some vast strategic overhaul.



Because Gwadar is closer.

A penny saved is a penny earned!


Gwadar may be closer, but that's not the source of the gas. When you add in the total transport cost from Turkmenistan, it would be cheaper and far less risky for the Indians to load LNG tankers in Qatar and sail them to Mumbai. Of course the Indians want to diversify their sources of supply, but TAPI was never more than a remote possibility for them and it will not be a major problem for them if it never materializes (very likely).


If there we no problems the why not let Caspian oil flows through Russia? Why should alternate routes be constructed that avoid Russia?

It's not an issue for the US. It's an issue for the source countries because if their only export route relies on the Russian grid the Russians get to unilaterally dictate transhipment fees, and sole dependence on Russia for transport would give the Russians more leverage over those countries than they want to allow. Who would want their primary (sole, really) source of revenue completely in the hands of a single foreign country?

None of the states involved in Caspian oil are trying to cut the Russians out. They are actively developing their connections to the Russian grid and shipping substantial amounts of product through that grid. Like China, Russia is a regional power and nobody in the region wants to piss them off They just don't want to be completely dependent on Russia, quite sensibly. It's diversification, not replacement.


Risks are high as of now in Afghanistan.

Thereafter?

Risks look likely to be substantial for a long, long time. It's a messy neighborhood and that's not changing any time soon.


And what about the positive strategic fallout where Iran is boxed in and Pakistan subdued and weaned away to a great degree from China?

I don't see how anything under discussion here - or anywhere - would "box in" Iran or subdue Pakistan. This seems a bit of fantasy.


In so far as the oil demand of India and China:

The country that owns, controls and supplies and feeds this demand is on a win win course.

Thus, Gwadar.

Xinjiang is prone to insurgency. Indian Ocean is relatively safe.

Afghanistan is far more prone to insurgency than Xinjiang, and Xinjiang is under Chinese control, while Afghanistan is not.

The TAPI was never intended to supply China and would not supply China in any event, so the comparison is really quite irrelevant. Of course China badly wants to give its navy access to an Indian Ocean port - logical, given China's dependence on Middle East oil - but that's about building the capacity to protect access to the ME supply route, not about getting access to the minor stream of gas coming through TAPI. Central Asian oil and gas do flow to China and will continue to flow to China, but not via Afghanistan... that would not be a sensible route at all, again the evidence is on any map.


If Afghanistan was the backwaters, then why did the US squander money, time, resources to evict the Soviets?

Obviously, for strategic interests.

Absurd. The US backed the Afghans against the Soviets because they wanted to weaken the Soviets, not because they had strategic interests in Afghanistan. The US would have backed anyone who was fighting the Soviets. Surely you noted that once the Soviets were gone the US dropped Afghanistan like a hot potato, and showed no interest in it at all until AQ settled there. The only interest the US had in Afghanistan in that period was as a means to weaken the Soviets: the Soviet presence and its capacity to drain the Soviet regime were the only strategic interests.

Face it: the US doesn't want Afghanistan. Nobody wants Afghanistan. It's a monumental headache with no strategic or economic value whatsoever. All the rapturous conspiracy theorizing in the world can't make it anything other than that.

carl
05-09-2011, 04:27 AM
Nobody wants Afghanistan. It's a monumental headache with no strategic or economic value whatsoever. All the rapturous conspiracy theorizing in the world can't make it anything other than that.

Taliban & Co. want it and the Pak Army/ISI want them to have it. A lot of other people don't want them to have it. Therein lies the conflict. It may get very, very big.

Ray
05-09-2011, 10:08 AM
Read in context it would reveal that reference, it wouldn't make that reference make any sense. The pipeline would not have belonged to or been controlled by US companies under any of the proposed scenarios.

I repeat: investment by US companies or participation of US companies in a consortium does not translate to "US control" of the pipeline or whatever flows through it. Citing the pre-70s Saudi Aramco as an example to the contrary is, I fear, ridiculous. We all know business was once done that way. We all know business isn't done that way any more: there's not a sovereign nation on the planet that would accept such an arrangement in today's world. Anyone who's even vaguely familiar with the way Central Asian energy deals are being structured knows that foreign control is simply not an issue: the US is not going to "control" these resources... nor, frankly, does it need to.

Read in context is precisely means read in context.

Since we are going nowhere, here is a link:


See What You Want to See: Motivational Influences on Visual Perception

The world that people know is the one they take in through their senses. This is the world they react to—the one their conscious thoughts, feelings, and actions are predicated on. People act on the presumption that the world they are consciously aware of is a comprehensive and accurate representation of the environment that exactly copies the outside world as it truly is.
http://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/news/dp_colloquia/Spring%202010/balcetis%20dunning%202006%20jpsp.pdf

If you wish to project otherwise, one cannot help in anyway to dispel your belief. After all, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

One could state that it is universally applicable.

US control does mean the US govt will have influence on the manner the oil supply affects US strategic and national aims. I would be surprised if it didn’t.

I have provided adequate links to show the interconnection between US business and the US Govt, to include how the CIA is also used.

The Aramco deal was just an example. Obviously, it did not appeal to you. There are many others to include Untied Fruits, but then that too is dated.

Let us take an example nearer to time.

Hugo Chavez!

To believe that there has been no effort to topple Hugo Chavez notwithstanding so many links in the open source would not be ingenuous. And to believe that it was not only for strategic reasons but also because of US Business interests would be totally naïve.

Many trash non Anglo Saxon links as ‘motivated’. So, here is an Anglo Saxon link to leave no doubt.


Venezuela coup linked to Bush team

Specialists in the 'dirty wars' of the Eighties encouraged the plotters who tried to topple President Chavez

The failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the US government, The Observer has established. They have long histories in the 'dirty wars' of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time…….

One of them, Elliot Abrams, who gave a nod to the attempted Venezuelan coup, has a conviction for misleading Congress over the infamous Iran-Contra affair……

The visits by Venezuelans plotting a coup, including Carmona himself, began, say sources, 'several months ago', and continued until weeks before the putsch last weekend….

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/apr/21/usa.venezuela

That apart, here is the relationship between business and US national and strategic interests


The class character of the coup was made obvious by the corrupt Venezuelan oligarchy when its forces installed big business association (Federcamaras) boss Pedro Carmona as interim president. One of Carmona's first moves was to reverse the Chavez government's package of laws which benefited the country's poor majority.

Now, apart from the business interest spurring US Administration’s policy, here is an indicator how hungry the US is for oil and more importantly, CONTROLLING oil.


The interests of the US in Venezuela are partly economic. Venezuela is the world's fourth largest oil exporter and the number three oil supplier to the US. With the instability in the Middle East, the US needs other guaranteed sources of oil.

And here is the long terms US Administration’s interest apart from promoting US business and having them manipulate foreign countries to be subservient to US policies and Strategic Aims.


However, US interests in Venezuela go well beyond oil. Throughout Latin America, the US is facing a growing revolt against privatisation and deregulation, which have been implemented at the insistences of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the US government. As deep economic and social crises grip the continent, Washington fears further radicalisation in other Latin American countries.
http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/27251


Three attempts were made to topple Hugo Chavez!

It is also very obvious that while the US Govt does not have stocks in US Business companies, it promotes wholeheartedly US Business and uses it to further US strategic aims by influencing foreign govts to be subservient through the economic instrument provided by US Business in situ.

Could I ask you to just answer one question to allay any doubts?

Why does the US Govt go out of the way to topple Govts, nurture dictators and authoritarian Sultans , uses Govt instruments like the Armed Forces, CIA?

Is it with the sole purpose to spread Freedom and Democracy and for Altruist and philanthropic reasons?

The answer would adequate rest the case.

I am afraid, the US will and is controlling the oil of the Caspian and US requires to do so to ease the unemployment as also have the economic advantage as a payoff to offset its dire financial state. And alongside business spinoffs, further a robust strategic influence to ‘preempt action against potential threats, and the prevent the emergence of regional rivals’. More of this in the last paragraph of this post.

Ray
05-09-2011, 10:09 AM
contd from above


There's been a great deal of utter nonsense written about the proposed TAPI pipeline, and I fear you've bought the lot. The key item of context that's typically missed in these discussions is scale. It's just not that big or important a project. It's not a game-changer; never was.

The intention of the pipeline was to bring a portion of Turkmenistan's natural gas output south to India and Pakistan. For the Turkmens this was part of an effort to diversify export routes: they were simultaneously developing a larger pipeline to China (now in operation) and building up their links to the Russian gas grid. It wasn't about a seismic shift in policy, just a natural diversification. There's never been any question of the US supplanting Russian and Chinese regional influence, for reasons that will be instantly clear to anyone with access to a map.

For India and Pakistan the pipeline would have been one source of energy supply among many. It would not have the capacity to meet all their needs and nobody would be foolish enough to rely on a pipeline crossing such a volatile area. Again, a matter of interest but at no point a critical need or a game-changing project.

In the project's original incarnation, in the Taliban years, the US interest was in using the project as a cash-generating carrot to try to bait more moderate elements in the Taliban into a more engaged stance, and of course the possibility of tossing a project to an American company that was undergoing some hard times (none of the major companies were interested; the project was too small and too risky). Since regime change there have been vague attempts to revive the project, mainly as a way of trying to provide a revenue source for the Afghan government. Of course nobody's really interested in investing, given the security risks.

There is not and never was any great strategic imperative here on the part of the US. The pipeline would not have given "control" of anything, just the potential for Afghanistan to earn a little money. In the old days that was a possible lever to manipulate the Taliban; more recently it's a possible way to let the Afghan government earn a bit on its own and suck a little less off the great American teat, which is running a bit dry at the moment. It's nowhere nearly as large or important as it's been cranked up to be by people who are trying to construct a case for some "all about oil" scenario or some vast regional strategic imperative.

Indeed, a great deal of utter nonsense written about the proposed TAPI pipeline, and your fear you've bought the lot maybe true. But then I am looking at it from the geostrategic standpoint devoid of emotions and what is available as open source.

Let us look at the TAPI from the US standpoint (taking it that the insurgency is over/ controlled to the US’ advantage). What are the advantages to the US?

1. It will boost the US economy unless they repatriate the money to tax havens or to non US banks.

2. It will give employment to many US citizens, white collar and blue collar and reduce US unemployment figure.

3. Note the positive political fallout for the President who does that.

4. Strategically, it will box Iran from two sides i.e. Balochistan and Iraq.

5. The US will be able to keep Eastern Iran on the boil with the help of the Sunni Jhundallah making forays from Balochistan.

6. The US can use oil as an economic ‘weapon’ against India as also China, if exporting to China through Gwadar (lest you contest that US does not use ‘strings’ in their foreign policy, there are adequate links to indicate that US does).

7. By having a ‘lien’, or if you wish, a ‘presence’ in Gwadar, it will nullify Chinese interest in this region; and if not nullify, monitor the Chinese activities there and even use the CIA to further US interests as it has done so successfully in Pakistan.

8. By using Gwadar, the US will have legitimate reason to have a US sizeable naval presence in the Indian Ocean in general and the Arabian Sea in particular.

9. The entry to the Straits of Hormuz, through which 60% of the world oil moves will be effectively controlled.

10. In the event, Iran scuttles ships to block the Straits of Hormuz, the US will be able to effectively remove it from the South from Gwadar and not depend on the Bahrain Base, where it can be challenged by Iran just across the Straits. It may also be noted that Bahrain has a Shia majority which can become pro Iran. (you may contest this, but when it comes to religion and sect, they side their religion and sect notwithstanding the where the rationale should lie. The worldwide prayers for the No 1 terrorist of the world, Osama, are cases in point!)

Now, compare the advantages economic and strategic in pumping CAR oil of US companies through Chinese pipeline.

In addition, if there is no TAPI, then the huge Indian oil and gas market would be lost and India may go in for Iran Pakistan India pipeline and give the required financial lifeline to Iran and to the US’ disadvantage.

Now comes the real McCoy! If indeed the TAPI pipeline was ‘utter nonsense’ as you put it, then maybe this may interest you that some are not taking it to be ‘utter nonsense’.


TAPI gas pipeline talks begins

April 26, 2011 18:33 IST


The four nations to the US- backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project began discussing gas sales and other details of the $ 7.6 billion project, but are unlikely to conclude any agreement at the end of four day talk this week….
http://www.rediff.com/business/report/tapi-gas-pipeline-talks-begins/20110426.htm

The dateline may be worth noting!

As far as the Caspian pipelines the intention of the Caspian pipelines is not in any way US Administration’s philanthropic zeal.

And, yes, I have a map, if not many and in different scales too (since you raise that issue)! The maps and the facts available in the open sources do not indicate that the US is around the Caspian just for the business companies alone!!

I daresay the US Govt is supporting US Oil companies in the Caspian merely to buttress efforts, to help Russian growth by building up their links to the Russian gas grid.

The undermentioned prompt my contention.

Here is a snip on Russian Growth and oil


"Oil is very interesting because energy companies in Russia are the cheapest globally, and demand from emerging economies is going to be higher," says Ghadir Abu Leil-Cooper, head of Europe Middle East and Africa equities at Barings, reached in London. Economic stimulus in China is focused on infrastructure spending that is pushing up commodity prices and directly benefiting Russia, Dr. Abu Leil-Cooper says.
http://www.excelfunds.com/media/news_files/EmergingEurope_IntheNews.pdf


And on Russia’s economic growth and Russia’s negative influence on the Western world.


Russia’s economic revival in the last decade has been remarkable. Gross domestic product per capita, adjusted for purchasing power parity, increased from less than $7,000 in 1999 to almost $16,000 in 2008—around that of Ireland in 1987 or Portugal in 1989.14 The government repaid all its loans to the IMF and reduced its foreign debt to about 2 percent of GDP, less than the annual state deficit of many G20 countries.15 Even after the recent global crisis, Russia’s currency reserves—just $8 billion in 1999—stood at $476 billion, the third largest in the world, exceeded only by those of China and Japan.1 Incomes of both rich and poor Russians surged, rising by more than 8 percent a year in 2000-08….

In recent years, they have set up a state corporation to develop nanotechnology and an “innovation city” outside Moscow to incubate high technology projects….

In 2008 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned that Europe risked being caught in “an energy stranglehold” by “states such as Russia,” that were “increasingly using their energy resources as policy tools.”……
Conscious of this, the Kremlin has been understandably unenthusiastic about projects to build competing pipelines that would supply Europe with gas from Central Asia….

Russia‟s second key interest is in the prevalence of friendly governments in neighboring states….

Some see in Putin‟s foreign policy a more sinister design: to reimpose Russian hegemony over the former Soviet states, and perhaps even parts of Eastern Europe, by means of economic and military pressures and threats…..

Why the US needs Russia

You may like to read the same from the link.

Does Russia need the US?

For the reasons just discussed, Russia‟s cooperation could make a big difference to the success or failure of American global policies. But is the reverse true? Does Russia need Washington‟s help to achieve its key goals? The short answer is no.
http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/shleifer/files/ShleiferTreismanSept282010FA.pdf

I am sorry I have to append such a long extract because I find that it has become necessary to do so, so that things could be seen it a greater perspective than is being seen so far and the obvious is required to be explained.

Therefore, given the growth of Russia and knowing that Russia appears to be holding the trumps, it is obvious that wily nily the US Administration or US Companies will NOT help broaden the Russia CAR grid so as to make US interests more difficult to sustain.

Ray
05-09-2011, 10:10 AM
contd from above

Your contention – In the project's original incarnation, in the Taliban years, the US interest was in using the project as a cash-generating carrot to try to bait more moderate elements in the Taliban into a more engaged stance, is rather youthful.

It is engaging to learn that the US was planning to go through such an extensive and time-consuming exercise of building a pipeline, pumping oil, the guarding the pipeline against terrorist forays and losing more American lives than already is being done, merely to organise a ‘cash generating carrot’!!!! I seriously cannot subscribe to such a thought since I hold the US policymakers in greater esteem than what such a thought would suggest.
I feel so more because would not it have been easier to simply stash in a lesser amount in Swiss banks for anyone who has to be lured with a ‘carrot’? It would surely save the bother and American lives.


Who says the CAR has the world's largest untapped supply of hydrocarbons?

It's widely believed in energy circles that Caspian reserves have been massively overstated:

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/86

The article states What is seldom pointed out in such articles, however, is that these Caspian “oil riches” are essentially a myth manufactured by the United States Geological Service (USGS), the US Energy Information Administration (EIA),

It merely proves my point that US Administration’s strategic aims can be ‘manufactured’ to suit Business companies. Since the US business is accountable to the stock holders, it is convenient for ‘sponsored’ hype (call it myth, if you wish) by the Management so as to expand the business to the best of the Management’s interest and what could be better than having Govt agencies endorsement?

This article was published Sep 30 2003.

And when did the exploitation by Eni/Agip, BG, BP, ExxonMobil, Inpex, Phillips, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, and TotalFinaElf started?

Could this also not be in the realm of ‘sponsored’ news?


Certainly reserves are significant, but by no means unique or spectacular. There is also no need whatsoever for the US to try to control this oil/gas or get it to the US. It makes far more geographic sense to let it flow to China and to Europe through Russia. Of course that poses risks, but not for the US. Long term there's real potential for Russia-China conflict in the area, but that's all the more reason for the US to keep a light footprint.

If Venezuelan oil and business can excite toppling of Hugo Chavez, then the CAR oil in comparison is huge and the strategic interest larger as explained earlier!


Certainly the US has been cozying up to regional governments since the Afghan intervention, but that's more about keeping the northern supply route to Afghanistan open than about trying to "get the oil" or pursue some vast strategic overhaul.

Geoplotics and geostrategy is not a ONE POINT agenda. The inputs are best explained by the Chinese concept of CNP (Comprehensive National Power).

It would be worth the while to see how much of oil is being hauled for the ISAF through the Northern Route.


The NDN (Northern Distribution Network (NDN)) has also become a key component of ISAF’s fuel-supply infrastructure. During 2009, its daily fuel consumption increased from 2 million to 4.1m litres per day, meaning that more fuel had to be imported via Afghanistan’s northern borders. According to the DLA, approximately 40% of the fuel contracted by the US
Defense Energy Support Center is produced in Pakistani refineries and transported via truck into Afghanistan, while the fuel that it acquires from Central Asia (in particular Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan) accounts for approximately 60% of the overall contracted volumes and is shipped via the NDN.

NATO has also begun using the NDN.

This is from my archives. You may Google, if you feel that it is not correct.


Gwadar may be closer, but that's not the source of the gas. When you add in the total transport cost from Turkmenistan, it would be cheaper and far less risky for the Indians to load LNG tankers in Qatar and sail them to Mumbai. Of course the Indians want to diversify their sources of supply, but TAPI was never more than a remote possibility for them and it will not be a major problem for them if it never materializes (very likely).

I have explained it earlier in this post.

If TAPI was a fantasy, then Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India would not be discussing it as late as 2011!!
(link given above)

What is the cost of pumping oil vs carting it in tankers? I wonder if tankers come cheaper than oil pipelines.

The ideal, if you want to know, is the Iran – Pakistan – pipeline. But then……

Again the victim of geopolitics and geostrategy that is not only triggered by US Administration’s strategic interest, but also by US business interests and in this case, the US oil lobbies!

The easiest, economical and safest way to cart CAR oil to ports and thence onwards is through Iran!!

Guess why this is not going to happen?

US Administration’s strategic and business interests.

And we say there is no connection between the US strategic and business interest!!!!!



It's not an issue for the US. It's an issue for the source countries because if their only export route relies on the Russian grid the Russians get to unilaterally dictate transhipment fees, and sole dependence on Russia for transport would give the Russians more leverage over those countries than they want to allow. Who would want their primary (sole, really) source of revenue completely in the hands of a single foreign country?

None of the states involved in Caspian oil are trying to cut the Russians out. They are actively developing their connections to the Russian grid and shipping substantial amounts of product through that grid. Like China, Russia is a regional power and nobody in the region wants to piss them off They just don't want to be completely dependent on Russia, quite sensibly. It's diversification, not replacement.

One has to only look at the US Strategic Policy and what I have appended earlier.

Russia feels cut off.

And others are not quite making the desired inroads, except China to some extent.




Risks look likely to be substantial for a long, long time. It's a messy neighborhood and that's not changing any time soon.

Fortune favours the brave.


I don't see how anything under discussion here - or anywhere - would "box in" Iran or subdue Pakistan. This seems a bit of fantasy.

Fantasy to those not in the region.

But no fantasy to Pakistan.

They have made muted noises against US, but they have made India the US proxy of problems in Balochistan.

Google!


Afghanistan is far more prone to insurgency than Xinjiang, and Xinjiang is under Chinese control, while Afghanistan is not.

But how long does it take the US to make the cold area ‘warm’? They are no greenhorns in the game either!!

Take Tibet. India is blamed by the Chinese. But guess from where the new Prime Minster of Tibet was elected and where did he get his instructions to higher education?


The TAPI was never intended to supply China and would not supply China in any event, so the comparison is really quite irrelevant. Of course China badly wants to give its navy access to an Indian Ocean port - logical, given China's dependence on Middle East oil - but that's about building the capacity to protect access to the ME supply route, not about getting access to the minor stream of gas coming through TAPI. Central Asian oil and gas do flow to China and will continue to flow to China, but not via Afghanistan... that would not be a sensible route at all, again the evidence is on any map.

I wouldn’t know if TAPI was for China, but then open sources indicate it so and I am tired of appending links.

Take it or leave it.

I hope you are aware of Chinese fuel needs and if it is being met.



Absurd. The US backed the Afghans against the Soviets because they wanted to weaken the Soviets, not because they had strategic interests in Afghanistan. The US would have backed anyone who was fighting the Soviets. Surely you noted that once the Soviets were gone the US dropped Afghanistan like a hot potato, and showed no interest in it at all until AQ settled there. The only interest the US had in Afghanistan in that period was as a means to weaken the Soviets: the Soviet presence and its capacity to drain the Soviet regime were the only strategic interests.

Face it: the US doesn't want Afghanistan. Nobody wants Afghanistan. It's a monumental headache with no strategic or economic value whatsoever. All the rapturous conspiracy theorizing in the world can't make it anything other than that.

