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Old 10-08-2011   #21
Ray
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Afghanistan is not ‘strategic depth’ as is understood in pure military terms means the depth from the front line to the core area consisting of economic centres to including industrial complexes and complexes for military production and major cities.

When addressing what is strategic depth one has to take into account the vulnerability of these assets to an enemy offensive and the ability of this depth to absorb the offensive and yet not be unbalanced.

Afghanistan being a foreign country, thus, cannot be taken to be a ‘strategic depth’ for Pakistan.

The interpretation has been adopted only to muddy the issue. It has gained credence amongst certain vested interests so as to obfuscate and promote their strategic interests. The appeal has been given ‘credibility’ incorrectly because Pakistan has been in the frontline, promoted by the US and with active assistance of China (Bear Trap by Brig Yousaf of the ISI) against the Soviet Union in the form of jihad.

It must be understood that any war in the name of jihad does not automatically mean that the areas where there is this so called jihad automatically becomes a part of the country sponsoring this so called jihad. If it were so then a large part of the world where terrorists have attacked including 9/11 would be a part of the country that sponsored the same! Obviously, that is a ridiculous assumption!

Therefore, by no stretch of imagination is Afghanistan (an independent and sovereign country) the ‘strategic depth’ of Pakistan. I will concede that distance and vested interests blurs comprehending the reality!

That apart, Afghanistan is a ‘strategic interest’ to Pakistan since keeping it under its control, keeps India and Russia at bay.

To keep my post short, both India and even Russia has interest in Afghanistan. It keeps the fundamentalist footprint at bay. For India, it is very important strategically to have Pakistan at bay in Afghanistan as it will stop the conduit of ‘unemployed’ pan Islamic terrorists from Kashmir as also will allow India access to the resources of CAR, which is being impeded by having Pakistan in between.

This brings in the issue of Chahbahar port in Iran. I read that China is building the same. As far as my knowledge goes, it is India which has built this port and has connected it with the Highway constructed by India in Afghanistan and onto the North toward CAR!

I have given the railways being constructed and the Chinese interest in the railways including construction.

I wonder if China is that altruist as to spread happiness around the world without self-interest, be it economic or strategic.

Last edited by Ray; 10-08-2011 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 10-08-2011   #22
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As far as guerilla warfare against Indians in Afghanistan, it would be worth noting that a200km (124-mile) highway, costing about $85m, links Zaranj on the Iranian border with the main road between the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Kabul has been completed and handed over to Afghanistan.

And how many causalities should have been there if the Afghans were hostile to Indians, even though there must have been Pakistani encouragement?

In another thread there was some interesting comment to my statement of doing things the 'Indian way'.

Justified if post were doubting my contention.

Here is the proof of the pudding!

The officer who was the in-charge of this road project spoke to me.

He said much, but we will leave it at that!

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Old 10-08-2011   #23
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Am I to understand that Gwadar was built by China just to pander to Pakistan's desire?

It has no impact on Chinese economy or strategic interests?
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Old 10-08-2011   #24
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Give your OIC road builder my regards and congrats. Is he an engineer ?

I'm guessing that the new road from Zaranj to Hwy 1 more or less follows the river and old road:

2011 Zaranj Road.jpg

At the edge but still within Pashtun-dominated territory. Good show.

What the Afghanis will do with it is another question.

Regards

Mike
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Old 10-08-2011   #25
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As far as guerilla warfare against Indians in Afghanistan, it would be worth noting that a200km (124-mile) highway, costing about $85m, links Zaranj on the Iranian border with the main road between the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Kabul has been completed and handed over to Afghanistan.

And how many causalities should have been there if the Afghans were hostile to Indians, even though there must have been Pakistani encouragement?

In another thread there was some interesting comment to my statement of doing things the 'Indian way'.

Justified if post were doubting my contention.

Here is the proof of the pudding!

The officer who was the in-charge of this road project spoke to me.

He said much, but we will leave it at that!
The Taliban don't seem to be targeting infrastructure projects no matter who undertakes them.

If you really believe that India could take over the US role in Afghanistan, apply some magical "Indian way", and avoid the mess that seems to overtake everyone else in Afghanistan... well, be my guest. The rest of us will observe with much interest and little optimism.

