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Thread: Is It Time to Get Out of Afghanistan?

  1. #161
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 05-30-2011 at 06:58 AM.

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