So, I take it that the US backed and sponsored Mujhahiddens in Afghanistan to weaken USSR. Is that not a strategic intent?

And the US having created the Islamic Frankenstein who is battling the US worldwide, and who the US is hell bent in destroying, is not a strategic intent?

And in not leaving Pakistan and Afghanistan to once again become a factory to take the Islamic war to the US not a strategic intent?

Afghanistan is not an economic value? What are the Chinese doing there? Distributing Mao’s Red Book?

With all regards, don’t you think you are defending the indefensible with contentions that the pipeline is an attempt to dangle carrots or that the US has no strategic or economic interest in the CAR and Afghanistan?

Why do I feel that the US policymakers are neither naïve, simpletons or globetrotting Pollyannas?

Ray
05-09-2011, 10:11 AM
contd from above

Because it would be worthwhile to read the following regarding the US Strategy formulation and then judging them.


The 1992 Defense Policy Guidance, crafted by then-Defense Department staffers I. Lewis Libby and Paul Wolfowitz at the behest of Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, is widely regarded as an early formulation of the neoconservatives' post-cold war agenda. When a draft version of the policy guidance, which typically outlines the U.S. defense posture and goals, was leaked to the New York Times, the ensuing public outcry prompted the White House to order a new guidance. Of the many points causing controversy were the document's call for unilateral military action in parts of the world considered important to U.S. interests, preemptive action against potential threats, and the prevention of the emergence of regional rivals.

The guidance argued: "Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia. There are three additional aspects to this objective: First the U.S must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. Second, in the non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."

When the Bush administration released the unclassified version of its National Security Strategy, observers remarked on the many similarities between the draft guidance and the new strategy, particularly their mutual call for a preemptive defense posture. The guidance also bears a striking resemblance to the founding statement of principles of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), released on June 3, 1997. Not too surprisingly, Wolfowitz and Libby--who both serve in the Bush II Pentagon--were signatories to the statement, along with Cheney and several other current Bush officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, Zalmay Khalilzad, Peter Rodman, and Elliott Abrams.

Like the guidance, the PNAC statement called for U.S. global leadership and preemptive action, arguing, "Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl.../etc/wolf.html
http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...nss-020920.pdf
http://www.newamericancentury.org/st...principles.htm

One could trash the 1992 Defence Policy Guidelines, but the events that have occurred is totally copybook to what it enunciated.

Political parties in Government can change in a country, but rarely is there any drastic change in strategy or policies, the on and oft pious platitude and mealy mouthed proclamation notwithstanding.

The Obama Administration does not show any signs of backtracking from these Guidelines, for it were to do so, why are they still wanting to have well staffed Bases in Iraq? I gave a link earlier, which you avoid answer.
And this part is important to note:


"There are three additional aspects to this objective:

First the U.S must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.

Second, in the non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order.

Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/iraq/etc/wolf.html

If the US is not relinquishing its interest in Iraq, it would be extraordinary to feel that the Obama Administration would drastically go contrary to the strategic line so far adopted in so far as Afghanistan is concerned.

Osama maybe dead, but is the AQ and the terrorists a dead issue?

And where is the womb of International Terrorism and who (which country) harbour, nurtures and protects them?

I wonder if the Obama Administration will have the ‘nous’ to abdicate the mission and allow 9/11 to be re-enacted again.


In conclusion, I am only an observer of the strategic realm and my views are based on reading and mulling from open sources.

It matters not in the least for me if the US quits Afghanistan or not.

It is for the US Administration to take the call. I have no idea of how deep an effect the loss of American lives have on the formulation of the US national and strategic aims and I also don’t know if the US is ready to lose all that it built up so assiduously over the Cold War era to become the sole superpower to adversaries waiting in the wings with bated and eager anticipation.

The US activities, the US policy postulations in the open source arena or even the US reaction to the killing of Osama in a true US fashion of brushing aside all international niceties to achieve the US aim (and I have been flooded with telephone calls not only from the Anglo Saxon Americans but also the non Anglo Saxon segment exuding total glee that none can take the US to be fools) , leads me to believe that US is not in the least philanthropic nor a pushover when it comes to ensuring its national and strategic aim and its position that it continues and will continue in its pursuit to be the sole superpower of the world and also the global policeman and that it will brook no obstacles to that aim.

The US is no Sugar Daddy to the world’s Little Orphan Annies! Sugar Daddy Warbucks for sure!

Fuchs
05-09-2011, 02:01 PM
There's so much nonsense and noise of irrelevant stuff in your posts that I'll simply pick only one part in order to save time:


Let us look at the TAPI from the US standpoint (taking it that the insurgency is over/ controlled to the US’ advantage). What are the advantages to the US?

(...)

9. The entry to the Straits of Hormuz, through which 60% of the world oil moves will be effectively controlled.

You should seriously check whether you've got what it takes to think about (geo)strategy, and you should begin the check at this quote. It's utter nonsense.


For starters, you are asserting a completely wrong figure.
The crude oil production of all Persian Gulf countries is much less than 30 % of world crude oil production. NOT 60%.
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2173rank.html
Furthermore, not all of their oil production is being exported through the Gulf of Hormuz.

Next, the entire idea that a pipeline could lend control of a distant strait is total BS.


And that's how it goes on all the time in your replies. It's as if you were writing "I don't think clearly, but this is what I can dream up and what I picked up off some recent fashion." a hundred times.

Or, to be more gentle: You should seriously think about connecting dots instead of spraying them.

Dayuhan
05-09-2011, 02:03 PM
I don't see how any of that demonstrates anything but a penchant for verbosity... perhaps you'd care to break off just a single little piece of it for discussion? There's just too much volume there, and too much of it completely peripheral, to wade through and try to distill out the point,

Ray
05-09-2011, 04:17 PM
There's so much nonsense and noise of irrelevant stuff in your posts that I'll simply pick only one part in order to save time:



You should seriously check whether you've got what it takes to think about (geo)strategy, and you should begin the check at this quote. It's utter nonsense.


For starters, you are asserting a completely wrong figure.
The crude oil production of all Persian Gulf countries is much less than 30 % of world crude oil production. NOT 60%.
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2173rank.html
Furthermore, not all of their oil production is being exported through the Gulf of Hormuz.

Next, the entire idea that a pipeline could lend control of a distant strait is total BS.


And that's how it goes on all the time in your replies. It's as if you were writing "I don't think clearly, but this is what I can dream up and what I picked up off some recent fashion." a hundred times.

Or, to be more gentle: You should seriously think about connecting dots instead of spraying them.


I don't see how any of that demonstrates anything but a penchant for verbosity... perhaps you'd care to break off just a single little piece of it for discussion? There's just too much volume there, and too much of it completely peripheral, to wade through and try to distill out the point,

How droll.

If a person does not understand the importance of the Straits of Hormuz, what can one say?


Bahrain is also home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, a major logistics hub for the U.S. Navy ships. The island is located halfway down the Persian Gulf, just off the coast of Saudi Arabia, and is something of a rest stop for U.S. Navy ships cruising the waters of the Persian Gulf.

With about 30 ships (including two aircraft carriers) the Fifth Fleet patrols the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the east coast of Africa.
http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/166187.html


I presume the US has loose change to squander.

Fifth Fleet (30 ships including two aircraft carriers) are positioned in a narrow strip of water just to see some belly dancing (if it is permitted)!

It is so tricky for navigation that on January 10, 2007, the nuclear submarine USS Newport News, travelling submerged, struck M/V Mogamigawa, a 300,000-ton Japanese-flagged very large crude tanker, south of the strait

And to imagine that 30 Ships and two Aircraft carriers are holed up there!!

The Fifth Fleet is Arab dhows, right?

BTW, I don't dream. Those who are on facing the flak, don't dream. They cannot afford to do so.

That is why I back my contentions with links.

I cannot afford the pomposity that some can.



***********

Of course, verbosity is the excuse to not go through the links at least.

And oh yes, everything is peripheral and bogus!

You alone are the custodian of the Gospel!

The point to note is that I don't act like a self opinionated knowall. I back it up with links.

Do you?

I can find the links pronto because I know the subject.

I wonder who is verbose and gerrymandering!

Fuchs
05-09-2011, 05:07 PM
How droll.

If a person does not understand the importance of the Straits of Hormuz, what can one say?

I think this constitutes trolling.
Well, either that or you have a worse problem with logic than I assumed previously.

My reply wasn't even about the importance of the Strait of Hormuz.


One last attempt, in very simple terms:

A 9mm pistol is lethal.
You are still alive.
Reason: I didn't shoot you with the pistol.
The lethality of the pistol is utterly irrelevant for your survival.

Likewise, the importance of the Strait of Hormuz is irrelevant for the importance of Afghanistan and the pipeline project lends nobody control over the Strait or its approaches.

Steve Blair
05-09-2011, 06:05 PM
This thread is starting to wander into the realm of personal attacks. Let's all keep it civil, shall we?

Dayuhan
05-10-2011, 05:30 AM
That is why I back my contentions with links.

The problem here is that the links don't back the contentions... many of them seem to have no relevance at all to the contentions. Examples would be the above discourse on the straits of Hormuz and the prior excursions on the subject of Hugo Chavez and US-Russian relations, among others.

I've no objection to citing links, but one prefers them to be kept to a limited volume, and ideally they'd be related to the points under discussion. Most of us can use Google, and if we chose to we could post any number of links. Some of us prefer to make our own points.


Of course, verbosity is the excuse to not go through the links at least.

Actually yes, it is. There's just too much of it. 4-5 consecutive posts filled with extended digressions gives the impression of trying to achieve with quantity what is lacking in quality... possibly that impression is inaccurate, but it's still what voluminous sequential posting tends to communicate. Again, I'd suggest breaking off a specific subject and focusing on it, rather than piling on post after massive post stuffed full of material that often has little or no connection to the original subject. There's just no reasonable way to structure a response to that without spending more time and effort than any of us has available. Maintaining some degree of focus and brevity is a demonstration of courtesy toward other parties to the discussion.


The point to note is that I don't act like a self opinionated knowall.

Actually you do come across a bit that way. Unintentionally I'm sure, but you do. The links really don't matter that much... after all, "open source" is just a refined word for "stuff I saw on the innernet". The connection is what counts, and the connections here seem, frankly, a bit strained.


I can find the links pronto because I know the subject.

Others may know the subject too, even those who don't agree with you. Shocking, I know, but true...

Like Fuchs, I'd point out that while we all recognize the importance of the Straits of Hormuz, the proposed connection between the Straits of Hormuz and the hypothetical strategic significance of Afghanistan remains undemonstrated. In deference to the legitimate concern of the moderator I shall refrain from introducing or pursuing the subject of pistols.

A specific item or two from the deluge, if only to demonstrate some minimal commitment to civility...


Your contention – In the project's original incarnation, in the Taliban years, the US interest was in using the project as a cash-generating carrot to try to bait more moderate elements in the Taliban into a more engaged stance, is rather youthful.

It is engaging to learn that the US was planning to go through such an extensive and time-consuming exercise of building a pipeline, pumping oil, the guarding the pipeline against terrorist forays and losing more American lives than already is being done, merely to organise a ‘cash generating carrot’!!!! I seriously cannot subscribe to such a thought since I hold the US policymakers in greater esteem than what such a thought would suggest.

You don't seem to have read the post you were responding to.

At the time of the project's original incarnation, the US was not engaged in any military adventure in Afghanistan. The US did not propose to "go through such an extensive and time-consuming exercise of building a pipeline, pumping oil, the guarding the pipeline against terrorist forays and losing more American lives than already is being done". The US only proposed to facilitate a deal whereby the Taliban would allow a consortium to build and operate the pipeline, which would have provided the Taliban with an ongoing revenue stream and (from the US perspective) the kind of connection to the global economy that is assumed to produce moderate behaviour. To put it bluntly, once the Taliban became dependent on pipeline revenues, they'd be far more vulnerable to sanctions.

At no point in this original incarnation of the project did the US Government propose to build, operate or secure the pipeline. It merely offered to facilitate a project, which is a very normal and common form of officially sanctioned state-to-state bribery. Happens all the time.

I am quite familiar with the history of the project, and none of the proposed structures or scenarios would have given the US any kind of "control" over the operation of the pipeline or the destination of the product. I have never seen any serious proposal aimed at bringing Caspian oil or gas to China via a southern route. There's no geographic logic to it, especially given the limited capacity of the proposed TAPI pipeline and the large sums the Chinese have already invested in the much more direct gas pipeline linking them with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and the oil pipeline to Kazakhstan.

Ray
05-10-2011, 03:13 PM
What follows is a brief summary of why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why we will be there for quite some time.

1. Iraq: Strategic military bases needed to protect U.S. economic interests in the region, including military operations in Afghanistan. This is why the Iraq war took precedence over Afghanistan for years.

2. Afghanistan: We are in Afghanistan so that the major oil companies and infrastructure contractors can build pipelines, airports, highways, etc., without interference from the Taliban and other hostile forces, effectively keeping Iran, China and Russia from holding the United States an "energy hostage" so to speak.

3. Iran is bordered by Iraq on the left and Afghanistan on the right.

http://www.takingon.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82:iraq-a-afghanistan-read-this-then-say-qstop-these-warsq&catid=63:war&Itemid=64

One may like to check the links in this article.

This link contained in the article indicates the importance of oil in the strategic thinking enunciated by successive US Presidents.

http://www.bloodandoilmovie.com/

Oil and gas are not the direct causes of the war in Afghanistan, but understanding the motives of long-term US policy is important.
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?213804

Is It Time to Get Out of Afghanistan?

Fuchs
05-10-2011, 03:48 PM
What follows is a brief summary of why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why we will be there for quite some time.

I do not think that you can soothsay.


1. Iraq: Strategic military bases needed to protect U.S. economic interests in the region, including military operations in Afghanistan. This is why the Iraq war took precedence over Afghanistan for years.

Economic interests were marginal in comparison to war costs, or even in comparison to long-term presence costs. Economic interests are thus hardly a reason. Lobbyism and political corruption maybe.

The U.S. has military bases in Kuwait, Qatar and elsewhere in the region. Iraq was not needed - contrary, military bases are much safer in Qatar than in Iraq.


2. Afghanistan: We are in Afghanistan so that the major oil companies and infrastructure contractors can build pipelines, airports, highways, etc., without interference from the Taliban and other hostile forces, effectively keeping Iran, China and Russia from holding the United States an "energy hostage" so to speak.

That's a mere fantasy. Again, at best the motivator is corruption, more likely it's a failure of logic. Those companies could easily invest elsewhere and it would not nearly cost as much.
Besides, the U.S. lacks a lot of capital investment at home. To support non-sales direct investments abroad is a near-suicidal stupidity of U.S. policymakers.


3. Iran is bordered by Iraq on the left and Afghanistan on the right.

http://www.takingon.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82:iraq-a-afghanistan-read-this-then-say-qstop-these-warsq&catid=63:war&Itemid=64

One may like to check the links in this article.

This link contained in the article indicates the importance of oil in the strategic thinking enunciated by successive US Presidents.

http://www.bloodandoilmovie.com/

Oil and gas are not the direct causes of the war in Afghanistan, but understanding the motives of long-term US policy is important.
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?213804

Is It Time to Get Out of Afghanistan?

A healthy, logical mind can easily calculate that the U.S. has spent more on military and other adventures in the Mid East than it ever spent on imported oil. It's a losing adventure, a stupid idea.
You cannot steal oil any more as a state (big oil does it all the time by not paying properly for drilling concessions, though).
The U.S. could have reduced its oil dependency easily 1-2 decades ago by investing in such a structural change instead of spending on military for Mid East disaster adventures.
It would not need to bother about the Mid East at all any more if it was smart.

Ray
05-10-2011, 04:15 PM
I never said a thing in the above post.

I merely reproduced the link.

Those who took a little trouble and saw the link would realise the same.

Also, it is the successive US President and other important (so I presume) Americans who have spoken on oil.

Fuchs
05-10-2011, 04:47 PM
important ≠ wise

Dayuhan
05-10-2011, 11:10 PM
We are in Afghanistan so that the major oil companies and infrastructure contractors can build pipelines, airports, highways, etc., without interference from the Taliban and other hostile forces, effectively keeping Iran, China and Russia from holding the United States an "energy hostage" so to speak.

You might want to enlarge on that a bit, because it really doesn't make much sense. How would presence in Afghanistan prevent the US from being held an "energy hostage? Afghanistan is neither an energy producer nor a significant corridor. The TAPI proposal would have been significant, though not in any way indispensable, to Turkmenistan. It would have been significant, though not in any way indispensable, to Pakistan and India. The biggest beneficiary would be the Afghan government: transhipment revenues would not be huge, but given the Afghan government's extreme paucity of revenue sources it would have been a major event. From the perspective of the US, or of global markets overall, the project was really pretty irrelevant, and it was barely noticed when it was shelved. Again, scale: the total designed capacity was just not that large, a small drop in a very large bucket. Impact on global energy markets would have been negligible, certainly nothing even remotely close to worth fighting a war over.

China competes with the US to purchase energy, but the effect of that is higher prices, not restricted availability. Russia could hold Europe hostage to some extent, but they'd suffer too: they need the money and the vast bulk of their transport grid runs to Europe, making it difficult for them to ship elsewhere (Russia depends on pipelines, which are a lot less flexible than tankers, to ship its product). Russia does not supply the US. The US is perfectly happy to see Central Asian oil flow to China, which reduces China's dependence on oil from the ME. There's nothing there to prevent anyone holding the US hostage. To the extent that a US military occupation of a Muslim country complicates US relations with the ME, Afghan operations could actually be said to have a negative impact on the US energy picture.


Oil and gas are not the direct causes of the war in Afghanistan, but understanding the motives of long-term US policy is important.
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?213804

The article in that link is absolutely stuffed with exaggerations and inaccuracies, often several per paragraph. Pointless. I'm also not sure why you'd link to an advertisement for a movie, other than to get a link or two into the post. Really doesn't provide much credibility.

We all know the importance of oil; you don't need to establish that. What's missing is the connection between oil and Afghanistan. We all know that connection has been claimed, but the claim is very shaky and does not stand up to scrutiny. The claims are similar in a way to the "new silk road" arguments... superficially compelling stories if you haven't the background to see the gaps, but examine them even a little more closely and they collapse.


Is It Time to Get Out of Afghanistan?

IMO it was time a long time ago. I don't think the US should ever have tried to "install" a government in Afghanistan, which inevitably puts us in the position of supporting a government that cannot stand, but that we believe we cannot allow to fall... though sooner or later we will have to.

It's worth noting that the US showed little or no interest in Afghanistan until 9/11, aside from episodic concern over AQ. Even that never lasted long; the US was too busy spending money and watching the Nasdaq.

9/11 made entry into Afghanistan arguably necessary, though it's about the last place the US wanted to be. Once there the great American delusion took over: once in a place, we have to justify our presence as something noble, requiring us to spread democracy and enlightenment. That invariably gets us into the $#!t.

As Fuchs points out, the cost vastly exceeds even the most hypothetical benefit. There is no economic logic to it, nor does there need to be: economics are a significant factor in foreign affairs, but not the only one. The pursuit of policy contrary to financial self-interest is not unusual.

Iraq of course is a little more complicated, and requires discussion of the Neocon delusion, which some found compelling in those days, though it has mercifully evaporated since. That would be a subject for another thread, and I'd rather not digress to that extent.

Of course there will always be people who believe that the US is in it for oil and economic advantage, because they "know" that the US never does anything except for oil and economic advantage. Starting with that assumption and assembling link-backed factoids to support it gets you a nice house of cards that will convince those predisposed to believe, but it gets you no closer to truth. Hell, I've had people tell me with an absolutely straight face that the US is in Mindanao to secure oil and protect trade routes. Of course Mindanao has neither oil nor access to any trade route of significance, but that doesn't bother those who have chosen to believe. We are a most peculiar species.

Dayuhan
05-11-2011, 04:03 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-05-10-Afghanistan-mission-bin-Laden-troops-poll_n.htm?csp=34news


Poll: With bin Laden dead, is it time to end war?

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden's demise may have shifted not only the military prospects for al-Qaeda abroad, but also the political landscape for President Obama at home.

The death of the terror network's leader and an intensified debate about how to cut federal spending are fueling calls to accelerate the promised troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, declare victory and get out.

So with bin Laden finally gone, is it time for America's longest war to end?

Nearly six in 10 Americans think so, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend. Assessments of how the decade-long war is going have improved a bit, compared with six weeks ago, and a broad swath of Americans now agrees with the statement that the United States "has accomplished its mission in Afghanistan and should bring its troops home."

Just over one-third say instead that the USA "still has important work to do in Afghanistan and should maintain its troops there."

jmm99
05-11-2011, 05:08 AM
From Monday, May 09, 2011, 56% Favor Bringing Troops Home From Afghanistan Within A Year (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/afghanistan/56_favor_bringing_troops_home_from_afghanistan_wit hin_a_year):


A new Rasmussen Reports nation telephone survey finds that 35% of Likely U.S. Voters now favor the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the highest level of support to date. Twenty-one percent (21%) more support the establishment of a firm timetable to bring the troops home within a year.

The combined total of 56% is up four points from the beginning of March, up 13 points from 43% last September, and up 19 points from September 2009.

Thirty percent (30%) of voters still oppose the creation of any kind of timetable for withdrawal and 15% remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/questions/pt_survey_questions/may_2011/questions_afghanistan_may_5_6_2011).)

This all gets more complex as one reads down through related polling data in the article.

and from Tuesday, May 10, 2011, Voters Express More Confidence About War in Afghanistan (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/afghanistan/voters_express_more_confidence_about_war_in_afghan istan):


The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 29% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the situation in Afghanistan will get worse in the next six months. That's down nine points from a month ago and marks the first time the figure has fallen into the 20s in nearly two years of surveying. In prior surveys since July 2009, 33% to 57% of voters have predicted a worsening of things there.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of voters expect the situation in Afghanistan to improve over the next six months, up eight points from last month and the highest level of confidence measured since March of last year. Another 31% expect the situation to remain about the same. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/questions/pt_survey_questions/may_2011/questions_war_on_terror_may_3_4_2011).)

This optimism can be a two-edged sword if the euphoria from OBL's death is followed in the next 6 months by what are perceived to be AQ or Taliban successes. Again, related polling data reveal a more complex situation.