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Am I to understand that Gwadar was built by China just to pander to Pakistan's desire?

It has no impact on Chinese economy or strategic interests?
The question is not whether there are interests, but whether those interests are sufficient to justify prolonged, risky, and expensive military involvements. The simple answer is that they aren't, at least not on China's part. What China stands to gain from these projects wouldn't begin to cover even a tiny fraction of the financial and ploitical cost of an effort to pacify Afghanistan.

Of course they may calculate costs and benefits as poorly as the Americans dd, but that seems unlikely. They don't have to play to a domestic political audience or pretend to be champions of democracy or anything else.

Not unlike the eternally proposed TAPI pipeline... potentially viable projects that some may find interesting enough to pursue, but not even close to being strategic game-changers that a nation would go to war to accomplish.
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Old 10-09-2011   #26
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Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
Give your OIC road builder my regards and congrats. Is he an engineer ?

I'm guessing that the new road from Zaranj to Hwy 1 more or less follows the river and old road:

Attachment 1508

At the edge but still within Pashtun-dominated territory. Good show.

What the Afghanis will do with it is another question.

Regards

Mike
Yes, he was a Col then and an Engineer. He was heading the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) out there building the road.

I believe the BRO is something like the Army Engineers in the US who do infrastructure constructions.

I will pass your congrats to him the next time. I am sure he will be delighted.

Regards

Ray

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Old 10-09-2011   #27
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The Taliban don't seem to be targeting infrastructure projects no matter who undertakes them.

If you really believe that India could take over the US role in Afghanistan, apply some magical "Indian way", and avoid the mess that seems to overtake everyone else in Afghanistan... well, be my guest. The rest of us will observe with much interest and little optimism.
Apparently, if India succeeds it does not appeal to you.

We are keen that the US and ISAF effort succeeds and do anything that helps that effort. While you are not optimistic about the India's effort, we are quite optimistic about the US and ISAF effort. We also understand that the US and ISAF are shouldering a greater effort than any other country.

The 'Indian way' is not really that bad as you imagine. The effort of the Indian UN contingent deployed in Aideed country and also to some extent in Afghanistan apparently worked/ is working.


Quote:
The question is not whether there are interests, but whether those interests are sufficient to justify prolonged, risky, and expensive military involvements. The simple answer is that they aren't, at least not on China's part. What China stands to gain from these projects wouldn't begin to cover even a tiny fraction of the financial and ploitical cost of an effort to pacify Afghanistan.

Of course they may calculate costs and benefits as poorly as the Americans dd, but that seems unlikely. They don't have to play to a domestic political audience or pretend to be champions of democracy or anything else.

Not unlike the eternally proposed TAPI pipeline... potentially viable projects that some may find interesting enough to pursue, but not even close to being strategic game-changers that a nation would go to war to accomplish.
The question is Interests and it would be naive to believe that a country's interests, in a contested land, will be without, as you put it, 'justify prolonged, risky, and expensive military involvements'.

I have a contrary view to your over China's interest in the region since one has to see the manner in which the Chinese footprint is spreading around the world; yes, the world. China's presence is practically covering all the continents. It has not been a bed of roses for China everywhere and yet they continue to pursue their aims.

If you have read the post giving the links of Chinese interest to include the railway construction and why, you would have realised that it does not raise hackles and instead is looked upon favourably since all nations in the region are looking forward to improving their economies and hence the lives their people. Alongside, subtle political effort is also inbuilt.

Talking about the Chinese way of doing things, can you indicate any country that willing gives away its territory? The Pashtuns including the Taliban find the Durand Line non negotiable, and Pakistan is not ready to give up the Durand Line either. Yet, Pakistan willingly handed over Shaksgam to China.

and Tajikistan agreed to cede part of its territory to China, days after neighboring Kyrgyzstan made a similar handover of land to China inspite of protests!
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...eek-tajikistan

China's ways cannot be equated with the manner how others operate or think!

I think you wondered why I brought in Han Culturism along with link into a post. I brought it in to explain that a People who starting with being just people North of Yellow River, could 'convert' peoples of such a huge land mass to believe that they are Hans and not what they were, does indicate how persuasive the Hans can be and how they can slowly assimilate all so much so they are led to believe that they are actually Hans!!

