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Thread: This is what victory looks like

  1. #21
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Steve: do you think a component of success would be to put the national gov. in a position to extend its span of control over the course of 10-20 years, or would that be a bit too ambitious?

    this was the type of thing i was thinking about when i mentioned Mexico.
    I don't know. Seems to me that global trends are in the other direction--more and more sub-state or supra-state groups providing security because national governments can't.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    more to keep the whole neighborhood relatively quiet?
    Ken:

    Right, that would be the intent of it I imagine. But if Steve is right and the most we can do in these things is just slightly nudge the sides in certain directions and not control, then the question that Steve's premise imposes on us is are we on the right tack in Iraq with the long haul and large number of troops?

    gian

  3. #23
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That's a really good question and I doubt the answer

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Ken:

    Right, that would be the intent of it I imagine. But if Steve is right and the most we can do in these things is just slightly nudge the sides in certain directions and not control, then the question that Steve's premise imposes on us is are we on the right tack in Iraq with the long haul and large number of troops?

    gian
    is totally clear yet. My gut feel based on all I've read, been told and seen is that it is working for the broader neighborhood but at reduced effectiveness due to the perception in the other nations that we didn't handle it well.

    No question to me that all have been a little pushy and more so than I expect they would've been had 2003-04 gone more smoothly for us. Still, all are broadly behaving and that behavior seems to be gradually improving. The perception that we're nuts probably helps with that...

    That and the fact pretty well now known all over the ME that any confrontation with US Troops is likely to result in a ten or more adverse kill ratio. Those folks aren't dumb, they may not like us but they're pragmatic (and patient...) and they know that our Army and Marine Corps are now the most combat experienced in the world and that the Navy and Air Force are really looking for work.

    The key to departure is the turnover of materiel to the Iraqis and their possession of an Army capable of handling external threats -- I don't see that for many years. My belief is that we're, at the highest US level, more concerned with external than internal threats to Iraq (and more concerned with an uninterrupted oil flow from the entire region). Callous but that's geo-politcs...

    As J Jackson forgets, Lord Palmerston famously said: "We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." Seems to still be the case with most nations -- among which we are no worse than most and far better than many. Including the folks that drew all those dumb lines on maps...

    I've always contended that Iraq offered geographic centrality with reasonably good access by sea and air plus an (apparently) easy defeat of its Army. Those two factors and the probable least disruption to world oil were, in my view, the drivers. All the rest, Saddam, WMD, democracy, all that, was ancillary and synergistic. Friend of mine went to Carlisle in 1984 and when he returned he told me the one recurring lament was that we had no suitable base area in the ME. My Boss in '93 had just graduated and he said there was still concern about that lack. Methinks we have now rectified that...

    Which leaves out Iraq internals -- my bet is that Arab pragmatism will trump the sectarian divide and they'll play nicely together * and let us stay for a while for whopping lease payments, investment and aid plus the stuff and super bases they'll inherit when we do leave. Then they'll get on with unfinished business; as I said and you know, they can be patient.

    Yet, I've been wrong before. That however is the way I see it now with the fairly limited access to what's going on. We'll see, I guess.

    * That is the ME, not the western version of nice; two very different states of nice.
    Last edited by Ken White; 12-15-2007 at 11:18 PM. Reason: Added * comment

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