Of personal interest to most here is a subsidiary result mentioned in the second article:


Ninety-one percent (91%) rate the performance of the U.S. military as good or excellent, including 63% who say the military is doing an excellent job. The latter finding is up from 48% in April and is the highest level of praise measured for the armed forces since regular tracking began in August of last year. Just two percent (2%) say the military is doing a poor job.

Frankly, the public is really without a clue as to "winning" or "losing" - Thursday, May 05, 2011, War on Terror Update, Confidence U.S. Winning War on Terror Jumps Following bin Laden Killing (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/war_on_terror_update):


Who is Winning the War on Terror?

Dates: May 3-4; Apr 7-8

US/Allies: 55%; 32%

Terrorists: 11%; 24%

What a difference a month makes. ;)

Cheers

Mike

Fuchs
05-11-2011, 05:13 AM
What do these people think how terrorists could "win" this "War on Terror"?


This reminds me of remarks I've read about polling that basically asserted that you can get up to 30% agreement for just about any alternative in a two-choice poll question because of human 'characteristics'.

Ray
05-11-2011, 06:36 AM
Appending a link should not in any manner indicate that every word/thought of that article is endorsed. At best, it indicates a viewpoint.



The issue in this thread is:

Is It Time to Get Out of Afghanistan?


Therefore, to answer that, amongst other issues, the following flows out:

1. What are/were the compulsions that forced the US and allies to consider attacking Afghanistan?

2. Have those issues been solved?

3. If so, is quitting feasible?

4. If not, then can the US quit half way and still have achieved its aims?


A supplementary issue would be - Will quitting half way erode her position in the world, assiduously built up since WWII, and make her even more weaker than she is, to ‘guide’ the world events?



From some of the posts, it appears that:

1. It is futile to stay the course in Afghanistan.

2. There is a tiredness that has enveloped the West over all these wars (that were embarked with great gusto and excited anticipation [with us or against us, bring it on, dead or alive, Mission Accomplished etc etc]).

3. The realisation that the psychology of the ‘gung ho all guns blazing’ machismo being the all purpose cure prescription for world’s ill is a false idol, given that the West has no stomach, the patience or the will to ride out and defeat the poor man’s weapon – insurgency/ terrorism.

Hence, the best way out is – pack up and leave while the going is good.

The US and ISAF having realised that they cannot shape up and so they ship out!



Quitting half way is a solution. The escape route - the killing of Osama, which with ingenuous spin can be presented once again, this time to a grateful war weary, economically drawndown people as – Mission Accomplished!

However, there is every possibility that it will be only a ‘cosmetic’ illusion that the raison d’être for being in Afghanistan is over and it is a resounding victory.

That may please those who desperately desire to get out of a bad situation from which they find no solution and have been rudely jolted in the realisation that their 'gung ho, all guns blazing' machismo is passé!

Ask those who live in the neighbourhood and know the psyche. Iraq shall be repeated if US quits Afghanistan; and in a more devastating mode since the womb and protector of terrorism is just next door!!

Make no mistake about that!



To the world at large (yes, the world that actually props up the world with their insatiable economic, military and development wants that fuel to a great extent the economic health of the developed world), every halfway home endeavour indicates that the West is merely a bully, which exults when they win (which they are no longer winning) or bolts when they lose or are losing, leaving everyone in a mess, which they (those left with the mess) themselves have to clear or live in greater misery than ever before.

Such a predicament of those left with the mess, of course, would not be of concern for those that made the mess in the first place.

However, the trust deficit that the West will ‘accrue’ would be immense and would affect the US’ economic, military, political dealings, unilaterally or multilaterally with the countries of the world.

Given this, the ‘world’ will move towards those who do not interfere or impose their will forcibly by throwing their might. After all, the ‘world’ would still require their economic, military and development needs to be fulfilled.

Thereby because of the trust deficit, the West will have to give way to China and Russia, who do not appear to be ‘slim customers’ or international bullies. It requires no elaboration that US’ ‘sceptre and crown will tumble down’ (apologies to James Shirley ‘Death the Leveller’).



The result?

The West, economically will be in a worse state through loss of trade with the world and strategically becoming the world’s ‘nowhere men’ since none will enter into strategic equations with the US and allies, and those in strategic relationships or in the process of such a move, will seek fresh pastures where their interests are safeguarded and not ‘iffy’.



Who will benefit?

It will be China (already assuming that they are a superpower) or Russia (a ‘has been’ superpower and still no pushover).



Therefore:

1. To believe that the US went into Iraq or Afghanistan merely on philanthropic persuasion is a difficult pill to swallow, given the various policies and pronouncements available in the open sources.

2. To believe that the US had no strategic requirements in Afghanistan and Iraq and that it just ‘stumbled upon’ them while meandering through the maze of international politics and events in a lost manner, is also difficult to believe.

3. To believe that while oil may be a prime mover for policy, other factors like allied strategic interests, as boxing Iran in, is not interconnected is as good as stating that strategy and policy is merely chalked out on 'one point agendas'.

4. To believe that Oil does not affect policies (and thus control the world economy), and hence does not control the balance of power, belies the realities that one sees. If it did not, then the rise in oil prices would have not brought such burdens on the common man, especially in the developing world.

(If oil was not an important factor in world strategic thinking, then the Middle East, otherwise an expanse of useless sand (peopled by those with obscurantist ideas) would not have been a cynosure of the world; and where interests of the world (mostly, West) is protected, even if there is the requirement to go to war.)

5. To believe that every commentary, opinion, thesis, report is available in the open forum (not necessarily on the internet) is rubbish, is an unfortunate deduction.




The manner the cat jumps is material to many in this world.

It surely becomes a question of ‘us versus them’!

At least, to those who rather stay with the ‘us’?

That’s what strategy is all about!

Keeping nations with the 'us'!!!!

Oil and natural resources assists those who want nations to be with the ‘us’.

After all, as the Americans say - there is nothing called a ‘free lunch’!!




(the movie link was appended since every link was rubbished.
It was hoped that what the US Presidents have to say themselves, would at least be taken to be correct).

Ray
05-11-2011, 07:23 AM
My profound apologies to all who have been trouble by my 'copious' posts and 'innumerable' links.

I may have been influenced by the Beatles Lyrics:

Open up your eyes now
Tell me what you see
It is no surprise now
What you see is me


Strategy is for self preservation.

Oil is part of it. That's one part and important indeed since it powers the world.

And along with it is to ensure areas (nations) that keeps the resources with 'us' are actually with 'us'.

Therefore, the world beyond Russia, China and the US is the real 'me'.

To have the 'me' with the 'us' and their resources and not letting the adversaries have it and ensuring that they are sanitised, boxed in or put to trouble, is what strategy is all about.

So, you may well like to look beyond and see how those that constitute the 'me' feel about the whole show.

If you lose the nations which constitute the 'me', you have lost the game!!

It that makes people happy, so be it.

The 'me' will move to fresh pastures!!

Fuchs
05-11-2011, 11:51 AM
Simple litmus test that takes a whole lot of subjective influences out of the question :

Would we go into AFG if we weren't already in there?

The very idea is laughable.

Dayuhan
05-11-2011, 12:57 PM
Therefore, to answer that, amongst other issues, the following flows out:

1. What are/were the compulsions that forced the US and allies to consider attacking Afghanistan?

Since you like links, here's an explanation from the core of the US foreign policy establishment:

http://www.cfr.org/afghanistan/long-term-goals-afghanistan-their-near-term-implications/p24938

Excerpted:


I argue below that core American interests in Afghanistan are real but narrow, and center on the security requirements of denying Afghan territory to terrorists as a base for attacking us or destabilizing Afghanistan’s neighbors. These limited interests can be realized via a range of possible Afghan end states – we need not hold out for the highly ambitious political and economic development aims that the United States adopted in 2001. While desirable, these are not strictly necessary to meet our core requirements...


...of the various interests we have at stake in south Asia, its unique terrorist potential is the only one that might merit conducting or continuing a war.


If not, then can the US quit half way and still have achieved its aims?

Halfway to what? The core goal of disrupting and denying sanctuary to AQ is more than halfway done. The mission-creep goal of trying to bring western-style democracy to Afghanistan is nowhere near half done and is probably not achievable.


A supplementary issue would be - Will quitting half way erode her position in the world, assiduously built up since WWII, and make her even more weaker than she is, to ‘guide’ the world events?

Again, half way to what? How does chucking resources down a black hole and pursuing goals we don't have the capacity to achieve - like remaking Afghan governance in a Western image - enhance America's standing or influence?


Ask those who live in the neighbourhood and know the psyche. Iraq shall be repeated if US quits Afghanistan; and in a more devastating mode since the womb and protector of terrorism is just next door!!

Make no mistake about that!

I'm not sure what that prediction is supposed to mean... Iraq shall be repeated? How?


To the world at large (yes, the world that actually props up the world with their insatiable economic, military and development wants that fuel to a great extent the economic health of the developed world), every halfway home endeavour indicates that the West is merely a bully, which exults when they win (which they are no longer winning) or bolts when they lose or are losing, leaving everyone in a mess, which they (those left with the mess) themselves have to clear or live in greater misery than ever before.

Maybe it would tell the world that there are limits to the support the US is willing to provide to "allies" who steal our money and that of their own people, appoint their cronies to important post, oppress their people, etc, ad infinitum. All we communicate by standing by those who fleece us is that we're suckers. Everybody already knows that, no need to remind them.


However, the trust deficit that the West will ‘accrue’ would be immense and would affect the US’ economic, military, political dealings, unilaterally or multilaterally with the countries of the world.

Why would there be any trust deficit? Our will and capacity to support an ally depends on what that ally is willing to do to support itself. Nothing terribly arcane about that.


Thereby because of the trust deficit, the West will have to give way to China and Russia, who do not appear to be ‘slim customers’ or international bullies. It requires no elaboration that US’ ‘sceptre and crown will tumble down’ (apologies to James Shirley ‘Death the Leveller’).

Yes, everybody trusts the courtesy and altruism of the Russians and Chinese... yeah right.


The result?

The West, economically will be in a worse state through loss of trade with the world and strategically becoming the world’s ‘nowhere men’ since none will enter into strategic equations with the US and allies, and those in strategic relationships or in the process of such a move, will seek fresh pastures where their interests are safeguarded and not ‘iffy’.

Sounds a load of bollocks, really. How would withdrawal from Afghanistan cause "loss of trade with the world"? You think the world would cease to sell the US stuff - you are presumably aware of the US trade deficit with the world - because the US leaves Afghanistan? Not much sense there.


Who will benefit?

It will be China (already assuming that they are a superpower) or Russia (a ‘has been’ superpower and still no pushover).

I can't see any benefit accruing to China or Russia from a US withdrawal from Afghanistan... in fact I doubt that it would change much of anything.

There was nothing philanthropic at all about the US entry into Afghanistan. We went there to take revenge, kick AQ ass, and prevent AQ from taking further action against us. That was the strategic goal, and it made sense. Then mission creep set in, and we made a mess. We're good at that; we've lot's of practice.

Surely you note that from the Soviet withdrawal to the point where AQ settled and created a bother, the US paid no attention whatsoever to Afghanistan. If all of these interests you propose are real, why would that have been the case?

The importance of oil is undisputed. Since Afghanistan has no oil and is not a significant conduit for oil, it is also irrelevant to this discussion.



It surely becomes a question of ‘us versus them’!

At least, to those who rather stay with the ‘us’?

That’s what strategy is all about!

Keeping nations with the 'us'!!!!

Oil and natural resources assists those who want nations to be with the ‘us’.

After all, as the Americans say - there is nothing called a ‘free lunch’!!

I'm not sure who's meant to be "us" or "them" in this picture, but since our presence in Afghanistan isn't keeping anyone with "us" and it certainly getting us any oil or natural resources, I don't see how these assertions are relevant to the matter under discussion.

omarali50
05-11-2011, 04:38 PM
My 3 cents:
1. MOST "strategic thinking" is bullcrap or corruption or both. In a more rational world, Fuchs (or his equivalent in some other country) would suggest strategy and his government would follow it. We do not live in that world.
2. Even in THIS world, it makes no economic or strategic sense for the US to spend trillions to make billions. As an American, I think the sooner we get out the better.
3. IF the US does get out quickly, the whole region will get worse than it is because nothing has been settled and because the US and its partners are a major source of elite income in that region and the loss of that income will trigger a search for loot closer to home. As a Pakistani, my interest is almost opposite to my interest as an American. I want the US to spend more men and money to save us from ourselves. At times I am very pessimistic about the ability of the US to do any good in this regard, but at other times, I think they can still help if they can only figure out what they are trying to do.
It may be that my "Eurocentric" view of the world blinds me to the possibility that the great Chinese nation will turn out to be a far more enlightened imperialist power than the US ever could be. But the auguries are not good.
Does that make any sense?

Dayuhan
05-11-2011, 11:50 PM
I think they can still help if they can only figure out what they are trying to do.

Agreed, but that "if" should be written more like... IF.

It's a big damned word.

omarali50
05-12-2011, 02:04 AM
Sadly, I agree.

Ray
05-12-2011, 07:44 AM
Since you like links, here's an explanation from the core of the US foreign policy establishment:

http://www.cfr.org/afghanistan/long-term-goals-afghanistan-their-near-term-implications/p24938

[QUOTE] I argue below that core American interests in Afghanistan are real but narrow, and center on the security requirements of denying Afghan territory to terrorists as a base for attacking us or destabilizing Afghanistan’s neighbors . These limited interests can be realized via a range of possible Afghan end states – we need not hold out for the highly ambitious political and economic development aims that the United States adopted in 2001. While desirable, these are not strictly necessary to meet our core requirements...


...of the various interests we have at stake in south Asia, its unique terrorist potential is the only one that might merit conducting or continuing a war.

Thank you.

I do like links. It transcends merely personal opinion. Adds universality and credibility to opinions.

Links are not read by those who are busy or incensed; an example was here itself! Not reading links veers to other issues, which maybe relevant, but has attendant fallout.

The "core American interest is denying Afghan territory to terrorists as a base for attacking us or destabilizing Afghanistan’s neighbors."

Has the Afghanistan been denied to the terrorists?

Is Afghanistan destabilising its neighbours? Or is it the other way around?

In fact, the US forays into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Drone attacks, CIA operatives are what's destabilising Pakistan, the neighbour (I am not saying it is wrong; in fact, it is correct given the aim for the operations) and in return, they are more resolved to destabilise Afghanistan by relentlessly attacking the ISAF and returning to safety of Pakistan.

The statement of Mr Biddle quoted is on “Steps Needed for a Successful 2014 Transition in Afghanistan” i.e. Transition. Action after the Fact.

Are they the reasons why the US went to war in Afghanistan?


Halfway to what? The core goal of disrupting and denying sanctuary to AQ is more than halfway done. The mission-creep goal of trying to bring western-style democracy to Afghanistan is nowhere near half done and is probably not achievable.

Half way to completing for what the US attacked Afghanistan, even if for discussion’s sake, the core goal was ‘disrupting and denying sanctuary to AQ’.

Accepting that as true, it is evident that the terrorists have not been disrupted, nor have they been denied their sanctuaries .

The sanctuaries are not in Afghanistan. It is in Pakistan. The statements emanating from the US before and consequent to the OBL episode indicates that the sanctuaries are in Pakistan. The Drone attacks indicate the same.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11and OBL, amongst others, found sanctuary there.

Mr Stephen Biddel’s statement also corroborate this:


In fact, the central U.S. interest in the region is its nearly unique potential for terrorist violence against Americans. This threat emanates chiefly from Pakistan. Its combination... a diverse range of Islamist militant groups including the global headquarters of al Qaeda, ….. give Pakistan a well deserved reputation as “the most dangerous place in the world”.

Therefore, it wouldn't be wrong to conclude that, even if the aim behind attacking Afghanistan was ‘disrupting and denying sanctuary to AQ’, it has not even been half way accomplished.


Again, half way to what? How does chucking resources down a black hole and pursuing goals we don't have the capacity to achieve - like remaking Afghan governance in a Western image - enhance America's standing or influence?

Valid point.

One cannot chuck resources down a black hole. This should have been realised when embarking into Afghanistan.

On the issue of the capacity of achieving in Afghanistan not being there, the capacity was possibly there when Afghanistan War started or else the US would not have embarked on this course.

The US resources were frittered away by attacking Iraq in 2003 without even accomplishing the mission in Afghanistan! This violated many Principles of War, mainly Selection and Maintenance of Aim and Concentration of Force. Hence, the present state!

If the US quits, this is what Mr Stephen Biddel has to say:


If U.S. troops, money, and advisors were withdrawn the Karzai government would be unlikely to survive for long……. many in the region now believe that this U.S. role, though necessary, is unlikely to be sustained until a stable outcome is obtained, and that this will lead to an eventual collapse of the government and either a Taliban takeover or an extended civil war.

He goes on to state:


…. assure South Asians that a post-2014 U.S. troop drawdown will not leave Afghanistan abandoned and at the mercy of an empowered Taliban….. But it would need to make it clear that the United States does not intend to repeat its policies of the 1990s, in which we left Afghanistan to its own devices after the Soviet withdrawal and did little to avert open civil warfare……

Now slips in the real reason for War in Afghanistan:

[Quote] ….For now, though, it is worth noting that Afghanistan is far from an ideal base for regional power projection….

So, power projection was the aim and Afghanistan was the base?



I'm not sure what that prediction is supposed to mean... Iraq shall be repeated? How?

It means a similar, and if not worse, chaos and mayhem that followed in Iraq consequent to the Mission being declared Accomplished. Stephen Biddle says so too!


Maybe it would tell the world that there are limits to the support the US is willing to provide to "allies" who steal our money and that of their own people, appoint their cronies to important post, oppress their people, etc, ad infinitum. All we communicate by standing by those who fleece us is that we're suckers. Everybody already knows that, no need to remind them.

One cannot deny what you say. Very valid.

However, if one decides that one is to be the Leader of the Pack, then one has to accept whatever is available and try to do the best one can. That is why the US has tolerated dictators, Sultans, military jackasses of quasi democracies, quasi democrats. Contrary to the the US claims to be the bastion of modern democracy and human rights. Contradictions? Yes, but that’s realpolitik!

China is clever as usual. They do the same thing, and worse. However, unlike the US, they spout pious platitudes that their policy is ‘non interference in the internal affairs’ of another country! A ‘catch all’ term, but adroitly used to cover same sins!


Why would there be any trust deficit? Our will and capacity to support an ally depends on what that ally is willing to do to support itself. Nothing terribly arcane about that.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. When abandoned and left with a mess, it promotes a trust deficit. Those who see it happening will also become wary.

One would like to trade with Nations that are reliable. It is natural that one would be edgy to trade with a country that leaves issues halfway.


Yes, everybody trusts the courtesy and altruism of the Russians and Chinese... yeah right.

Russia and China are no great paragons of virtue. They, however, do their ‘business’ subtly and cleverly.

Don’t take my word for it.

Eugene Burdick and William Lederer’s book ‘The Ugly American’ explains it better. Historically the US has being the ‘suckers’ (as you put it)! Because of unresolved contradictions between a moral high ground adopted and the propping up of thugs and discredited regimes!!

Take the case of Pakistan. The US has historically poured money and military aid. Yet, the anti-American sentiment is legend. Agreed that Pakistan may have reasons now, but it was there earlier too. Even for OBL or for the state Afghanistan is, they blame the US. Possibly, they expected the US to clear the mess that they themselves created and then nurtured.

Ray
05-12-2011, 07:45 AM
contd from above.

A long post requires a long answer in deference to the effort put in and for the kindness of the poster to have replied my post with views that requires acknowledgement!


Sounds a load of bollocks, really. How would withdrawal from Afghanistan cause "loss of trade with the world"? You think the world would cease to sell the US stuff - you are presumably aware of the US trade deficit with the world - because the US leaves Afghanistan? Not much sense there.

Bollocks or gonads, the truth is if the US after much Tarzan like chest thumping and Kreegahs and Bandolos, in the final analysis turns out, after all that drama, to be a quitter. It is hardly the impression that encourages confidence. The world loves a winner!

It is not only Afghanistan that gives the impression in our parts. Iraq, Vietnam and the manner China is running circles around the US adds to the despondency here. However, the Obama visit to Asia Pacific and the strategic vision to contain China’s hegemony gives hope.

Why was the US the indisputable leader of the world? Because they had the economic and military might and could fulfil every action that they deemed necessary in these fields. But today?

On trade, will the others like US capital or trade agreements coming their way and be confident that they will not be left high and dry, for some reason or the other?

Whatever, it is disturbing times for well-wishers of the US.


I can't see any benefit accruing to China or Russia from a US withdrawal from Afghanistan... in fact I doubt that it would change much of anything.

The link in the last post (my) says it all.

Sun Tsu says:

1. The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.
2. Water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. (i.e. into a void)


There was nothing philanthropic at all about the US entry into Afghanistan. We went there to take revenge, kick AQ ass, and prevent AQ from taking further action against us. That was the strategic goal, and it made sense. Then mission creep set in, and we made a mess. We're good at that; we've lot's of practice.

Revenge as a human sentiment is understandable, its difficult to believe that ‘revenge’ is an input for strategy.


Surely you note that from the Soviet withdrawal to the point where AQ settled and created a bother, the US paid no attention whatsoever to Afghanistan. If all of these interests you propose are real, why would that have been the case?

US paid no attention because the USSR was on the course to collapse in its entire ramification as events proved.

Friedrich Nietzsche had said, “Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”

USSR had decomposed and was dead. The US hit the last nail in the coffin. Having done it, the US turned to where the priority lay – East Europe. Having achieved some success, the US turned to other frontiers like Afghanistan and Iraq. Rome was not built in a day!


The importance of oil is undisputed. Since Afghanistan has no oil and is not a significant conduit for oil, it is also irrelevant to this discussion.

Strategy is not a one point agenda.

If it were so, then I am surprised!

Oil and the market require conduits.


I'm not sure who's meant to be "us" or "them" in this picture, but since our presence in Afghanistan isn't keeping anyone with "us" and it certainly getting us any oil or natural resources, I don't see how these assertions are relevant to the matter under discussion.