The manner they are extending their footprint is worth noticing and how they can disarm those who are being subjected to this extension!!

Last edited by Ray; 10-09-2011 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 10-09-2011   #28
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Apparently, if India succeeds it does not appeal to you.
It appeals to me a lot. The idea of having sex with Halle Berry appeals to me too. That doesn't mean I anticipate success in the pursuit of such fantasies. The probability of these things happening seems to me rather low.

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Originally Posted by Ray View Post
While you are not optimistic about the India's effort, we are quite optimistic about the US and ISAF effort.
Optimistic meaning that you believe it will succeed? I can't imagine why, based on current conditions.

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The 'Indian way' is not really that bad as you imagine. The effort of the Indian UN contingent deployed in Aideed country and also to some extent in Afghanistan apparently worked/ is working.
Applying it to an attempt to install or maintain a functioning government in Afghanistan, or to achiever stability and security in Afghanistan in any way, would be a quite different matter.

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The question is Interests and it would be naive to believe that a country's interests, in a contested land, will be without, as you put it, 'justify prolonged, risky, and expensive military involvements'.
Of course. The question is what level of involvement is justified by the level of interest in any given place. There are areas deemed major strategic interests; these would justify a quite extensive involvement. There are also areas of more marginal interest, which would not justify significant involvement. That doesn't mean no interests exist in these areas, just that the degree of interest is insufficient to justify expensive and risky moves. The perceived probability of success and the potential for adverse outcome also figure into the calculation. I can't see that China has anything to gain in Afghanistan that would justify anything beyond a quite minimal commitment, especially given the high cost and low probability of successful outcome. I just can't imagine why they'd want to bother.

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I have a contrary view to your over China's interest in the region since one has to see the manner in which the Chinese footprint is spreading around the world; yes, the world. China's presence is practically covering all the continents. It has not been a bed of roses for China everywhere and yet they continue to pursue their aims.
China has a presence in many places (as does the US), but it's an exaggeration to say that they are "covering all the continents". Unlike the US, the Chinese have been able to avoid making large military commitments part of that presence. That may largely be a matter of necessity - China has limited capacity to sustain large forces overseas - but it has also worked to China's advantage, just as American military adventurism has in many ways had a negative impact on American influence.
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Old 10-10-2011   #29
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It appeals to me a lot. The idea of having sex with Halle Berry appeals to me too. That doesn't mean I anticipate success in the pursuit of such fantasies. The probability of these things happening seems to me rather low.
I do find a whiff of sarcasm in your post. But then each to his own style.

I am delighted that India's success appeals to you a lot.

There is also suggestions of defeatism in your posts concerning the US and China. It appear you feel that the US will lose everywhere and it is better to let the remainder of the world rush past it to the finishing tape!!

I maybe wrong, but then that is what I find every time China is mentioned.

I believe there is a saying that a pessimist is never disappointed.

On pessimism, I remind of what Sir Winston Churchill had said:

and there are many people in England, and perhaps elsewhere, who seem to be unable to contemplate military operations for clear political objects, unless they can cajole themselves into the belief that their enemy are utterly and hopelessly vile. and I will take the licence to add 'weak'.

And the Allies won World War II! Felt a fantasy at one time!

Winning Iraq was also felt by some to be a fantasy!

Rabindranath Tagore, the first Indian Nobel Laureate, had said:
you can be friends to your enemy through a lack of character or words to that effect.

I daresay Afghanistan was ventured into and brave lives lost without character.

I have not understood your comment on your sex desire. However, Robert H. Schuller, the Reformed Church Minister had said:
“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.”

One has to be learn how to turn fantasies into reality, though I will concede that it is not feasible for the weak hearted. One has to have the gumption to stay the course rather than throw in the towel.

You may like to read the Indian experience of LIC/ COIN from an article posted SWJ

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...ree-approaches

In short, nothing is lost till the last bullet is fired or one turns tail.

I do not find that feeling with the US or ISAF.

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Optimistic meaning that you believe it will succeed? I can't imagine why, based on current conditions.
What were the conditions at Dunkirk? The 'current situation' then at Dunkirk, reeked with demoralisation, despondency, and DEFEAT!!

Allies lost World War II?