‘Us’ is what Bush said was ‘Us’ and ‘them’ is the world that requires the US.

Once when the oil rolls through Afghanistan one will realise the relevance to the US economy and employment figures! Till that time escapism about core reasons can rule the roost.

The issue should be relevant since strategy, once again, is not a one point agenda.

Dayuhan
05-12-2011, 10:59 PM
Once when the oil rolls through Afghanistan one will realise the relevance to the US economy and employment figures! Till that time escapism about core reasons can rule the roost.

Oil rolling through Afghanistan? In whose dreams?

Again, the source of the misconception - and it is a very widely held misconception - is a failure to understand the very limited scale of the Afghan pipeline proposal.

To put it bluntly, TAPI's influence on the US economy or US employment would be close to nil. If it were to be built by Unocal, as originally proposed, their stock might have bumped a few points and they might have had a few more domestic hires (you can bet most of the work would be subcontracted). I don't know that any US company is interested at present.

TAPI is designed to carry natural gas, not oil. Specifically, it's meant to carry 27 bcm/year of natural gas. 2 bcm/year would go to Afghanistan, 12.5 to Pakistan, 12.5 to India. The line might eventually be expanded to 33 bcm/year.

There has never been any suggestion that TAPI output would be reexported to China, the US, or the west. Given that Pakistan and India are gas importers and TAPI would not even come close to meeting their needs, there would be little to no sense in them building export terminals and buying or hiring LPG tankers to export gas they need for themselves.

I don't know of any active proposal to pipe oil through Afghanistan. Unocal floated the idea in the late 90s but it never even got to a serious planning stage. Even if the idea were revived the logical market would be Pakistan and India, which would not require tanker transit on top of the pipeline transit.

Compare those capacity figures with gas consumption in Pakistan and India, and you quickly see that those states will consume the output, none will go on to China and the West. To some extent that will relieve demand on ME supply, but there's a bit of a gas glut at the moment anyway and impact on the US would really be pretty negligible.

From the supply side, look at the total proposed capacity of TAPI and compare to the total output of Caspian producers. You see right away that TAPI will not displace the Russian and Chinese grids and is not meant to: it's just one among many conduits, and by no means the largest or most significant.

Look at the full list of pipeline projects aimed at getting Caspian oil and gas to market, many of them with greater capacity than TAPI and in a much more advanced stage of construction. That provides perspective: TAPI would be one small part of the Caspian export picture. Not a game-changer or a strategic revolution, far from it.

Looking at the pipelines currently existing, under construction, and planned, it's pretty clear that the Caspian states are diversifying. Their primary routes are to China, through Russia to Europe, and through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey to Europe. All of those are existing routes with oil and gas now flowing and substantial upgrades in progress and planned. If TAPI is ever built it would supplement that system but it would not in any way replace it. No revolution or power shift in the picture.

The impact of TAPI is hugely overrated by those looking for an "all about oil" explanation for Afghanistan. It's just not that big or important. It would provide some steady revenue to Afghanistan... not a lot but in Afghanistan anything is a lot. It would provide some gas supply to India and Pakistan. It would provide an additional export outlet for some of Turkmenistan's gas. As such it's a potentially viable project if security improves, but it would have zero impact on the US or China and it would not mark anything remotely resembling a strategic shift.

The US would not control the output under any proposed scenario, and there is nothing in the project to suggest "control" of Caspian oil and gas supplies.

It's just not that big a deal, nowhere nearly big enough for anyone to consider going to war over. Even the most casual assessment of costs and benefits would show that to be utterly pointless.

Ray
05-13-2011, 04:46 PM
TAPI, the Asian Market and Oil’s Role in Strategy

Oil to be a commodity that engines economy requires the Market. Pipelines are the cheapest way to ferry oil.

India imports 60 % and China 40% of its oil requirement and it is growing. The Asia Pacific region’s dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its “key players” are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea—a group that includes the region’s five top consumers.

Importantly, in contrast to other areas of the world where the consumption of fuel oil—which is used primarily for power generation and in industry and shipping—is in decline, in Asia it will continue and with enormous populations and a robust economic outlook the potential for growth is huge.

Asia is the Middle East’s largest customer, accounting for over 60 percent of the crude exported from the region.

Therefore, the happening oil market is Asia.

Kairledy Kabyldin, head of the Kazakhstan’s national pipeline company opined, Iran was the shortest and cheapest route for oil the Asian market (from CAR).

Given the fact that the Iran is an anathema for the US, the alternate route that would be shortest and cheapest was TAPI.

That China is a competitor of the US requires no elaboration. Thus, if the pace of Chinese growth can be controlled, it will be to the advantage of the US.

Another issue that is of concern to the US is that China and India are ‘locking up’ oil resources by purchasing fields and acquiring equity oil, signing contracts on exclusive extraction or import rights, and other means of ‘taking oil off the world market’.

Therefore, the corollary is that any country that has ‘influence’, if not ‘control’ of the sources of oil and gas, will have a control over those who in dire need of it and hence, to an extent dictate terms with regards to world’s economy.

It would, thus, not be wrong to assume that oil pays a role in strategy, if not as a weapon.

US and Oil as a Strategic Weapon and War

That oil is an important strategic asset and for which wars can be fought is not a new policy of the US. It also applies to Afghanistan.

1. The ‘Carter Doctrine’ in 1980 made it clear wherein it stated that oil is vital to economic well being both for individual nations as also for the international economic system and it maybe seen to justify the use of force in assuring its availability.

2. That apart, Cheney, who understood the geopolitical importance of oil had observed, “Oil companies are expected to keep developing enough oil to offset oil depletion and also to meet new demand. So, where is the oil to come from?.....The Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and lowest costs is still where the prize ultimately lies.”

3. As early as May 2003, the then Deputy Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz when asked why Bush attacked Iraq and not North Korea, stated that Iraq ‘floats on a sea of oil’!

4. Bush’s first Treasury Secretary indicated the obsession with oil by stating that even before inauguration the advisors were planning how to divvy up Iraq’s oil wealth.

5. That oil is a strategic asset is also proved by the fact that Robert Gates has made it clear to the Iraqis that once the US withdraws from Iraq, the US would maintain large bases euphemistically called ‘enduring bases’. Same is the case for Afghanistan.

6. US Ambassador Thomas Pickering, co-chair of the Afghan Study Group, on CBS’ ‘As it Happens’ (Jan 30, 2008) said, “ Afghanistan is of strategic importance, a failed state in the middle of a delicate and sensitive region that borders on a number of producers of critical energy.”

Therefore, it may not be wrong to believe ‘it is all about oil’.

TAPI

TAPI is not to replace all the oil pipe lines and that is obvious. It is to ferry oil to Gwadar for the Asian market, which is large, growing and the happening market.

The other pipelines off the Caspian will feed Europe (avoiding Russia) through Georgia and Ceyhan. Caspian and Russian oil has been connected to Xinjiang (China).

Instability in the Middle East poses a serious security issue for India, China as also for Japan and other Asian countries since there is no guarantee of a stable supply. Hence, diversification of the source of supply is prudent. The security of sealanes is also a serious concern.

The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2015 China will account for 42% of the global demand.

Chinese policy makers have three major worries:

1. Sudden disruptions in provision of oil to the global market could trigger serious energy shortages and sharp price spikes would have serious adverse effect on the Chinese economy.

2. China might be affected by disruption in tanker flows from unstable exporting regions such as Persian Gulf, Central Asia and Africa.

3. Japan and the USA might attempt to deny China vital oil supplies in the event of a confrontation, particularly over Taiwan, due to US strategic domination in the Persian Gulf and other key oil exporting regions, US naval control of critical transportation routes, and its cooperation with the Japanese Navy and emerging naval ties with the Indian Navy.

If China will account for 42% of the global demand, it is obvious that it will not be met solely by the Caspian – China pipeline. Also, owing to the instability of the oil producing region, China has to diversify it sources of oil and also its routes to China from the oil sources. Further, the more the routes, the quicker will be the aggregate flow of oil to China.

Thus, TAPI and Gwadar play a role for China and oil.

The Gwadar Port project has been under study since May 2001. Having no blue water navy to speak of, China feels defenceless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies. This vulnerability set Beijing scrambling for alternative safe supply routes for its energy shipments. The planned Gwadar Deep Sea Port was one such alternative for which China had flown its Vice Premier, Wu Bangguo, to Gwadar to lay its foundation on March 22, 2002.

Gwadar would be the closest route of African Oil, in case of any disruption in the Middle East oil supply. Further, there would also be no reason other than for oil for China to be building a pipeline from Gwadar to China over the Karakorum and a refinery at Gwadar.

In short, China is keeping all contingencies ready to ensure that there are no closure to her oil supply need including TAPI from which they could also tap oil, in case of problems elsewhere, be it a disruption in the Persian Gulf or the Caspian – China route.

Likewise, the Myanmar to China oil pipeline and railway is to ensure another route that caters for disruption, be it a naval blockade or otherwise, at the Malacca Straits.

If the US quits Afghanistan, then it will be just what the doctor ordered for China. They will move in and merely change the vendor of the TAPI oil. Taliban and their shenanigans will not affect China since it ‘does not interfere in the internal matters of countries’ (in other words, morality, mayhem and terrorism is not their concern).

Once again, as the Carter Doctrine enunciated – oil is vital to economic well being both for individual nations as also for the international economic system and it maybe seen to justify the use of force in assuring its availability.

The country that control/ influence the oil, oil supply and manipulates it, is the one who will control the world economy.

It is for the US to take a call!

(India too is diversifying her oil sources).

Dayuhan
05-13-2011, 10:57 PM
A couple of outright errors here...


TAPI is not to replace all the oil pipe lines and that is obvious. It is to ferry oil to Gwadar for the Asian market, which is large, growing and the happening market.

TAPI won't run to Gwadar. It's planned to run from Kandahar to Quetta, then to Multan and end in Fazilka, in India. It will not run to a port at all, as the product is not planned to go any farther than Pakistan and India, which will consume all of the output.

TAPI is not intended to "ferry oil". It's intended to carry natural gas.

As I explained in the previous (unread?) post, TAPI will not carry enough gas to even fill Pakistani and Indian demand, let alone enough to send on to East Asia. It's just not that big.

China's interest in Gwadar port is as a naval base to secure its trade route from the ME. I know of no existing plan to pipe oil to Gwadar for Chinese use, nor would such a plan be practical.


The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2015 China will account for 42% of the global demand.

Wrong. You need to read more slowly. China is projected to account for 42% of the global increase in oil demand through 2015.

China now consumes about 9mbpd, or around 11% of the global 84mbpd production. The US consumes over 18mbpd, or around 22% (off the top of my head, not using a calculator here. IEA forecasts China demand at 16.3mbpd by 2030, which is obviously not even close to 40%. That was a 2007 projection, and growth has actually been less than anticipated at that time. In 2007 China was expected to be using 11mbpd in 2011, not 9. That's a consequence of the price spike, which has slowed demand growth.

TAPI is irrelevant to oil calculations, of course, because it would carry natural gas, an analogous but different commodity. It is also irrelevant to China calculalions, because none of the output would go to China. It represents far too small a portion of global gas supply to be relevant to any "control" equation.

Most pf the oil data you cite are irrelevant to any discussion of Afghanistan. As I mentioned above, we are all aware that oil is important. The question is whether Afghanistan is important to the global oil picture, and the simple answer is "no". Afghanistan is neither a significant producer nor a significant corridor for oil transit.

East Asia is indeed a booming oil market, but that is irrelevant to discussion of Afghanistan and the impact of TAPI, which would not supply East Asia. Even at maximum projected throughput of 33bcm/yr the API output would be fully consumed by Pakistan and India.


Kairledy Kabyldin, head of the Kazakhstan’s national pipeline company opined, Iran was the shortest and cheapest route for oil the Asian market (from CAR).

Given the fact that the Iran is an anathema for the US, the alternate route that would be shortest and cheapest was TAPI.

Lots of people say lots of things, but Kazakhstan and China have already built a major oil pipeline net and a 40 bcm/yr gas pipeline directly linking Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and China. Actions speak louder than words.


That China is a competitor of the US requires no elaboration. Thus, if the pace of Chinese growth can be controlled, it will be to the advantage of the US.

Fallacy. First, constraining China's growth is not necessarily in the US interest (and IMO is not in the interests of the US). Second, the US cannot constrain China's access to oil. Anyone with money can buy oil, and China has lots of money.

Given that TAPI wouldn't supply China in any case, this seems much ado about nada.


Another issue that is of concern to the US is that China and India are ‘locking up’ oil resources by purchasing fields and acquiring equity oil, signing contracts on exclusive extraction or import rights, and other means of ‘taking oil off the world market’.

Again, fallacy. None of these agreements actually "lock up" oil; they can be altered at any time. If a new government took over in, say, Angola, they could easily and legally toss any agreement with China out the window.

Also, oil committed by a producer to a consumer is not "off the market". If Angola commits 3mbpd to China, that's oil that the Chinese will not be buying elsewhere, which frees up other oil for others to buy.

Oil is almost infinitely fungible. This is often forgotten. For example, in the case of Iraq, what is important to the US and all other consumers) is that Iraqi capacity comes back on the market. Where it actually goes makes no difference at all. If Iraq pumped 6mbpd and every drop went to China, that would suit the US just fine, because that would free up other oil from China's other suppliers.

There's a huge amount of nonsense written on the internet about energy by people who have little to no comprehension of energy markets.


Therefore, the corollary is that any country that has ‘influence’, if not ‘control’ of the sources of oil and gas, will have a control over those who in dire need of it and hence, to an extent dictate terms with regards to world’s economy.

The US cannot control the world's energy supplies, and it would be silly for them to try: that's how world wars start. At the end of the day, anyone with money can buy oil... and that's just fine for the US.

Again, we all know that oil is a strategic issue globally. It just isn't a strategic issue in Afghanistan.


Gwadar would be the closest route of African Oil, in case of any disruption in the Middle East oil supply. Further, there would also be no reason other than for oil for China to be building a pipeline from Gwadar to China over the Karakorum and a refinery at Gwadar.

Again, irrelevant to Afghanistan. A pipeline from Gwadar to China wouldn't pass through Afghanistan, nor would it carry TAPI product. TAPI product is not even sufficient to meet Pakistani and Indian demand.

In any event, China isn't "building a pipeline from Gwadar to China over the Karakorum". It's been discussed, but it isn't being built and I'm not sure it will be, for cost/benefit reasons.

What people often fail to understand about pipelines is that capacity is limited by size. The Kazakh-China pipleine is quite large. It carries 140k bpd, a very small fraction of China's consumption. It cannot carry more, that is it's capacity. Even if a Gwadar-China pipeline was twice the size of the Kazakh pipeline, it could not begin to compensate for a closure of the straits of Malacca or other sea sources. By contrast, a ULCC carries 2m barrels, and there are lots of them available. If you need more, you hire more boats. Can't do that with a pipeline: it carries only its max capacity... and it is extremely easy to disrupt.


If the US quits Afghanistan, then it will be just what the doctor ordered for China. They will move in and merely change the vendor of the TAPI oil.

How so? The US would not be the "the vendor of the TAPI oil" (and can we finally get it straight that it's gas, not oil?) in any event. The vendor is Turkmenistan. The consumers are Pakistan and India. Afghanistan is a transit country. The US is not in the picture. Period, end of story.


The country that control/ influence the oil, oil supply and manipulates it, is the one who will control the world economy.

It is for the US to take a call!

Nobody controls the oil supply, and nobody controls the world economy. To try would be stupid. Deal with it. In any event, Afghanistan is hardly a step toward controlling oil supply. In terms of impact on oil supply, it's one of the world's least relevant places.

Ray
05-14-2011, 08:23 AM
A couple of outright errors here...

TAPI won't run to Gwadar. It's planned to run from Kandahar to Quetta, then to Multan and end in Fazilka, in India. It will not run to a port at all, as the product is not planned to go any farther than Pakistan and India, which will consume all of the output.

TAPI is not intended to "ferry oil". It's intended to carry natural gas.


[QUOTE]China's interest in Gwadar port is as a naval base to secure its trade route from the ME. I know of no existing plan to pipe oil to Gwadar for Chinese use, nor would such a plan be practical.[ /QUOTE]


Comments:

TAPI to Gwadar and Pipeline to China ex Gwadar


Washington’s dream scenario is Gwadar as the new Dubai – while China would need Gwadar as a port and also as a base for pumping gas via a long pipeline to China.

http://muslimmedianetwork.com/mmn/?p=4059



Islamabad has proposed an alternative route to Turkmenistan – from Iran to Pakistan with entry point through Balochistan where Gwadar port could be used as an export point for Turkmenistan gas. Under the newly proposed route, the pipeline will pass near Reko Diq copper mine project in Chaghi district of Balochistan and onward to Gwadar port. The alternative western route reduces the length of gas pipeline to 1,490-kilometre from 1,680-kilometre on Herat-Kandahar route.
http://www.syedfazlehaider.com/2010/09/06/tapi-project-making-headlines-again/



The planned TAPI pipeline offers benefits to all four participating countries and would promote cooperation. For Turkmenistan, it would provide revenue and diversification of export routes. For Pakistan and India, it would address energy deficits. In Afghanistan, it would provide revenue for development and gas for industrial enterprises. The potential for export to other countries through the Pakistani port of Gwadar is a further advantage.
http://www.ensec.org/index.php?view=article&catid=103%3Aenergysecurityissuecontent&id=233%3Aafghanistan-the-tapi-pipeline-and-energy-geopolitics&tmpl=component&print=1&page=&option=com_content&Itemid=358


Connecting Gwadar and Xinjiang

At the southern end of the Karakoram corridor is the Gwadar port overlooking the Arabian Sea. The port offers several strategic advantages to China. In economic terms, it can potentially link Xinjiang to the global trading system through the Karakoram Highway.
http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=37017


Beijing is also interested in turning it into an energy-transport hub by building an oil pipeline from Gwadar into China's Xinjiang region. The planned pipeline will carry crude oil sourced from Arab and African states. Such transport by pipeline will cut freight costs and also help insulate the Chinese imports from interdiction by hostile naval forces in case of any major war.
http://hisamullahbeg.blogspot.com/2011/01/link-between-gawadar-port-and-kkh.html


The above five quotes indicate:

1. Indicates that Gwadar is the terminal.
2. There is a pipeline connecting Gwadar to China.
3. There is a road to connect Gwadar with China. (I have also read that there is to be a rail link too!)
4. TAPI will also connect to Gwadar.

There is nothing to suggest that China cannot tap into the TAPI gas.

However, the possibility that China could, is borne out by:


Delhi has now objected to any Chinese participation in constructing the Asian Development Bank (ADP) funded Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline
http://www.timesofkabul.com/?p=745

That the West has interest in Turkmenistan gas is borne out here:


Turkmenistan sits atop the world’s fourth-biggest natural gas reserves and Russia, China and the West are vying to expand their presence there as the country cautiously relaxes the isolation imposed by Berdymukhamedov’s late predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov.
http://www.syedfazlehaider.com/2010/09/06/tapi-project-making-headlines-again/



As I explained in the previous (unread?) post, TAPI will not carry enough gas to even fill Pakistani and Indian demand, let alone enough to send on to East Asia. It's just not that big.

I have read your post.

I understand that TAPI alone cannot feed the requirement of India and Pakistan, let alone China.

TAPI is NOT the SOLE source that is contemplated to feed the Indian, Chinese or Pakistan requirement.

The key word is 'diversification' of source and routes.

As no single source can meet any country’s requirement, all countries have multiple sources and India and China to offset their requirement, in addition, are also buying off exclusive oil and gas bearing blocks or signing contract for exclusive supply.


Wrong. You need to read more slowly. China is projected to account for 42% of the global increase in oil demand through 2015.

China now consumes about 9mbpd, or around 11% of the global 84mbpd production. The US consumes over 18mbpd, or around 22% (off the top of my head, not using a calculator here. IEA forecasts China demand at 16.3mbpd by 2030, which is obviously not even close to 40%. That was a 2007 projection, and growth has actually been less than anticipated at that time. In 2007 China was expected to be using 11mbpd in 2011, not 9. That's a consequence of the price spike, which has slowed demand growth.

This is what another source says:


By 2015, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the use of oil in China will increase some 70 percent from 2009 levels, accounting for 42 percent of global demand over that time period.
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-strong-link-between-gdp-and-oil-consumption-2011-4



Most of the oil data you cite are irrelevant to any discussion of Afghanistan. As I mentioned above, we are all aware that oil is important. The question is whether Afghanistan is important to the global oil picture, and the simple answer is "no". Afghanistan is neither a significant producer nor a significant corridor for oil transit.

East Asia is indeed a booming oil market, but that is irrelevant to discussion of Afghanistan and the impact of TAPI, which would not supply East Asia. Even at maximum projected throughput of 33bcm/yr the API output would be fully consumed by Pakistan and India.

I wonder if gas is irrelevant to Afghanistan or TAPI.

In my last post, I have adequately proved that oil is a part of US strategy and that US will go to war to control it. The Carter Doctrine proves it so and so are the observation/ statements of Cheney and other US Administration policy making bigwigs indicates the same.

In so far as TAPI is concerned, with accelerating demand for oil and gas, countries are seeking new sources and diversifying the sources.

Every drop of oil and every cubic cm of gas are important to developing countries which are industrialising at a rapid pace.

If oil was not a strategic asset and even a weapon that could be used as sanctions, why should countries be worried and start diversifying with multiple sources and ensuring multiple routes to ensure oil and gas reaches them?

TAPI is one such diversification and another route to get the fuel asset.

Therefore, to feel that TAPI is not important to South and East Asian markets would not be correct, given that there is hectic parleys on amongst countries involved in obtaining the TAPI benefits. I think I have given the links of the talks held as late as this year (20 Apr 2011).

The question that arises is, if Afghanistan and TAPI is not important, strategically or otherwise, to the US scheme of things, then why is it objecting to and has totally blocked the IPI?


Lots of people say lots of things, but Kazakhstan and China have already built a major oil pipeline net and a 40 bcm/yr gas pipeline directly linking Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and China. Actions speak louder than words.

China is very clear of its objectives – to be a superpower and even overhaul the US as the real superpower in the pursuit.

China is acutely aware of the importance of oil and gas for her uninterrupted growth to reach her goal.

Yet, China does not have a blue water Navy. China is well aware of this handicap in the event the US blockades the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca.

Therefore China has done the following:

1. Built and still increasing her strategic reserves for oil and gas.

2. Diversify her sources for fuel.

3. Not depend solely on Middle East gas (under US influence including blockade of sea lanes) and therefore the Kazakh. Myanmar and Russian oil (which will be relatively free of US influence).

4. Have multiple land routes to ferry oil and gas to China to include Gwadar – Xinjaing and Myanmar – China, through railway, roads, oil and gas pipelines and ports.
(http://www.burmacentredelhi.org/news/17-china-burma/596-myanmar-china-agree-cross-border-rail-project.html0)

Ray
05-14-2011, 08:25 AM
Fallacy. First, constraining China's growth is not necessarily in the US interest (and IMO is not in the interests of the US). Second, the US cannot constrain China's access to oil. Anyone with money can buy oil, and China has lots of money.

Given that TAPI wouldn't supply China in any case, this seems much ado about nada.

If it was not in the interest of US to contain China including its growth then why:


Both Japan and the U.S. are increasingly feeling the need to push back on China’s growing hegemony in Asia. As for how the geopolitical landscape shifts going forward, there are four possible scenarios how the landscape will evolve.
http://abwblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/japans-senkaku-island-spat-with-china.html


And why is the US trying to build strategic partnership with India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, in addition to its already established strategic relationship with Japan and Australia.

And this will indicate that the US does not want China to have a free run:


Earlier in July this year, when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared at the Hanoi ASEAN meeting that it was in USA’s national interest to keep the sea lanes of South China Sea free for international shipping, it was apparently construed by the Chinese officials as instigating Vietnam against Beijing on the disputed Spratly Islands of the South China Sea.
http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers41%5Cpaper4081.html


Again, it is the question of Oil and growth that is driving Strategy.


Again, fallacy. None of these agreements actually "lock up" oil; they can be altered at any time. If a new government took over in, say, Angola, they could easily and legally toss any agreement with China out the window.

That way everything can be tossed out of the window.

Not really a fallacy.

How can a new govt legally toss out an agreement? Would that not be catered for in the legal agreement on the contract? Is there no court of international arbitration? There is!


Also, oil committed by a producer to a consumer is not "off the market". If Angola commits 3mbpd to China, that's oil that the Chinese will not be buying elsewhere, which frees up other oil for others to buy.

Oil is almost infinitely fungible. This is often forgotten. For example, in the case of Iraq, what is important to the US and all other consumers) is that Iraqi capacity comes back on the market. Where it actually goes makes no difference at all. If Iraq pumped 6mbpd and every drop went to China, that would suit the US just fine, because that would free up other oil from China's other suppliers.
There's a huge amount of nonsense written on the internet about energy by people who have little to no comprehension of energy markets.



Here it is on the ‘lock up’ of oil


Taking oil off the market?
The increasing dependence of China and India on imported oil and gas, and the way the two countries cope with this situation, has global ramifications. A much-debated question is how to judge Chinese and Indian efforts to ‘lock up’ oil resources by purchasing oil fields and acquiring equity oil, signing contracts on exclusive extraction or import rights, and other means of ‘taking oil off the world market’, if this is what they are doing. Only if the state-owned companies that acquire equity oil are willing or obliged to provide the oil to their home market at below-market prices may these deals be said to ’take oil off the market’.
http://www.prio.no/files/file47777_060420_energy_security_in_asia__final_.p df


The US cannot control the world's energy supplies, and it would be silly for them to try: that's how world wars start. At the end of the day, anyone with money can buy oil... and that's just fine for the US.

Again, we all know that oil is a strategic issue globally. It just isn't a strategic issue in Afghanistan.


Events so far have shown that they are not attempting to try, but they have tried and succeeded in controlling the world economy.

They have broken the monopoly of OPEC!

They are ensuring the China does not have a free run to the South China seas!

Control of any oil supply is a strategic issue and so is TAPI.


Again, irrelevant to Afghanistan. A pipeline from Gwadar to China wouldn't pass through Afghanistan, nor would it carry TAPI product. TAPI product is not even sufficient to meet Pakistani and Indian demand.

In any event, China isn't "building a pipeline from Gwadar to China over the Karakorum". It's been discussed, but it isn't being built and I'm not sure it will be, for cost/benefit reasons.

What people often fail to understand about pipelines is that capacity is limited by size. The Kazakh-China pipleine is quite large. It carries 140k bpd, a very small fraction of China's consumption. It cannot carry more, that is it's capacity. Even if a Gwadar-China pipeline was twice the size of the Kazakh pipeline, it could not begin to compensate for a closure of the straits of Malacca or other sea sources. By contrast, a ULCC carries 2m barrels, and there are lots of them available. If you need more, you hire more boats. Can't do that with a pipeline: it carries only its max capacity... and it is extremely easy to disrupt.

True the KKH will not run through Afghanistan.

The fact that China also wants to join in the TAPI with others indicate that they have their interests. If not, where are they interested to join the group?

China has not only a pipeline but are building roads and railways from ports to China, both in Pakistan and in Myanmar.

Chinese Army engineers are already working in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

China has alternate oil sources and routes that are not under US influence.

As I have mentioned, it will not offset closure of Hormuz or Malacca, it is merely diversifying and keeping options open.

China is having multiple pipelines to China and so the capacity of pipeline as such would not be material. It sources are Russia, Kazakhstan, Africa, Myanmar, and they are trying to operate in the South China Sea as well.


How so? The US would not be the "the vendor of the TAPI oil" (and can we finally get it straight that it's gas, not oil?) in any event. The vendor is Turkmenistan. The consumers are Pakistan and India. Afghanistan is a transit country. The US is not in the picture. Period, end of story.

Here is how US is in the picture.


A large part of proposed Foreign Military Financing and other equipment and training aid for FY2005mwill be used to create a rapid reaction brigade at the Atyrau military base, and to support the Kazakh (formerly Central Asian) Peacekeeping battalion, to help Kazakhstan “respond to major terrorist threats to oil platforms or borders,” and otherwise “protect Caspian energy infrastructure and key energy transport
r out e s” (State Department ,Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, FY2005). U.S.-Kazakh relations could be troubled by the upcoming U.S. trial of an American charged with passing bribes from oil companies to Kazakh officials……

The Tengiz oilfield began to be exploited by Chevron-Texaco and Kazakhstan in a consortium during 1993 (U.S. Exxon-Mobil and Russia’s LUKoil later joined). The Karachaganak onshore field is being developed by British Gas and Italy’s Agip oil firm, who estimate reserves of more than 2.4 billion barrels of oil and 16 tcf of gas. In 2002, another consortium led by Agip reported findings from its test wells and research that Kazakhstan’s Kashagan offshore Caspian oil field had between 7-9 billion barrels of oil in proven reserves, comparable to those of Tengiz. Kazakhstan’s oil exports currently are about one million barrels per day (bpd). Armitage stated in April 2004 that “Kazakhstan could well be producing over three million bpd by the end of this decade, making one of the world’s top five oil-exporting nations.”

The link will also indicate the amount of money given to Kazakhstan as aid.

The US’ and the West’s influence in Kazakhstan and its oil and gas can be well understood.


[I]Nobody controls the oil supply, and nobody controls the world economy. To try would be stupid. Deal with it. In any event, Afghanistan is hardly a step toward controlling oil supply. In terms of impact on oil supply, it's one of the world's least relevant places.

Control of world economy is a complex subjects and it covers many facets.

We could start with the Brentwood Agreement and its effect on the control of the world economy.

Then when OPEC did not play ball, US acted.

1. US Senate committee backs bill to break OPEC cartel
http://www.plattsenergyweektv.com/story.aspx?storyid=145784&catid=293

2. The Politics of Oil Prices: 50 Years of OPEC
http://www.middleeastwarpeace.info/2010/10/30/the-politics-of-oil-prices-50-years-of-opec/

The issue to note also that OPEC ‘was constrained’.

TAPI is a just another cog for control that is meshed into the game to be effective.

Dayuhan
05-14-2011, 08:33 AM
On the way out of the house at the moment, but this, link or no link, clearly makes no sense at all:


By 2015, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the use of oil in China will increase some 70 percent from 2009 levels, accounting for 42 percent of global demand over that time period.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-s...umption-2011-4

China consumed 8 million bpd average in 2009. A 70% increase would be 13.6 mbpd. That would be 16% of world consumption (less than the US), not 42%.

Let us not talk falsely now...

davidbfpo
05-14-2011, 03:22 PM
Taken from Post 105 by Ray:
The above five quotes indicate:

1. Indicates that Gwadar is the terminal.
2. There is a pipeline connecting Gwadar to China.
3. There is a road to connect Gwadar with China. (I have also read that there is to be a rail link too!)
4. TAPI will also connect to Gwadar.

I hesitate to enter this exchange, but it is clear that the TAPI pipeline is planned and Gwadar maybe the terminal. This project has been planned and pondered for sometime now. Yes, a Chinese investor has indicated a willingness to build a huge copper mine in Afghanistan, but in none of the posts here has anyone indicated a Chinese investor plans to invest in TAPI. Given the likely instability in Afghanistan for the medium term this pipeline is a dream.

The KKH across the Himalayas is an amazing engineering feat, but is largely symbolic and has very little freight carrying capacity. Note it has been blocked several times by natural events and is closed part of the year, it is not an all-year highway. Yes, the KKH connects to the Pakistani road network and so can reach Gwadar. A rail link is simply not an option given the geography, although there is a railway to Rawlpindi. Yes, the PRC built a railway across the Tibetan plateau to Lhasa, so railway engineers can achieve marvels.

Nor are Pakistani railways known for their effectiveness, especially when compared to India - hence the national investment in roads and a road haulage industry dominated by Afghan drivers.

See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karakoram_Highway

Freight economics mean that sea freight is currently preferable, for bulk loads including oil and for the vast proportion of commercial freight. Air freight moves a lot by value.

In my opinion the decision by external nations on Afghanistan's future is based on far more political factors than pipe dreams, roads and railways.

Ray
05-14-2011, 04:15 PM
On the way out of the house at the moment, but this, link or no link, clearly makes no sense at all:



China consumed 8 million bpd average in 2009. A 70% increase would be 13.6 mbpd. That would be 16% of world consumption (less than the US), not 42%.

Let us not talk falsely now...

I think it would unfair to state I am talking falsely.

It will be appreciated that I am not a surveyor of oil figures or projected the figures.

I merely go by what are the figures available (for public consumption).

By the logic that I am falsely talking because of the link , I reckon every link on the forum would be by that standard, false.

So, what by your yardstick should be the baseline?

Personal opinions?

That could be false also!

Ray
05-14-2011, 04:22 PM
Taken from Post 105 by Ray:

I hesitate to enter this exchange, but it is clear that the TAPI pipeline is planned and Gwadar maybe the terminal. This project has been planned and pondered for sometime now. Yes, a Chinese investor has indicated a willingness to build a huge copper mine in Afghanistan, but in none of the posts here has anyone indicated a Chinese investor plans to invest in TAPI. Given the likely instability in Afghanistan for the medium term this pipeline is a dream.

The KKH across the Himalayas is an amazing engineering feat, but is largely symbolic and has very little freight carrying capacity. Note it has been blocked several times by natural events and is closed part of the year, it is not an all-year highway. Yes, the KKH connects to the Pakistani road network and so can reach Gwadar. A rail link is simply not an option given the geography, although there is a railway to Rawlpindi. Yes, the PRC built a railway across the Tibetan plateau to Lhasa, so railway engineers can achieve marvels.

Nor are Pakistani railways known for their effectiveness, especially when compared to India - hence the national investment in roads and a road haulage industry dominated by Afghan drivers.

See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karakoram_Highway

Freight economics mean that sea freight is currently preferable, for bulk loads including oil and for the vast proportion of commercial freight. Air freight moves a lot by value.

In my opinion the decision by external nations on Afghanistan's future is based on far more political factors than pipe dreams, roads and railways.

I am aware of high altitude roads and have regularly travelled and even driven on one of the highest road in the world (5359 m or 17,582 feet).

There are landslides but they are cleared.

It is correct that Afghanistan is a dangerous place and so is Iraq. US is still hanging around Iraq and will do so in the future too in the 'enduring bases'.

I believe that the Chinese are going to extensively tunnel to build the railway. Not confirmed though.

As far as the Lhasa railway in Tibet, when it was being constructed, there was much scepticism about it because of the engineering 'impossibility' of any construction on the permafrost.

I am no cheerleader of the Chinese, and so I would rather wait and watch and not write them off prematurely.

jmm99
05-14-2011, 05:17 PM
or how to defend against wabid wabbits - Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_Doctrine) and Full Text (http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Documents/2010/April%202010/0410keeper.pdf).

That doctrinal piece of Cold War work still underlies our (US) policy in South Asia (and since the Indian Ocean cannot be neatly subdivided, its SW and SE Asian outliers). It certainly has been attacked, but with no real success over the last 31 years - from Andy Basevich's, The Carter Doctrine at 30 (http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/new/blogs/bacevich/The_Carter_Doctrine_at_30) (lest you place Basevich among leftist wingnuts, he's a conservative - Basevich bio (http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/new/blogs/bios/bacevich/bio-bacevich.html?keepThis=true&TB_iframe=true&height=425&width=400)):


For most Americans, the 30th anniversary of the Carter Doctrine – promulgated by President Jimmy Carter during his January 1980 State of the Union Address – came and went without notice.

The oversight ranks as an unfortunate one. To an extent that few have fully appreciated, the Carter Doctrine has had a transformative impact on U.S. national security policy. Both massive and lasting, its impact has also been almost entirely pernicious. Put simply, the sequence of events that has landed the United States in the middle of an open-ended war to determine the fate of the Greater Middle East begins here.

The Carter Doctrine stands in relation to the ongoing Long War as the Truman Doctrine stood in relation to the Cold War.
....
Prior to January 1980, the Pentagon and the rest of the national security establishment had viewed the Middle East as a backwater. In terms of U. S. strategic priorities, that region of the world lagged well behind Europe and East Asia and probably behind Latin America, as well.

Jimmy Carter’s announcement that the Persian Gulf constituted a vital U.S. national security interest changed all that. In short order, the aims implied by the Carter Doctrine expanded. Within a decade, the United States was not content to prevent outside powers from controlling the Gulf. It sought to claim for itself a dominant position in the region. Within two decades, the arena in which the United States sought that dominant role had expanded, eventually encompassing the entire Greater Middle East.

So, Ray was correct to cite this as a keystone to present US policy. A critical issue to some of us ("Never Again, but...") is how to remove that keystone - without becoming a Samson in the process.

While we are mucking about Basevich's blog, here are several of his links:

The New Imperialism: China in Angola (http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/articles/2011-MarApr/full-Morais-MA-2011.html), Rafael Marques de Mora

Nervous Neighbors: China Finds a Sphere of Influence (http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/articles/2011-MarApr/full-Weitz-MA-2011.html), Richard Weitz

AfPak 2020: A Symposium (http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/articles/2011-MarApr/full-AfPak2020-MA-2011.html), Victor Davis Hanson, James Traub, Ann Marlowe, Matthieu Aikins

The first two articles simply provide some context for the viewpoints in the Symposium.

Obviously, I personally don't favor continuation of the Carter Doctrine or its so-called Reagan Corollary.

Regards

Mike

Dayuhan
05-14-2011, 10:11 PM
I think it would unfair to state I am talking falsely.

Possibly so; I was just channeling Jimi Hendrix channeling Bob Dylan. So it goes.


It will be appreciated that I am not a surveyor of oil figures or projected the figures.

I merely go by what are the figures available (for public consumption).

By the logic that I am falsely talking because of the link , I reckon every link on the forum would be by that standard, false.

So, what by your yardstick should be the baseline?

The baseline should be common sense. Before citing or quoting data or opinions, they have to be run through a basic screen: there's a lot of lunacy on the net and a lot of outright errors. In this case, anyone even vaguely familiar with oil markets would know instantly that the claim cited was baseless. It's baseless no matter how often it's repeated.

The first requirement for making sense out of material gleaned from online browsing is to engage the BS meter and assure that it's fully functional.

To echo David, I'd point out the following:

The currently planned route of TAPI is as I stated above.

The Pakistanis have proposed an alternate route, which looks like it would conveniently cut out India.

There have been discussions of a Chinese-funded port at Gwadar and pipeline to China.

Proposals and discussions are words. Please don't talk about these things as if they exist, because they don't.

These proposals were clearly not the reason why the US entered Afghanistan, because they didn't exist when the US entered Afghanistan.

This is all words dancing on the head of a pin, though, because if you take it back to the question of why the US is in Afghanistan, none of it makes any difference. Even in the remote event that TAPI was running at 33bcm/year and every bit was going to China, that would not be anything remotely close to a cause for war in Afghanistan. There is no way on this sad earth that the US would go to war to prevent 33 bcm/yr of gas from getting to China, or to get that gas to go somewhere else. It's just not enough to be worth it. There's not even the vaguest shred of economic logic there.

That's not saying oil and gas aren't important. They are. This particular case, though just doesn't involve enough gas to justify the enormous expense and liability of war. Not even close. We're not talking about the Straits or Hormuz here, or Iraq.

Fuchs
05-14-2011, 10:25 PM
I don't think he or most people interested in the Afghan War are working with cost/benefit analysis.

There's a lot of subjective thought, emotion, instincts involved. Psychological factors like habit and fashion (group dynamics) are involved.


It's more about people feeling that Afghanistan is important and feeling that Afghanistan's location in Asia (the fashionable continent) is relevant.


This whole Afghanistan nonsense was not the work of a strategy master creating a cunning plan (my archetype for this are Machiavelli or von Bismarck) in his office and everything then just unfolds.
It's rather like very important yet very useless people stumbling into a mess because several interested parties and certain events pushed them forward.

Dayuhan
05-14-2011, 10:43 PM
A few things you might want to reconsider before repeating them...


If the US quits Afghanistan, then it will be just what the doctor ordered for China. They will move in and merely change the vendor of the TAPI oil. Taliban and their shenanigans will not affect China since it ‘does not interfere in the internal matters of countries’ (in other words, morality, mayhem and terrorism is not their concern).

First, as previously stated, a Chinese presence in Afghanistan would not "change the vendor of the TAPI oil". For one thing it's gas, not oil, and the vendor would still be Turkmenistan.

Security would still be a major problem. Whether or not China interfered in Afghanistan would be quite immaterial. The pipeline would be a major source of revenue for the Afghan government, and would thus be a target for any insurgent fighting the Afghan government. Realistically, whoever comes out on top of the current Afghan mess is going to face insurgents, and those insurgents will target the government's sources of revenue no matter who the foreign partner is.


How can a new govt legally toss out an agreement? Would that not be catered for in the legal agreement on the contract? Is there no court of international arbitration? There is!

Ask Hugo Chavez. He's unilaterally re-ordered any number of oil-related agreements, and gotten away with it.

Surely you recall a country or two in the Middle East nationalizing foreign-owned oil infrastructure?

In the case of China's Arican excursions in particular, nationalization would be easy and I expect to see it happen sooner or later in some cases. All a new government would have to do is claim that the existing agreement was consummated illegally, due to bribery (true in every case), that it is inconsistent with national interest, and that it is thus void. They'd get away with it.


Here it is on the ‘lock up’ of oil

Again, having a source doesn't make something true. Oil committed by a supplier to a consumer is not "taken off the market". If Angola commits 3mbpd to China, that removes 3mbpd of supply from the market, but it also removes 3 mbpd of demand from the market. The market remains unchanged.


Events so far have shown that they are not attempting to try, but they have tried and succeeded in controlling the world economy.

They have broken the monopoly of OPEC!

They are ensuring the China does not have a free run to the South China seas!

The US does not control the world economy. I think we've all seen recently that nobody controls the world economy.

The US did not break the monopoly of OPEC. OPEC never had a monopoly. Their dominance has been to some extent reduced by the rise of non-OPEC production, but the US didn't do that. More than anyone else the Russians did, and the other non-OPEC producers.

China does have free run of the South China Sea. So does the US. So does everybody else. It's an open corridor.

Control of world economy is a complex subjects and it covers many facets.


We could start with the Brentwood Agreement and its effect on the control of the world economy.

If you're referring to the Bretton Woods agreement, I'm familiar with it. You, apparently, are not.

On China, while there's a great deal of hysterical Sinophobia out there, I don't share it, or see China as an enemy or a threat (and I live in SE Asia). Judging from actions, I don't think the US Government shares that hysteria either, though some politicians certainly do. In any event the US would not go to war in Afghanistan to contain China... that would make cutting off your nose to spite your face seem downright logical.

The US presence in Afghanistan is not about oil or gas. Afghanistan is simply not important enough to the energy picture to justify the gargantuan expense of war.

It is about disrupting and defeating AQ, and while that goal has not been achieved completely, it has arguably been achieved to the greatest extent that it can be achieved in Afghanistan without doing things the US is not going to do... like invading Pakistan.

The size of the US presence in Afghanistan is in many ways counterproductive. It actually reduces US leverage on Pakistan, because the enormous logistic requirements cannot be met without Pakistani cooperation. Reducing the force to a level that could be sustained without transit through Pakistan would allow the US to be much more assertive with Pakistan.

I'd also submit that the size of the US presence is actually retarding the growth of Afghan capacity. If Afghan leaders see that the US is indefinitely committed to doing all the fighting, most of the governance, and paying all the bills, they have no incentive to be effective. They can take it easy, let us do the work, and focus on filling their pockets. A substantial US drawdown could be a tangible reminder to GIROA, ANA, and ANP that the time is coming when they will have to stand or fall on their own... and that could be a very useful way of motivating them to take more responsibility.

Too often the options are cast as "abandon the Afghans" vs "stay the course". That's bogus. There's a whole range in between maintaining the status quo and running away.

omarali50
05-15-2011, 01:17 AM
Taken from Post 105 by Ray:


In my opinion the decision by external nations on Afghanistan's future is based on far more political factors than pipe dreams, roads and railways.

Hear Hear! I agree one hundred and ten percent.

jmm99
05-15-2011, 02:33 AM
on this and other topics with Ray and Steve (Dayuhan). For that, I'd buy a Web cam; but not the connect fees. :)

Ray, you definitely need an avatar - and Kali (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali) ain't it (or maybe she is). :D

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Kali_lithograph.jpg/442px-Kali_lithograph.jpg

Regards (to both of you "contentious buzzards" :))

Mike

PS: Thinking about it, I'd add JMA. Then I'd have a spectrum of "contentious buzzards" across the Indian Ocean - PI to India to South Africa.

Dayuhan
05-15-2011, 02:50 AM
This whole Afghanistan nonsense was not the work of a strategy master creating a cunning plan (my archetype for this are Machiavelli or von Bismarck) in his office and everything then just unfolds. It's rather like very important yet very useless people stumbling into a mess because several interested parties and certain events pushed them forward.

Truly is it said that thou shalt not attribute to malice (or conspiracy, or strategy) what is adequately explained by stupidity (or blundering, or accident).


PS: Thinking about it, I'd add JMA. Then I'd have a spectrum across the Indian Ocean - PI to India to South Africa.

You'd have to add Fuchs for a European perspective, and an Aussie. And Ken, of course. Somebody would have to keep us all in line, and who else could?

Ken White
05-15-2011, 02:58 AM
a line. I would like the Hot Dog and Popcorn concession, though...:D

Ray
05-15-2011, 04:00 AM
Mike,

Thanks for the links.

When I quit learning, I will be dead!

jmm99
05-15-2011, 04:10 AM
As to Fuchs - NO. He should definitely know why I say that. "Nuff said" (it's personal).

As to an Aussie, Mark O'Neill (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/member.php?u=781) of the "Deadly Red Hand of Ulster" - YES.

As to Ken White (for whom at SWC, I have "the respect" - you can parse that as to the definite article), he can be "tie break" or whatever else he wants to be, including Regimental Sgt. Maj. G-d knows, he's earned it.

I except the "Hot Dog and Popcorn concession" from Ken's venue. That exception is to avoid any appearence of impropriety - because of what a CSM of the Army once engaged in. :( A good friend and client of mine saw all of that happening at the various clubs around Saigon. The CSM had more than a "Hot Dog and Popcorn concession" going (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,840224,00.html).

Regards

Mike

jmm99
05-15-2011, 04:41 AM
Marc-André Lagrange (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/member.php?u=3717), who disagrees with me as much as he agrees with me (although we are friends - colonialement and TdM (http://www.troupesdemarine.org/index2.htm) go a long way; and recognize variant opinions).

I think both of us are pretty much on the same page as to neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism. In any event, Marc has some innovative ideas about how to approach local (village and district) problems - which can only be addressed by a practitioner. So, if one wants an EU practitioner who knows the Islamic World, I give you the guy from Barsoom.

I think that answers the EU component suggested by Steve (Dayuhan) - I love that bony guitar player.

But, go to Easy Pool Tutor (http://forums.easypooltutor.com/) (the Best Pool Site in the World; Dayuhan's World, in part; and also My World, in part). So, Steve, if you're a pool player, we can also talk (two by two, as in Noah's Ark).

Regards

Mikle

Ken White
05-15-2011, 04:58 AM
I'd likely burn the Hot Dogs anyway...:D

Woolridge got a bum rap to a slight extent -- he and others were really guilty of tolerating flaky and illegal operations for good Clubs, a common thing from WWI (the birth of the Club system) until 1968-69 -- incidentally, those were NCO Clubs and not Service Clubs, a totally different creature. Unfortunately, his minor cupidity and major stupidity effectively emasculated the position of Sergeant Major of the Army AND started the Club system on a road to ruin from which they never recovered once the GAO inspired auditing processes were implemented. I was not and am not sympathetic due to the damage he wrought. Not that impressed by some of his successors either... :rolleyes:

As you know, I would never lend myself to any impropriety -- unless it involved Rebecca Romjin or maybe Amy Adams or... -- but certainly not for mere Shekels. Très gauche ... :D

jmm99
05-15-2011, 05:52 AM
but I'm going to say this here because it is what I believe and feel.

You (in a virtual role at SWC) have been a replacement "dad". Not exactly to him (but check the look"):

http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1406&d=1298230141

which was a WWII face on him (more tender faces could be supplied, I'll admit).

You were probably a better shooter (I was); but probably not a better fisher, hunter or trapper than my dad. I've said all this privately to you.

Regards

Mike

Ray
05-15-2011, 08:24 AM
The baseline should be common sense. Before citing or quoting data or opinions, they have to be run through a basic screen: there's a lot of lunacy on the net and a lot of outright errors. In this case, anyone even vaguely familiar with oil markets would know instantly that the claim cited was baseless. It's baseless no matter how often it's repeated.

The first requirement for making sense out of material gleaned from online browsing is to engage the BS meter and assure that it's fully functional.

Agreed that the baseline should be common sense.

However, to assume that one is ‘the last word’ would be fallacious, if not haughty.

Personal opinions on the net could be lunacy.

Yet, to assume that /public figures / authors / commentators would publish/ proclaim, in the public domain, articles that would put at stake their personal reputation by citing falsehoods is totally bogus.

Of course, there would be exceptions – like Saddam has WMD and so let’s go to war!!!

And interestingly, to such lunacy, there would be the multitude who would consider contrary opinions as lunacy and full of errors!

Further, opinion and credibility of links depends on the composition of the nationalities and even national agendas. To the Chinese, every comment or a link, contrary to their established view, is ‘American propaganda’.

With such a mindset, there can be hardly any discussion that does not conform to the ‘official’ or the nationally perceived line!!

In Pakistan, a vast majority feel OBL is not dead and it is a US hoax! There is also a view that Osama was killed elsewhere and the dead body brought to Abbotabad, Pakistan to give Pakistan a bad name! Try convincing them!


To echo David, I'd point out the following:

The currently planned route of TAPI is as I stated above.

The Pakistanis have proposed an alternate route, which looks like it would conveniently cut out India.

There have been discussions of a Chinese-funded port at Gwadar and pipeline to China.

Proposals and discussions are words. Please don't talk about these things as if they exist, because they don't.

If TAPI is a currently planned route it is means it is a proposal.

Therefore, why scoff at the other proposals that link TAPI to Gwadar? Is it because, it does not fit your line of debate?

Are we to understand the the govt official who had discussions on TAPI in Delhi (link given) are irresponsible people who know not what they are doing? Highly condescending on your part!!

So, as per you, Gwadar port is a mere discussions of a Chinese-funded port?

Events seem to prove otherwise.


QUETTA, Dec 21: The Gwadar port became fully functional on Sunday after a ship carrying fertiliser from Qatar anchored at the port…..

Another ship from Qatar, also carrying fertiliser, will anchor at the port on Monday. Over the next four months over 21 more ships are expected to anchor at the country’s third port after Karachi and Port Qasim.
http://www.balochrise.com/vb/showthread.php?t=2747
http://www.dawn. com/2008/ 12/22/top2. htm

Gwadar is a two phase construction project. It is functional and improving its infrastructure. It is Chinese funded and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited is involved in the construction.

Proposal and discussions are words, but they also fructify. They are not always hot air. The Gwadar China rail link has been given to a German company and the feasibility study for the pipeline is on, as is learnt. One has to see the terrain to realise that the study will require time because errors can be very costly in the high altitude. The Himalayas are mainly young folded mountains. And they are not stable.

The again, if the KKH is functional, why can't a pipeline be feasible? In Siachen, pipelines are used to pump KOil and the construction is a marvel since the K Oil does not freeze!! Isn’t there a saying - "The impossible we do immediately, miracles take a little longer"?


These proposals were clearly not the reason why the US entered Afghanistan, because they didn't exist when the US entered Afghanistan.

This is all words dancing on the head of a pin, though, because if you take it back to the question of why the US is in Afghanistan, none of it makes any difference. Even in the remote event that TAPI was running at 33bcm/year and every bit was going to China, that would not be anything remotely close to a cause for war in Afghanistan. There is no way on this sad earth that the US would go to war to prevent 33 bcm/yr of gas from getting to China, or to get that gas to go somewhere else. It's just not enough to be worth it. There's not even the vaguest shred of economic logic there.

That's not saying oil and gas aren't important. They are. This particular case, though just doesn't involve enough gas to justify the enormous expense and liability of war. Not even close. We're not talking about the Straits or Hormuz here, or Iraq.

With due regards to you, how do you state with so much of authority These proposals were clearly not the reason why the US entered Afghanistan, because they didn't exist when the US entered Afghanistan.?

Events prove that this statement reinforces the point that people generally have a ‘blind faith’ in the morality of their country’s action.

All Americans believed Bush that Saddam still had WMD and supported unreservedly the gung ho into Iraq. The hype was such that it became unpatriotic not to wear the lapel pin or not support the war!

Likewise, is the belief that Afghanistan is all about OBL and AQ.

Have you ever paused to think as to why Karzai was made the President of Afghanistan when the Americans set up the govt?

Let’s look at a non US view:


The goal is "bringing Afghanistan into the fold", said a Brookings Institution analyst. But Karzai was brought into the US fold long ago. In the 1980s, as the Afghan mujahideen were fighting Soviet occupiers, the smart-dressing, Quetta, Pakistan-based "Gucci guerrilla", as American correspondents referred to Karzai's likes at the time, helped organize "logistical support" (facilitating US weapons shipments). But much of his time then and later was also spent in the US......

The man who spotted Karzai's leadership potential and recruited him to "the fold" was then RAND (the think tank, mostly conducting contract research for the Pentagon) program director, now US National Security Council member and special Bush envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad. Like Karzai, Khalilzad is an ethnic Pashtun (born Mazar-i-Sharif, PhD University of Chicago). He headed Bush's defense department transition team, and served under present US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in the Reagan State and Bush I Defense Departments. Also like Karzai (whom Mullah Omar once asked to represent the Taliban at the UN), Khalilzad early on supported and urged engagement of the Taliban regime, only to drop such notions when the true nature of the regime became patently obvious by 1998. And one further thing both men have in common is that in 1996/97 they advised American oil company Unocal on the US$2 billion project of a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline. In 2000, Khalilzad invited Karzai to address a RAND seminar on Afghanistan; the same year, Karzai also testified before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and met periodically with Christina Rocca, then a Senate aide (to Kansas Republican Sen Sam Brownback), now the assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs. "To us, he is still Hamid, a man we've dealt with for some time," said a state department official.
http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/DA29Ag02.html

The Asiatimes view has been taken by standing back and looking at the issue based on facts and not fiction.

While you have given your points of view on a personal note, I have given each point with a link to backup what I have stated.

I am not repeating myself and if indeed I have done so, it is to indicate that you are missing the wood for the trees.

That it is Oil is a major part of the US policy and they will fight to ensure that it is controlled by them is established. I am sure the US Presidents would know more about policy than you. Or are they prized chumps?

It is a figment of fertile and overheated imagination that the US goes to war on such abstract issues like Freedom and Democracy or wiping out the AQ!

By that token of abstract being the raison d’être, the Islamic world would be right that the War on Terror is a War Against Islam and a plot for Christianity to take over the world!

I find both the ideas most juvenile and laughable!

Even on the issue of WMD, if any country fitted GW Bush’s concept of Axis of Evil, then it should have been Pakistan since they had known WMD, they had no democracy since a military dictator who came to power in a coup toppling a democratic govt, and also had delivery means of the WMD! So, that much for professed raison d’être for pursuing a line of action.

Hence, it is difficult to suppose that Afghanistan was merely to send OBL and the AQ to Kingdom Come! Or even the idea that the US went into Afghanistan for ‘revenge’ or to use that quaint Americanism = kick A$$!

On the issue of oil, if you notice world events, the US has always intervened for many reasons including 'humanitarian'. However, mostly, only in regions having OIL!!

Libya, for instance. Angola, Iraq, TAPI (like it or not) or backing Japan in the South China Sea spat.

How is it that the missed out on the actual genocide in Rwanda or the atrocities in Zimbabwe, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain?

Yes, and why does the US have a huge Base in Bahrain?

Ray
05-15-2011, 08:28 AM
Dayuhan

I could have answered each of your posts, but then I find the UNEF has intervened and so I give way.

Bob's World
05-15-2011, 12:21 PM
Ray,

You discount a essential element of how Americans think, feel and react. Certainly we appreciate the need for oil. Most people around the world understand that about us as it is quite rational.

What is so often discounted is our ability to be completely irrational when it comes to seeking and exacting revenge. As a nation we remain an impetuous youth, instilled with a high sense of honor (and sensitive to slights of that self-perception). Less appreciated by most is that and due to the nature of the type of person gleaned from nations around the world who are willing to risk leaving everything stable and known behind to come to a land of opportunity, unknowns, and risk; we suffer from a bit of a national attention deficit disorder that makes us creative, optimistic, tolerant to a fault of small slights; but hair-triggered to dive in with both fists when we perceive a large slight. Often in a completely irrational manner.

Were there some national leaders with rational motives who played upon the American propensity to dive into a good fight? Perhaps, but I strongly doubt we would have gone to the backwater of Afghanistan if that were the case, particularly when the vast majority who attacked us were Saudis. If we were rational we would have seized upon this excuse to occupy that country, not Afghanistan. No, this was a pure case of Americans being Americans. Tell us we can't do something, and we try twice as hard. Try to warn us off, and we redouble our efforts in response. For a short history, the examples are endless.

But that should have been a strategic raid, followed by an immediate withdrawal, with greater surveillance and attention left behind. But we needed bases to pursue AQ from, so we lingered. As the Afghan insurgency began to broil up around us, we instinctively upped our own efforts to help our partner contain the problem, and down the slippery slope we slid.

We did not appreciate how our very presence enabled Karzai and the Northern Alliance to create a government designed to systematically exclude the banished Taliban from ever having a legal chance at political or economic opportunity in their own land. With such a government created, revolution was inevitable. As we piled in more effort and money from foreign lands to curb the Revolution, we fueled the Resistance by our very efforts, and it grew as well.


At this point, the best advice is that of Lord General Roberts on a very similar debate in London back in 1880.

"We have nothing to fear from Afghanistan,
and the best thing to do is to leave it as
much as possible to itself. It may not be very
flattering to our 'amour propre', but I feel
sure I am right when I say that the less the
Afghans see of us the less they will dislike us.

Should Russia in future years attempt to
conquer Afghanistan, or invade India
through it, we should have a better chance
of attaching the Afghans to our interest if
we avoid all interference with them in the
meantime."
Lord Frederick “Bobs” Roberts of Kandahar, 1880

JMA
05-15-2011, 12:46 PM
Ray,

You discount a essential element of how Americans think, feel and react. Certainly we appreciate the need for oil. Most people around the world understand that about us as it is quite rational.

What is so often discounted is our ability to be completely irrational when it comes to seeking and exacting revenge.

Bob, Ray is expressing a view from the sub-continent and nobody here is trying very hard to attempt to understand where he is coming from. His view and no doubt also of many others from the region is how they see the US actions. If you don't believe him to be interpreting these actions correctly surely you understand that it is the US that has a PR problem which needs to be addressed?

Bob's World
05-15-2011, 01:21 PM
Bob, Ray is expressing a view from the sub-continent and nobody here is trying very hard to attempt to understand where he is coming from. His view and no doubt also of many others from the region is how they see the US actions. If you don't believe him to be interpreting these actions correctly surely you understand that it is the US that has a PR problem which needs to be addressed?

I wrote my response because of where he says he is writing from. Americans have a bad habit of thinking that everyone thinks like we do. They don't. Obviously living in America is very different than most of the world. What I added is a perspective I had read before regarding natural selection and the general make up of the American populace. I realize I do not, and cannot think like an Indian (which in of itself is a gross generalizatoin given the size and complextiy of that populace), so I am trying to appreciate the understanding behind his inputs as well.

An American of Japanese, English, Indian, and Russian ethnicities, may well have more in common with each other than with their average countryman back in the motherland. Obviously this is a gross generality; but other than African Americans and the large numbers of convicts sent her by England prior to the revolution, very few immigrants to America did not assume a tremendous personal risk to go into the unknown to seek some better future. Most people do not take that kind of risk. So, while we draw people from many backgrounds and blend them together, which is fairly unique; we also naturally selected for a higher propensity for risk taking and instability than the general populace as well.

I don't think this means the US needs to have a warning label applied to it, but I would advise in general terms for others not to be lulled by America's seeming focus on rational economic ends and complacency to small slights (to us, perhaps large and baffling in why we ignore them to others) into believing that we will not dedicate our entire considerable energy to the pursuit of some aim that is completely irrational to others. That is just who we are.

Often we send the wrong signal, and others are emboldened by our indifference to a series of small acts; only to be hammered once that one act too many or of the wrong sort is committed. We tend to be idealistic; and this also blinds us to the more realist agendas of our partners on these little adventures as well.

Ray
05-15-2011, 01:23 PM
JMA,

Thanks.

Bob,

Tell us we can't do something, and we try twice as hard.

OK I am saying you can't hang around Afghanistan! :)

No offence meant.

Just ribbing!

Ray
05-15-2011, 02:05 PM
What is so often discounted is our ability to be completely irrational when it comes to seeking and exacting revenge.

Interesting thought.

However, if this is true that this spurs US strategy and strategic thinking and nothing else, then it is surprising that this was not realised by those who advises their govts. For if they did, then their govt would suitably modify their outlook in their interaction with the US. I presume all would like to have stable friends and not quixotic ones.

I will say this that in my interaction with Americans in India and abroad and with the US officers I taught or did courses with, I somehow did not find this streak of wanting revenge inbuilt in their psyche.

In fact, I found them very rational and that does not mean that they did not stand their ground.

One such officer who was doing a course with me was Walter Doran, who I believe became an Admiral. One of the finest gentleman and very polished too I would say.

Bob's World
05-15-2011, 02:52 PM
Names like "Lexington"; "Ft Sumpter"; "Alamo"; "The Maine"; "The Lusitania"; "Pearl Harbor"; "Gulf of Tonkin"; and "World Trade Center" all have special meaning and a symbolic linkage in the history of American warfare.

I did not say Americans were not rational; just said they were different, and when we or others, forget that it leads to miscaluations. And certain types of events tend to generate tremendous popular support across party lines, with vengence for some violent injustice being the prime motivator.

You are very right about one thing though; we have a tremendous conflict of interest on the Arabian Peninsula that tears at us much like the conflict of interest we have created for Pakistan tears at them.

We have made allies of governments who would work with us to keep Soviet influence out of the Gulf and keep oil flowing and sea lanes open. We have turned a blind eye to the growing impunity of those governments and to the growing social unrest that bin Laden and his AQ organization have leveraged so effectively these past 15 years or so.

Now as the mementum of popular action is overcoming the inertia of govenmental suppression we find ourselves caught between our own principles we profess so loudly and our fears as to how well our interests will be met if these dodgy allies collapse. That is a mess of our own making, and we will need to rely on some of that aforementioned American risk taking to get out of it. Much of this can be resolved by these governments engaging their populaces and embracing true, reasonable, and substantive evolution of governance. Most, being autocrats, will cling to their position though and be forced from office. Too bad, as that is very avoidable. This could throw the global economy for a loop if this goes very bad, and it could very easily do just that.

Dayuhan
05-15-2011, 11:35 PM
I don't think I'm getting across here, and the extent to which I'm willing to try is running down... but one more effort.


Agreed that the baseline should be common sense

Common sense means refraining from citing information that is clearly wrong, such as suggestions that China will consume 40% of global oil output by 2015, or that the Straits of Hormuz carry 60% of the world's oil. These are simple, verifiable factual inaccuracies that are instantly recognizable as such by anyone even vaguely familiar with world oil markets.

Common sense means refraining from linking to material that is from ideological fringe or other clearly biased sites. We all know there's a world of lunacy out there, no need to link to it.

Common sense means only linking to material that is directly relevant to the discussion, and refraining from drawing conclusions that are not in fact supported by the material cited (example below).


If TAPI is a currently planned route it is means it is a proposal.

Therefore, why scoff at the other proposals that link TAPI to Gwadar? Is it because, it does not fit your line of debate?

The currently planned route has been studied and surveyed. There is an actual plan, which has been agreed upon by the 4 nations involved and the ADB, the poor sods currently in line to finance the mess, as no private company seems interested (a good sign that the viability is very questionable).

A proposal is made by one country, and may or may not be accepted by the other parties. There may be a serious attempt to execute the proposal, or it may just be a ploy, a chip to be bargained away in return for some other concession.

Personally I think India would be well advised to dump the whole project and let Pakistan and China deal with it. The probability of completion - or even a start - in the medium term future is remote, the security vulnerabilities would be immense, and given the state of relations between India and Pakistan any supply transiting through Pakistan would be inherently unreliable. Just my opinion, of course.


With due regards to you, how do you state with so much of authority These proposals were clearly not the reason why the US entered Afghanistan, because they didn't exist when the US entered Afghanistan.?

Events prove that this statement reinforces the point that people generally have a ‘blind faith’ in the morality of their country’s action.

Nothing to do with morality at all. It's impossible to act on the basis of a proposal that hasn't yet been made, unless you can see into the future, which Americans obviously cannot do. The effect cannot precede the cause.


All Americans believed Bush that Saddam still had WMD and supported unreservedly the gung ho into Iraq. The hype was such that it became unpatriotic not to wear the lapel pin or not support the war!

All Americans didn't believe it. I certainly didn't, and I'm American. It was fairly obvious from the start that WMD were a pretext designed to nominally satisfy the "imminent threat" criterion, and that the actual purpose was a great deal broader. Of course the actual purpose - which was by no means hidden to anyone paying attention - went far beyond "getting Iraq's oil", Getting Iraqi oil back onto the market was of course important to the US (and China, and all other consumers) but there was much more to the Neocon delusion than that.


Likewise, is the belief that Afghanistan is all about OBL and AQ.

Have you ever paused to think as to why Karzai was made the President of Afghanistan when the Americans set up the govt?

Let’s look at a non US view:

The Asiatimes view has been taken by standing back and looking at the issue based on facts and not fiction.

This is an example of a citation that does not support the argument. There is nothing at all here to suggest that gas was the motive for the US entry into Afghanistan, or that Karzai was selected because of his previous connection to the TAPI project. Correlation is not causation, unless of course you're Michael Moore, or Rush Limbaugh.

Karzai was the guy Americans went to when they wanted to get something done in Afghanistan. He didn't have much competition in that place. That doesn't mean anyone who went to him wanted to get the same thing done, far from it.


That it is Oil is a major part of the US policy and they will fight to ensure that it is controlled by them is established. I am sure the US Presidents would know more about policy than you. Or are they prized chumps?

It is a figment of fertile and overheated imagination that the US goes to war on such abstract issues like Freedom and Democracy or wiping out the AQ!

Wiping out someone who attacked two of your cities and killed thousands of your people is not abstract at all. It's practically a necessity: post 9/11 any US government would have had to attack somebody or seem a wimp; domestic politics demanded it.

Nobody is saying that oil is not important, or that the US wouldn't fight over oil. Of course the US would fight over oil if the oil issue in question posed a threat to US interests, or a potential gain to US interests, significant enough to warrant war. Similarly the US will go to war in response to a terrorist act if the act and the threat of future acts are severe enough to warrant war.

It's a question of scale, and this is what you simply aren't confronting.

Look at the terrorist side. The US will not embark on full scale war in Yemen to hunt down AQAP because they tried to send bombs on cargo planes. It's a terrorist act, and there's a threat of further acts, but the severity - the scale - is not sufficient to justify war. In the case of 9/11, both the severity and the perceived threat of future attacks were orders of magnitude larger, large enough - in the perception of that time at least - to justify war.

Now look at oil and gas. Certainly the US would fight to keep the Straits of Hormuz open. The impact on US interests is sufficient and obvious. But look at the scale of TAPI. What impact on US interests would accrue from bringing 27bcm/yr of gas to Pakistan and Afghanistan? Realistically, none. What would the impact be on US interests if that gas were diverted to China? Realistically, none. It's just not enough to make a difference, or to justify the cost and risk of fighting. It's not that oil and gas aren't a cause for fighting... the scale of this project is just nowhere near enough to justify the cost and risk of war.

It's not that oil is worth fighting for and terrorism isn't, or the other way around. Either is sufficient, if the scale and the impact on US interests make it sufficient.

To support a claim that the US went to war over TAPI you'd have to demonstrate that this particular project - not oil and gas generically, but this specific project - poses sufficient threat or sufficient potential gain to the US to justify war. This has not been done. Any effort to do that would only be credible if it demonstrated specific gains and risks... vague implications of "controlling Caspian oil supplies" are insufficient, because TAPI would not in any event offer control of those supplies.

As mentioned before, the US would not control TAPI output or destination under any proposed scenario.


On the issue of oil, if you notice world events, the US has always intervened for many reasons including 'humanitarian'. However, mostly, only in regions having OIL!!

Libya, for instance. Angola, Iraq, TAPI (like it or not) or backing Japan in the South China Sea spat.

How is it that the missed out on the actual genocide in Rwanda or the atrocities in Zimbabwe, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain?

Yes, and why does the US have a huge Base in Bahrain?

As I said, the US will certainly fight over oil, if the specific oil issue being contested has sufficient impact on the US to justify fighting. TAPI, as pointed out above, does not. The Arabian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz do, hence a base in Bahrain. Again, scale. The US would go to war over an ocean of oil. They would not go to war over a barrel. Somewhere in between is a demarcation, and I see no credible evidence that TAPI would fall above that line. It's just not big enough and the potential impact on US interests is not significant enough.

As far as the other examples go, you will note that American engagement in Libya has been severely restrained despite the presence of oil, with great effort going into avoiding any situation that could lead to US responsibility or control. One might also note that the US hasn't intervened in Angola since the Cold War, at which time Angola was not a significant oil producer: that was simply about trying to "counter Soviet influence", which the US did almost everywhere it could, with or without oil in the picture.

The US isn't "backing Japan in the South China Sea spat" because Japan isn't involved in a South China Sea spat. The only spat going on in the South China Sea is the enduring game of claim and counter-claim over various islands and seabed areas among China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, etc. The US has not been much engaged in that, beyond statements that a peaceful settlement is preferred.

You might want to explain, concisely, what specific threat or prospect of gain you think TAPI poses for the US that would justify war. It's either about fear of harm or hope of gain, no? Given the scale of the project, what specific harm could be done to the US, or what specifically could the US gain, that would justify the cost and risk of war?

Ray
05-16-2011, 04:01 AM
Dayuhan,

Thanks for the interaction.

It was educative.

It is obvious that we have different perspectives and that is natural.

I appreciate your views, even if I don't subscribe to them since I am seeing it from a South Asia and an Asia Pacific perspective.

Thanks.

Dayuhan
05-16-2011, 04:10 AM
Having lived just about my entire adult life in SE Asia I'm not really sure what my perspective is... but all perspective has to be based on something, and it is by finding and evaluating the bases that we make sense of perspectives.

Ray
05-18-2011, 05:10 PM
Dayuhan and Bob's World,


What to you make of this:


Pakistan has now taken centre stage in Russia's efforts to play a more active role in Central and South Asia as Moscow braces for the drawdown of U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

At a summit in Sochi last August, Russia institutionalised a quadripartite forum with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan to counter the spread of drugs, terrorism and instability via Central Asia towards Russian borders. The four countries agreed to undertake joint economic projects in power generation, transport infrastructure and mining. At a follow-up meeting of economic Ministers in Moscow last October, the four discussed in greater detail plans to rebuild a trade Silk Route from former Soviet Central Asia via Afghanistan to Pakistan and export electricity from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Russia confirmed its readiness to invest in the oil, gas and hydropower sectors of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan.


Two months later Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Dushanbe that Russia was willing to help fund and build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, to which Moscow was earlier opposed.



In the past few months Moscow and Islamabad have prepared the ground for energising their flagging economic ties. The Inter-governmental Commission on Trade and Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation met for the first time in Moscow last September. Two months later Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Dushanbe that Russia was willing to help fund and build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, to which Moscow was earlier opposed. During Mr. Zardari's visit the sides are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding for the modernisation and expansion of the Pakistan Steel Mills in Karachi, which the Soviet Union built in the 1970s, as well as five other MoUs for the supply of Russian rail tracks, cooperation in the oil and gas sector, power generation, coal mining and agriculture.

The Pakistani President is arriving in Russia ten days after U.S. commandos killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan where he had enjoyed safe haven for years. However, Moscow made it clear this fact will not affect relations with Islamabad.
http://www.hindu.com/2011/05/11/stories/2011051154151300.htm


and


In another breakthrough for Pakistan, Mr. Medvedev in Sochi gave the green signal for an inaugural meeting of the Russian-Pakistani Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade and Economic and Scientific-Technological Cooperation in Islamabad this month. The two countries agreed to set up the joint commission 10 years ago but Moscow has, till now, blocked its launch.


Two main conclusions can be drawn from the Medvedev-Zardari meeting: the Russian-Pakistani dialogue has, for the first time, been promoted to the level of Presidents; and Moscow has overcome its reluctance to develop full-fledged relations with Islamabad. The only taboo for Russia still is sale of weapons to Pakistan but its defence technologies have been trickling into Pakistan, mostly through third countries. Ukrainian main battle tanks, T-80, supplied to Pakistan in the 1990s, had Russian-built key systems and components. Following a “private” visit to Russia by Gen. Musharraf and an official visit by army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani last summer, Russia lifted its objections to the supply to Pakistan of Chinese JF-17 fighter planes powered by Russian RD-93 engines. Many years ago, Russia had sold Pakistan over 40 MI-171 transport helicopters of a non-military version.

What has made the Moscow turnaround is the realisation that seeing Islamabad as part of the region's problems does not help to advance the Russian goal of playing a bigger role in the region. The Kremlin finally decided that Pakistan must be part of the solution. The format of four-way cooperation with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan should help Moscow prepare for the eventual pullback of the U.S.-led forces from Afghanistan: engage Pakistan, return to Afghanistan and tighten Russian hold over the former Soviet Central Asia.


In Sochi, the new forum, which Mr. Medvedev described as “a working regional format,” was institutionalised as a permanent arrangement, independent of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a defence bloc of former Soviet states focussed on Central Asia. The quartet announced that its next summit would take place in Dushanbe and that the foreign and economic ministers of the four countries would hold regular meetings as well.

A joint statement adopted in Sochi highlighted the problems of terrorism and drug-trafficking, which are a source of profound concern for Russia. However, it is joint economic projects that dominated the summit agenda. Russia agreed to join two long-planned regional infrastructure projects that would create energy and transport corridors from Central Asia to Pakistan across Afghanistan.

Note the Russian attempt to oust Chinese influence in CAR

davidbfpo
05-18-2011, 05:49 PM
I am sure Russia has its strategic reasons, but these developments strike me as more of 'The Great Game' and a certain element of "playing" the USA by both Pakistan and Russia. One wonders how Russia will handle the relationship, given the issues others have had - including PRC China.

As for:
..the four discussed in greater detail plans to rebuild a trade Silk Route from former Soviet Central Asia via Afghanistan to Pakistan and export electricity from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Russia confirmed its readiness to invest in the oil, gas and hydropower sectors of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

My understanding is that electrical supply over long distances is fraught with problems over power loss, assuming the pylons don't fall down and Pakistan currently has enough power generation capability, but grossly mismanages its system. Finally Afghanistan's oil and gas has been exhausted - by export north. That leaves rebuilding the 'Silk Route', good luck.

Dayuhan
05-18-2011, 09:58 PM
Sounds like a great deal of talk without any evidence of action. I think David's right, Russia showing the flag around to twit the Americans a wee bit, Pakistan trying to cozy up to someone else to try and get the other suitors jealous. Can't see much coming of it, and I doubt the US will pay much attention.

I don't see any effort to "oust Chinese influence in CAR". To balance Chinese influence, maybe. Both the Russians and the Chinese have influence, and will continue to have influence. Geography decrees it. They will push and shove each other a bit, and the CAR states will play one off against the other while trying to remain on good terms with both.

The area is relatively peripheral to US interests but quite central to Chinese and Russian interests... it's far more likely (not in any way imminent, but down the line) to serve as a Russia/China flashpoint than to spark conflict involving the US.

The CAR states don't trust or like the Russians (they know something of Russians and Russia) but they fear them and they still need them: even if all of the pipelines now planned were built, they would still need access to the Russian export grid. So they make deals, and play nice, and develop as many other alternatives as they can.

Got a good laugh out of this one:


the four discussed in greater detail plans to rebuild a trade Silk Route from former Soviet Central Asia via Afghanistan to Pakistan and export electricity from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Russia confirmed its readiness to invest in the oil, gas and hydropower sectors of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Sounds wonderful to the uninformed, but anyone paying attention to the region knows that Tajikistan isn't going to be exporting electricity to anyone any time soon. Their electrical sector is a disaster, can't even meet domestic demand. Tajikistan is an importer of oil and gas: domestic gas reserves are insufficient to meet local demand and oil reserves are minimal.

Tajikistan does have hydropower, but it's seasonal and highly variable. Sometimes they have a surplus. Other times they ration power domestically. I suppose the Russians could offer to build more plants, light up Tajikistan, and export surplus, but they won't change the variations in river flows that govern when hydro plants work and when they don't. Whether more dams would make them popular in Tajikistan is another question: dams have been known to bring issues. Would have to be a BOT deal I guess, Tajikistan ain't exactly cash-rich.

"The oil, gas and hydropower sectors of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan" amount to just about a hill of beans at the moment, and potential is a long way from overwhelming. More words here than substance, I'd say.

The "New Silk Road" phrase is invoked whenever someone has a proposal involving regional trade. Mush used, much hyped... again, not a lot of practical substance to it. Some level of regional trade is certainly possible, but the scale will not be dramatic and it's not going to have any significant impact on global markets or strategies.

Ray
05-22-2011, 03:37 PM
"We would be ... grateful to the Chinese government if a naval base is ... constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan," Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said is a statement, referring to a deep-water port in Pakistan's southwest.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/21/us-pakistan-china-gwadar-idUSTRE74K27T20110521

omarali50
05-22-2011, 05:53 PM
My understanding is that the Chinese have told the Pakistani delegation that we are the best friends in the world, we love you, our affection is taller than the Himalayas, the Pulitburo prays daily for Pakistan, but as far as budget support is concerned, it might be a good idea to apply to the IMF and Uncle Sam.
My reading of the Pakistani press (e.g. "deep state" representative Maleeha Lodhi at http://www.columnspk.com/promise-and-premise-by-dr-maleeha-lodhi/)
is that the people at the top know they have to change some policies and neither China nor Saudi Arabia is interested (or even capable) of saving their bacon if they dont make some changes....but they are having a hard time with figuring out how the narrative is to be turned around. Their own psyops people seem confused and some may have wandered off the reservation by now. Its going to be tough and I am sure if the US withdraws pressure, they would love to go back to status quo ante, but US policymakers seem (for a change) to know a bit of what they want.
Its going to be interesting to watch.

Ray
05-22-2011, 06:23 PM
What exactly would it mean in real terms?

I believe the US is on the way to drawdown.

omarali50
05-22-2011, 07:22 PM
I am trying to write something right now. will post when ready.
I think the US is going to drawdown, but that does not mean Pakistan is about to get the all-clear to go back to the glorious nineties. Times have changed.
I also think India will be unable to do much creative thinking and will remain sluggish in taking advantage of new realities, but thats OK. Its better to be a plodding tortoise than an over-adventurous hare. The longer term outlook for India remains positive in spite of (and not because of) the usual fog of nonsense that surrounds a lot of Indian public posturing. India will be OK.

omarali50
05-22-2011, 07:25 PM
I was unnecessarily snarky there. I think if you read B Raman you may see that even indian officials are not really slow on the uptake. Some retooling of the narrative will be needed, especially in the right wing Indian blogosphere, but they have never wandered as far away from this world as GHQ did, so they will probably be OK.
Today is my day to be optimistic.

Ray
05-23-2011, 02:39 AM
B Raman writes many commentaries.

Which one are you referring to?

Links, please.

Fuchs
05-23-2011, 03:20 AM
My reading of the Pakistani press (e.g. "deep state" representative Maleeha Lodhi at http://www.columnspk.com/promise-and-premise-by-dr-maleeha-lodhi/)
is that the people at the top know they have to change some policies and neither China nor Saudi Arabia is interested (or even capable) of saving their bacon if they dont make some changes....


Well, let's work with the assumption that Pakistan is an army with a state for its sustainment.

Red teaming from that perspective, I'd say they

(1) declare the Islamist issue to be no problem any more since UBL is dead and AQinPak now unimportant. Silent coexistence with Islamists who are allowed to dominate culturally in the border regions and to run their Madrasses as long as they stay within certain limits (= don't question the status quo order).

(2) provoke some border incident in Kashmir to redirect attention to the Indian 'threat', accompany it with propaganda and exploit it diplomatically (playing victim)

(3) keep sustaining and modernising the military with Chinese arms, especially the army and air force. Maybe add some Russian area air defences, for the Pakistani air force is inferior in quantity and quality in air combat.

(4) try to limit population growth below 2% p.a. so all those civilian issues and demands don't grow so terribly fast (and thus don't compete so much for resources)

(5) maintain a republic, but strive for the chief of staff as defence minister or have the latter as a puppet

(6) strive for an end of the Western intervention in Afghanistan by painting the Taliban as no enemies any more; they're (supposedly) not harbouring AQ any more, after all (thus casus = belli expired). Let Westerners declare victory and go home (save for token CT effort).

(7) stick to Pashtun connections for influence in Afghanistan

(8) Talk with the PRC; an alliance of Pakistan, PRC and Myanmar (the latter a military dictatorship and if possible armed to teeth by the PRC) would keep India at bay, even encircled. The possible consequence of an Indian-Russian alliance would primarily concern the PRC, not Pakistan.

(9) Talk with Iran; improve relations, especially once they're not such a hate projector of the U.S. any more (that gotta have some expiration date, after all)

(10) Keep India from gaining additional power in the UNSC, especially by enlisting the help of the PRC.


But what do I know? I'm tired, no Pakistani and maybe they're smarter anyway. :D

omarali50
05-23-2011, 04:06 AM
I see several problems but one should suffice: the jihadists are not under control. They will not be happily confined to the tribal areas and madressahs.
There is really no choice. Either the army fights the jihadis till they are defeated (not finished, but defeated) or they join them and invite international action. A middle course is being attempted, but no stable equilibrium can be found on that middle course.

Ray
05-23-2011, 08:10 AM
I was unnecessarily snarky there. I think if you read B Raman you may see that even indian officials are not really slow on the uptake. Some retooling of the narrative will be needed, especially in the right wing Indian blogosphere, but they have never wandered as far away from this world as GHQ did, so they will probably be OK.
Today is my day to be optimistic.

What exactly would suggest that Indian officials are not slow on the uptake.

It is your own opinion? If so, it would be kind of you to let us into your insight as to why you feel so and in what context.

If it is that opinion of B Raman, it would be nice of you to point me to the article so that I could learn as to why he feels so and in what context.

It is very interesting to know that the rightwing has to retool their narratives. I am sure you would be good enough to indicate what their narratives are and what has caught your attention for retooling. What are your suggestions for this so called retooling that you envisage?

Likewise, one would surely be keen to know where did the GHQ 'wander off from the world' as observed by you?

Ray
05-23-2011, 02:21 PM
Russia’s Growing Engagement with Pakistan

Since Russia had announced its interest in participating in the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, the Joint Statement issued at the Summit mentioned the interest of both sides in TAPI and the Tajikistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan CASA-1000 (Central Asia-South Asia) electricity transmission project. Russian energy companies such as Gazprom are backing the initiative. Interestingly, Gazprom is also seeking a role in Bangladesh.

The two main themes at the Summit were therefore energy, business and economic cooperation on the one hand and combating drug trafficking and terrorism to stabilise the security situation in the region on the other. Russia and Pakistan had earlier discussed transit issues and opening a route to the “warm waters”. So it was not surprising that on the eve of the Summit President Zardari reiterated the invitation to Russia to take advantage of Pakistan’s access to the southern seas.....

Post American Withdrawal Scenario

Clearly, therefore, the Summit was not timed to exploit Pakistan’s emerging rift with the United States. Instead, it was part of Russia’s ongoing initiatives to play a greater role in stabilising the region before the expected withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan presented the region with “a whole range of potential worst-case scenarios,” with the only hope being “they will not all come true at once”......

China is moreover readying itself to take advantage of the American withdrawal. Pakistan immediately rushed to China to find succor, and reportedly weighed in on Afghan President Karzai to throw in his lot with Pakistan and China.5 In fact, the tone of the American Administration seemed to change once the China card was played by Pakistan. The China factor may even be a reason for the Americans to reconsider their withdrawal plans after 2014.

Russia’s Concerns

Like all affected countries, Russia is deeply concerned at the accentuation of instability in the region and its spillover effects into its southern periphery, increase in drug trafficking and terrorism, etc. Russia may also be uneasy at the erosion of its influence in Eurasia, while China increases its stranglehold over the region’s resources, transportation and energy networks. Thus the massive copper deposits at Aynak – discovered by Soviet experts – are now being exploited by China......

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ME21Df03.html


The article has references for the comments made.

Ray
05-23-2011, 02:31 PM
After bin Laden: Do Not Retreat from Afghanistan

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/05/After-bin-Laden-Do-Not-Retreat-from-Afghanistan

Dayuhan
05-23-2011, 11:09 PM
After bin Laden: Do Not Retreat from Afghanistan

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/05/After-bin-Laden-Do-Not-Retreat-from-Afghanistan

The Heritage Foundation is, as ever, predictable.

Trying to "stabilize Afghanistan" is like trying to mix oil and water. You can create the illusion of success as long as you keep pouring energy into the effort. Stop shaking the jar and the oil and water will separate. Stop suppressing the visible signs of Afghan instability, and they will return.

There are places that are inherently unstable. Those places may be able to work out their own equilibrium, but it can't be imposed from outside. The process by which equilibrium is achieved is likely to be messy, as similar processes have been all over the world.

Ray
05-24-2011, 07:14 AM
The Heritage Foundation is, as ever, predictable.

Trying to "stabilize Afghanistan" is like trying to mix oil and water. You can create the illusion of success as long as you keep pouring energy into the effort. Stop shaking the jar and the oil and water will separate. Stop suppressing the visible signs of Afghan instability, and they will return.

There are places that are inherently unstable. Those places may be able to work out their own equilibrium, but it can't be imposed from outside. The process by which equilibrium is achieved is likely to be messy, as similar processes have been all over the world.

And the solution is.....?

Dayuhan
05-24-2011, 07:43 AM
And the solution is.....?

Don't go there unless you really, really, have to.

If you really, really have to, get out as fast as you can.

Ray
05-24-2011, 08:14 AM
Don't go there unless you really, really, have to.

If you really, really have to, get out as fast as you can.

One of the Indian Army Regiment's motto is Veer Bhogya Vasundhara, which means 'The Brave inherits the Earth'!!

Notwithstanding, the interaction here has given me great education and an insight into another perspective on Afghanistan and the insurgency.

The most important was that Revenge also can be a reason for some happenings around the world.

I had read that BushII went into Iraq to avenge some slight to BushI. I thought at that time that it was the usual US bashing.

Notwithstanding, while Revenge could be a reason, I still would like to believe that there was more to everything that the US did beyond the abstract of Revenge.

Lastly, I endorse JMM's signature - When I quit learning, I'll be dead.

I thank all for the education.

Dayuhan
05-24-2011, 09:40 AM
One of the Indian Army Regiment's motto is Veer Bhogya Vasundhara, which means 'The Brave inherits the Earth'!!

The stupid inherit nothing. Doing difficult, dangerous things that you need to do is brave. Doing dangerous and difficult things that you don't need to do is leaning more to the other side.


I had read that BushII went into Iraq to avenge some slight to BushI. I thought at that time that it was the usual US bashing.

I do not think that was a major part of it.


Notwithstanding, while Revenge could be a reason, I still would like to believe that there was more to everything that the US did beyond the abstract of Revenge.

In Iraq, certainly there was more to it.

In Afghanistan... not a great deal more. Revenge, and the subsequent desire to prevent conditions that might produce further attacks. Are there other reasons that stand up to serious scrutiny?

Ray
05-24-2011, 02:43 PM
The stupid inherit nothing. Doing difficult, dangerous things that you need to do is brave. Doing dangerous and difficult things that you don't need to do is leaning more to the other side.

Apparently you do not understand the Indian psyche.

We value bravery.

Therefore, I am constrained to reply on your statement that Veer Bhogya Vasundhara = The stupid Inherit Nothing.

I do not anyone inherits anything by sitting in one's armchair. One inherits by doing things that are out of the ordinary, difficult and even dangerous. For instance, General Patton is remembered for his victories and each one was doing things audacious, difficult, dangerous and what is more, things that others thought were impossible.

Let me put it in English. It means the same thing as 'Fortune Favours the Brave'. I am sure many would not subscribe to thinking that Fortune favours the Timid and Scared?

Well, the history of the Regiment, whose motto I quoted, does not indicate they inherited what they inherited by meek and timid.

And in WWI and II bears out the bravery of the Indian troops.

World War I

140,000 soldiers saw active service on the Western Front in France and Belgium - 90,000 in the front-line Indian Corps, and some 50,000 in auxiliary battalions.

Nearly 700,000 then served in the Middle East, fighting against the Turks in the Mesopotamian campaign.

Participants from the Indian subcontinent won 13,000 medals, including 12 Victoria Crosses. By the end of the war a total of 47,746 Indians had been reported dead or missing; 65,126 were wounded.

World War II

During the Second World War the Indian Army became the largest all-volunteer force in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in size.

About 87,000 Indian soldiers lost their lives during this conflict. Indian soldiers won 30 Victoria Crosses during the Second World War.

Maybe, you are right, they were stupid because they fought for a foreign nation to die or be wounded and they inherited nothing!!

Or could it be that doing dangerous and difficult things is in the the blood of some Indians. That is why history bear out their right to their surnames as Singh (Lion).


The study, by Laurent Lehmann and Marcus Feldman, of Stanford University in California, suggests that great bravery can have evolutionary benefits under certain circumstances, despite its obvious dangers.

If courage makes it significantly more likely that small bands of tribes-men will win military confrontations with their neighbours, its overall advantages can easily outweigh its risks, a mathematical model has shown.

Some men who carry genetic variants that promote bravery might perish because of them, but the ones who survive may win more battles through their greater daring.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article4615314.ece

If Doing difficult, dangerous things that you need to do is brave (and) Doing dangerous and difficult things that you don't need to do is leaning more to the other side, then US would remain only 13 States and not grow to the strength and size it is currently or be the most powerful Nation in the world.

Maybe the US believed in Veer Bhogya Vasundhara and that is why they are, where they have reached.

jmm99
05-24-2011, 04:06 PM
Hi Ray,

While I would list the reasons as retribution, reprobation and speciric deterrence, I don't really object to someone calling it "Revenge". Better than "revenge" (and the three legal terms I just used) would be the concept of Honor and Satisfaction that runs strong in a substantial segment of US culture.

You might find this interesting, Review of James Webb’s Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America (http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/oped/owens/04/webb.html), Editorial, The National Review, December 2004, by Mackubin T. Owens.


The Scots-Irish (sometimes called the Scotch-Irish) are all around you, even though you probably don’t know it. They are a force that shapes our culture, more in the abstract power of emotion than through the argumentative force of law. In their insistent individualism, they are not likely to put an ethnic label on themselves when they debate societal issues. Some of them don’t even know their ethnic label, and some who do don’t particularly care. They don’t go for group-identity politics any more than they like to join a union. Two hundred years ago the mountains built a fierce and uncomplaining self-reliance into an already hardened people. To them, joining a group and putting themselves at the mercy of someone else’s collective judgment makes as much sense as letting the government take their guns. And nobody is going to get their guns.

Of course, while Honor may demand going to war, once Satisfaction is achieved the demand for war ceases. The rules of duelling (sometimes silly (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=863&d=1249955806)) are very much evident.

So, we had the exchange between Sen. Jim Webb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Webb) and Pres. Bush:


On November 28, 2006, at a White House reception for those newly elected to Congress, Webb declined to stand in the line to have his picture taken with the president, whom Webb often criticized during the campaign. The president approached Webb later and asked him, "How's your boy?", referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq. Webb replied "I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President." Bush responded, "That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?" Webb responded, "That's between me and my boy, Mr. President." The Hill cited an anonymous source who claimed that Webb was so angered by the exchange that he confessed he was tempted to "slug" the president. Webb later remarked in an interview, "I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall."

A lot of folks miss this emotional side to US foreign and military policy - for various views, see this thread, "Origins of American Bellicosity (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=8056)".

Regards

Mike

Ray
05-26-2011, 07:06 AM
Troops reclaim Afghan district, 28 rebels dead

The Taliban had earlier captured western parts of Do Ab district in troubled Nuristan province, which borders Pakistan, and threatened to overrun the entire area, Nuristan governor Jamaludin Badr said.

But the defence ministry later said that Afghan troops were dropped from helicopters to fight around the district and "without any delay cleared the district from the enemies of Afghanistan's people".......

Badr confirmed this, while a spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the operation was a combined one, featuring a foreign air support team and ground forces.

Nuristan is a highly volatile area of eastern Afghanistan, which along with the south is the region worst hit by the nearly ten-year-long Taliban insurgency.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8536311/Troops-reclaim-Afghan-district-28-rebels-dead.html



Special forces commando took on Taliban single-handedly

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/8533268/Special-forces-commando-took-on-Taliban-single-handedly.html

It does indicate that all is still working out because of the single-minded devotion to duty and the cause, notwithstanding the defence cut in the US and UK!

Dayuhan
05-28-2011, 02:07 AM
It does indicate that all is still working out because of the single-minded devotion to duty and the cause, notwithstanding the defence cut in the US and UK!

I don't see that budget has much to do with the case of Afghanistan... I don't think the problem is lack of resources, more lack of a clear, specific, and practical aim.

You might be interested in this:

http://www.cnas.org/files/documents/publications/CNAS_BeyondAfghanistan_BarnoExumIrvine_1.pdf

Good example of mainstream US analyst opinion. Note the summary of critical US interests in South Asia:


Prevent the region’s use as a base for terror groups to attack the United States and its allies...

Ensure nuclear weapons or other WMD from the region do not fall into the hands of terrorists...

Prevent a nuclear conflict on the subcontinent.

Interesting, in light of previous discussion, that US interests are posed entirely in terms of what the US seeks to prevent, rather than anything the US seeks to gain. That's not because the US is altruistic or fearful, but because the reason is seen primarily as a source of potential threat, rather than a place where significant advantage can be obtained.

Energy and mineral resources are mentioned, but if you read the context they are seen primarily as revenue sources for poor and resource-starved countries, ways to achieve economic stability and thus stability, serving the primary goal of threat aversion. Trade and transport links are seen as ways to "promote economic interdependence, a key ingredient for long-term prosperity and regional stability." Again, the emphasis is on risk avoidance rather than the acquisition of advantage.

It's not a bad summary of how mainstream opinion in the US policy world sees US interests in the region.

As I said earlier in this thread, I don't think the question should be cast as "is it time to get out", rather as "could US interests be served as well, perhaps better, with a substantially smaller presence".

JMA
05-28-2011, 09:07 AM
It does indicate that all is still working out because of the single-minded devotion to duty and the cause, notwithstanding the defence cut in the US and UK!

I note with interest the use of helicopters to carry the troops into battle in both cases. From the second:


In the early hours of July 1 last year Chinooks carrying the teams landed near Haji Wakil village in the Bahram Chah area at 2am and quickly came under determined enemy resistance.

I wonder how "near" to the target Chinooks can safely/prudently drop troops and still achieve maximum surprise?

Ray
05-28-2011, 10:15 AM
Dayuhan,

Thank you.

A good read and a treasury of information and insight.

Some observations (as a Devil’s Advocate):


Looking ahead, many nations have interests in this region, suggesting a renewal of the “Great Game” that once played out there and that in some ways continues unabated.

If there was no strategic value in that region, then what would be this "Great Game" all about?


The United States should recognize the importance of maintaining Pakistan as an unpalatable friend rather than an implacable adversary.

Contradictory.

It also goes against two professed aim mentioned;

• Broker confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan quietly and as opportunities arise.

• Sustain and deepen the U.S.-India partnership.

Arming Pakistan gratis and arming India, strictly on cash and carry!

Bluntly put, arming Pakistan so as to give them solace and ego boost (that is highly required) that in a growing anti Pakistan unfriendly world (France has stated no heavy weapons/ platform for Pakistan and Cameron's outbursts), US was still by the side of Pakistan!

Arming India and forging 'strategic partnership' (whatever that means since it shows merely some loose esoteric activities), basically to contain China as also as a proxy to wean away those countries from the Chinese influence which are still apprehensive of the US, like Vietnam (an important cog in the South China seas and a natural anti Chinese country)


The projected decline of the large U.S. military presence brings risks of diminished U.S. regional influence as well. New tensions between the United States and Pakistan only add to the uncertainty in the region.

If US regional influence diminishes, then it will not be able to ‘influence’ India or Pakistan.

Pakistan’s obeisance is prompted by US presence in Afghanistan and the danger of aggravating the US resulting in serious consequences, to include no financial and military aid including IMF and WB taking a difficult stand.

The US’ influence with India because the same US presence inhibits Pakistan from adventurism, be it exporting terrorism in India or indulging in any military forays.

With the US presence diminishing to mere presence in ‘enduring bases’ in Afghanistan, the subcontinental scenario may become different.


Further, China has deep ties to Pakistan that allow Pakistan to hedge against both India and the United States. India will continue to balance its political and security ties to the United States, for instance by exploiting European sales as an alternative to reliance on U.S. defense products.

While this is correct, yet one must not forget Russia in the equation.

Russia continues to play a part in Indian political equations since Pakistan cannot be allowed by India to ingratiate itself with Russia. Zardari’s Russia visit had him promise Russia access to Pakistan ports. It is believed that Pakistan is looking at Russia for arms too.

India cannot afford a Chinese – Pakistan – Russia nexus along her borders. Or dictate the fate of the region!


Hamid Karzai’s troubled nine-year rule has also dimmed prospects that the government of Afghanistan will eventually emerge as an exemplar of democracy, respect for human rights and resistance to resurgent extremism.

One must be pragmatic. Why aim for things that have historically failed? By assigning oneself with aims that are never achievable, one merely gets distracted and diverted from achieving what can be achieved.

Let us look at a real world example, even if not quite in context but prompted with equal zeal and concern.

In Africa, even the otherwise very conservative Catholic Church gave way to African Traditional Religion (ATR).


It was not surprising that evangelisation was chosen as the main theme of the 1994 Special Synod of Bishops for Africa. The Synod provided a special occasion to assess the work of Christian evangelisation in Africa. What is of interest and relevance for this write-up is the directive given by the Synod for the promotion of dialogue with ATR and culture. This directive issued at the end of the Working Session of the Synod is contained in the Message (Nuntius) which was the first major Synodal document approved by the participants. To this Message we turn our attention.

In the Message, the Synod Fathers called for attention to be paid to African "customs and traditions in so far as they constitute our cultural heritage…. (They) belong to oral cultures and their survival depends essentially on the dialogue of generation to assure their transmission."
http://www.afrikaworld.net/afrel/changing-attitude.htm


Worth note from the CNAS article:


Unpredictable security conditions in South Asia – notably in Afghanistan and Pakistan – undermine support for the continued development and construction of long-distance oil and natural gas pipelines across the region to the Indian Ocean and subcontinent to international markets. Instead, current resources flow toward Europe, Russia and Turkey along alternate routes that largely avoid South Asia.

In Afghanistan, enormous mineral reserves, including scattered deposits of iron, copper, lithium and other minerals, have the potential to make the country a major exporter of extracted resources….

Afghanistan may have the largest reserves of lithium in the world.


The Interests of Regional Actors in South and Central Asia by By J. Dana Stuster Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Intern within the article is another aspect that may be of interest.

On stability of Indo Pak region.


A stable region ultimately requires normalizing relations between India and Pakistan, however faroff that goal seems today. The roots of the conflict date back to independence from Britain in 1947, but are growing increasingly irrelevant. The United States must take an active, if behind the scenes, role in advancing this normalization. Success in this difficult task is essential – both to enable India to reach its full potential as well as to unshackle Pakistan from the debilitating loss of productive resources diverted into military spending unrelated to its current internal threats.

There is no doubt that Kashmir has tired the people. However, political survivability world over, requires an ‘enemy’ to galvanise the people and distract them from the real world of domestic woes due to bad governance. India and Pakistan are hardly examples of good governance, more so, Pakistan!

On 'The US Support to the U.S.-Indian partnership and encourage the peaceful rise of China' that the CNAS article speaks about, are these two issues compatible?

One wonders if there was a ‘peaceful rise of China’ why does it exert itself so vigorously to impose her hegemonic ambitions?

In her hegemonic pursuits, China,

• playing on Pakistan’s insecurity, she has annexed the Shaksgam Valley in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,

• and now has flooded Gilgit and Baltistan with Chinese troops (euphemistically called ‘engineers’)

• China claims Indian state of Arunachal to be a part of China and calls it ‘South Tibet’.

• Repeatedly does border violation on the Line of Actual Control.

• Claims has armed conflicts in the South China Seas.

If it was peaceful rise, then why the covert, overt, dishonest manner (stealing) to acquire defence technology from the US and Russia and have a highly sophisticated armed force?

Why was it essential to test their Stealth aircraft (they obtained it from the downed US stealth aircraft in Bosnia) when Gates visited? A message, perhaps?

Why want Pakistan to hand over the downed Stealth helicopter in the OBL raid? And who knows if it has not already been done?

Why the confrontations in the South China seas?

And, also, if all was well and the US unconcerned, why the heavy rhetoric of Ms Clinton on her visit to Asia and why Obama’s visit is changing the ‘strategic relationships’ in Asia and Asia Pacific Rim?

I find it intriguing!


China will also be wary of a long-term U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan because those troops would be based on China’s western approaches. The Chinese may be willing to pay this price in the near term, but only as long as the bases remain modest and are not permanent.

China is happy that the US remains in Afghanistan. It keeps the Islamic fundamentalists focussed against the ‘Great White Satan’ and not make serious forays into East Turkmenistan (Xinjaing)(May check Global Times comment the link I had appended). But China is also wary, since it cramps her space in Afghanistan and convert it into an ally to play a role in South Asia (to contain India) and in CAR (to contain Russia) as also exploit the abundant and untapped mineral resources.

Ray
05-28-2011, 10:16 AM
President Karzai has reacted to the death of bin Laden by further distancing himself and his government from Pakistan. Yet he also fears the calls for rapid U.S. disengagement and withdrawal ……

In addition, local power brokers are beginning to plan for a precipitous U.S. withdrawal, most noticeably in Afghanistan’s northern provinces, by forging their own alliances and bases of support.

It is not only in the Northern provinces, and this indicates what I have been saying all along about ‘strategic interest’ of the US in Afghanistan, but more importantly, the South also, the epicentre of Terrorist activities and growth!


The United States should leverage these developments to cement a cost-effective but comprehensive agreement that assures basing for U.S. counterterrorism forces while planning to gradually decrease economic support for Afghan security forces after the Taliban insurgency has been resolved.

I maybe wrong, but given the uncompromising religious ‘zeal’ that the terrorists display, which appears to be beyond logic or their comprehension of the mechanics of the real world, it is very difficult to imagine that these religion driven malcontent will ever allow sane resolution to the problems their misplaced zeal has erupted.

One has to visit some of the websites of Pakistan (it is said that Pakistan is a more moderate Islamic State) to realise that even educated people are mesmerised by religion and cloud their view of the real world and the happenings! At the same time it must be said that there are also those who understand the realities and are concerned at the manner how religion is overpowering sanity, but they are few and far between and totally drowned in the religious cacophony!


A long-term presence of limited U.S. military forces demonstrates the depth of the U.S. commitment to the region – a stabilizing presence anxiously sought by neutral countries and friends of the United States alike. Military presence and power show a depth of engagement that cannot be matched by diplomatic or development efforts. In order to adequately defend U.S. vital interests in this part of the world, a sustained, if smaller, military presence is essential to buttress allies and sustain U.S. influence. Develop a long-term but differentiated approach to Pakistan.

The ‘enduring bases’ I presume.

If a full scale combat organisation is unable to manage, will these bases be able to manage?

One wonders.


Though both countries must recognize the need to work together in order to achieve their essential objectives, the United States should outline a more nuanced approach to Pakistan that
recognizes that state’s diverse actors and their conflicting interests and activities. A more carefully targeted U.S. approach would empower and bolster actors within the state who support U.S. objectives, while marginalizing and penalizing those who pursue opposing objectives and are unwilling to change their behavior.

When the actors within the State are encouraging the terrorist and are living in total denial, can the situation be changed?

Dayuhan
05-30-2011, 06:46 AM
If there was no strategic value in that region, then what would be this "Great Game" all about?

I wouldn't say there's no strategic value, but for the US at least I'd agree that the strategic imperative lies more in what the US hopes to avoid and prevent rather than in any concrete prospect for gain. Of course other players have their own strategic imperatives, and perceptions of those imperatives can change. For China, I'd guess the desire to have naval basing in the Indian Ocean and thus the ability to project power and protect their trade there is far more important than any direct pipeline or road through Pakistan or Afghanistan. The amount of oil imports and goods export that pass that sea route - and are subject to interference along that route - vastly exceeds any imaginable overland capacity.


Arming India and forging 'strategic partnership' (whatever that means since it shows merely some loose esoteric activities), basically to contain China as also as a proxy to wean away those countries from the Chinese influence which are still apprehensive of the US, like Vietnam (an important cog in the South China seas and a natural anti Chinese country)

No real need to wean Vietnam or other SEA countries from China... they have no illusions about what the Chinese are up to. I see no real need for the US to "contain" China or even to frame China as an adversary... certainly the idea of geographical containment seems pretty passe and largely inappropriate. But of course that is my opinion and I don't speak for the US, where sinophobia has a long and rich tradition.


If US regional influence diminishes, then it will not be able to ‘influence’ India or Pakistan.

Pakistan’s obeisance is prompted by US presence in Afghanistan and the danger of aggravating the US resulting in serious consequences, to include no financial and military aid including IMF and WB taking a difficult stand.

Not sure I agree with that. It seems to me that the large US presence in Afghanistan actually decreases US leverage over Pakistan and allows the Pakistanis to be far more demanding and less cooperative than they might otherwise have to be. As long as the US needs that overland supply route to support their forces, their ability to pressure Pakistan is hugely constrained. If the US presence were reduced to a level supportable by air from the north the US position vis a vis Pakistan would be far more flexible. More force doesn't always mean more influence.


The US’ influence with India because the same US presence inhibits Pakistan from adventurism, be it exporting terrorism in India or indulging in any military forays.

With the US presence diminishing to mere presence in ‘enduring bases’ in Afghanistan, the subcontinental scenario may become different.

I'm not sure how much of a constraint the US presence in Afghanistan poses on Pakistani operations against India.,, and the US won't be in Afghanistan forever, and Afghanistan will not be stable when the US leaves. These are givens that must sooner or later be dealt with. I'm not sure that drawing out the process will make dealing with those givens any easier.


Russia continues to play a part in Indian political equations since Pakistan cannot be allowed by India to ingratiate itself with Russia. Zardari’s Russia visit had him promise Russia access to Pakistan ports. It is believed that Pakistan is looking at Russia for arms too.

India cannot afford a Chinese – Pakistan – Russia nexus along her borders. Or dictate the fate of the region!

Hard to say how much of the Pakistan-Russia talk is serious, and how much is show. Certainly the Pakistanis have an incentive to show some leg to another suitor at this point, to show the US that they aren't the only game in town. How far that goes is open to question. I have a hard time seeing Russia and China as part of any "nexus" that goes beyond transient convenience.


On 'The US Support to the U.S.-Indian partnership and encourage the peaceful rise of China' that the CNAS article speaks about, are these two issues compatible?

They have to be. The US doesn't want to side with either, and will continue to deal with both. The issues between the two are their own. The US will urge peaceful resolution - and I doubt very much that China intends to push any of it's issues with India to the point of war - and try to mediate.


If it was peaceful rise, then why the covert, overt, dishonest manner (stealing) to acquire defence technology from the US and Russia and have a highly sophisticated armed force?

Why was it essential to test their Stealth aircraft (they obtained it from the downed US stealth aircraft in Bosnia) when Gates visited? A message, perhaps?

They use the same methods that proved successful in modernizing their industries. Before we assume that China is solely "hegemonic", it's good to remember that there's also a lot of fear and a bit of an inferiority complex, a fear of not being taken seriously, on that side. The sophisticated force is as much a way a forcing their way into the top table than a direct threat to anyone... always recall that the status quo is being very good to China, and they are not fundamentally inclined to rock boats. Jockey for position, yes, upset the applecart, no.


And, also, if all was well and the US unconcerned, why the heavy rhetoric of Ms Clinton on her visit to Asia and why Obama’s visit is changing the ‘strategic relationships’ in Asia and Asia Pacific Rim?

I find it intriguing!

The US is always to some degree concerned, and there is always heavy rhetoric. Wouldn't want to read too much into that.


China is happy that the US remains in Afghanistan. It keeps the Islamic fundamentalists focussed against the ‘Great White Satan’ and not make serious forays into East Turkmenistan (Xinjaing)(May check Global Times comment the link I had appended). But China is also wary, since it cramps her space in Afghanistan and convert it into an ally to play a role in South Asia (to contain India) and in CAR (to contain Russia) as also exploit the abundant and untapped mineral resources.

China is pragmatic. They have interests in the area, but they are not compelling or urgent ones. They are ok with the US presence, but they don't need it. If the US is there, they will try to turn that to their advantage. If the US leaves, they will watch what happens and try to turn that to their advantage.

I wouldn't cite the CNAS report as something I fully agree with, though I agree with some of it. It does have value as a window onto what establishment, "inside the Beltway" US policy types are thinking.

Ray
05-31-2011, 04:19 AM
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/story/moscow-cancels-two-military-exercises-in-india/1/139527.html

Things are changing!