Quote:
Applying it to an attempt to install or maintain a functioning government in Afghanistan, or to achiever stability and security in Afghanistan in any way, would be a quite different matter.
Rome was not built in one day nor is establishing a Govt Instant Coffee. You may like to read
http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...ree-approaches

Patience is the watchword. Since you like sexual examples, may I say that modern wars (which are not the conventional types) are not "Wham, Bang, Thank you, Ma'am" type of interactions!!

Quote:
Of course. The question is what level of involvement is justified by the level of interest in any given place. There are areas deemed major strategic interests; these would justify a quite extensive involvement. There are also areas of more marginal interest, which would not justify significant involvement. That doesn't mean no interests exist in these areas, just that the degree of interest is insufficient to justify expensive and risky moves. The perceived probability of success and the potential for adverse outcome also figure into the calculation. I can't see that China has anything to gain in Afghanistan that would justify anything beyond a quite minimal commitment, especially given the high cost and low probability of successful outcome. I just can't imagine why they'd want to bother.
I would not like to guess or act as the 'last word' since that would be presumptuous.

However, one could glean aspirations of people from published works and statement of those who matter.

Here is one:

Quote:
Does China Want to Be Top Superpower?

"China's grand goal in the 21st century is to become the world's No. 1 power."

These words were written by Liu Mingfu, a senior colonel in the People's Liberation Army, in a new book titled "China's Dream." .....

"To become the world's No. 1 has been China's century-old dream. It was this dream that inspired three generations of great Chinese leaders, from Sun Yat Sen to Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping," Liu wrote in a passage reflecting a growing nationalist sentiment shared by many Chinese. ......

"The competition between China and the United States will not take the form of a world war or a cold war. It will not be like a 'shooting duel' or a 'boxing match' but more like a 'track and field' competition. It will be like a protracted 'marathon.'"......
http://abcnews.go.com/International/...ory?id=9986355
Again, it does prove my contention of Han Culturalism, which you dismissed perfunctorily as irrelevant.

You may try to read the undermentioned link too to understand Liu's comment To become the world's No. 1 has been China's century-old dream. It was this dream that inspired three generations of great Chinese leaders, from Sun Yat Sen to Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping," and correlate to the larger picture:

http://content.yudu.com/Library/A18h...sources/98.htm

Quote:
China has a presence in many places (as does the US), but it's an exaggeration to say that they are "covering all the continents". Unlike the US, the Chinese have been able to avoid making large military commitments part of that presence. That may largely be a matter of necessity - China has limited capacity to sustain large forces overseas - but it has also worked to China's advantage, just as American military adventurism has in many ways had a negative impact on American influence.
Apparently you do not read posts in detail, for if you did you would realise I spoke of the Chinese way of doing things i.e. Yongxiabianyi, which means rather than using military might, use other persuasive means. I also mentioned that without a war or show of military might, China ensured that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan cede part of their territory to China and Pakistan cede Shaksgam!(and I gave links too!)

If one can have his cake and eat it too, where is the necessity to use military might? Or peppering the world with military bases?

One must also understand the Chinese game of 'Go' to understand the Chinese strategy and policies. The object of the game is to use one's stones to surround a larger portion of the board than the opponent. Once placed on the board, stones cannot be moved, though they can be removed if they are captured. When a game concludes, the controlled points (territory) are counted along with captured stones to determine who has more points. Games may also be won by resignation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_%28game%29

One cannot superimpose an Occidental mindset to understand how the Oriental mindset would react. Fortunately, there are many westerners who understand, to a great extent, how the Oriental mind works.

China's footprint is on all continents including Antarctica! And it does not mean military footprints when economic and social footprints do most satisfactorily!

I confess that I do pepper my posts with links and quotations, but then since I do not make policies or a knowall, I rather understand and use published material and quotes of those who make policies and who are close to the powers that be.

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Old 10-10-2011   #30
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There is also suggestions of defeatism in your posts concerning the US and China. It appear you feel that the US will lose everywhere and it is better to let the remainder of the world rush past it to the finishing tape!!
Hardly. I'm not terrified of China, nor even marginally afraid of China, and I certainly see no Chinese "threat" that needs to be "countered" by military means or by some ill-advised effort to restrain the Chinese economy or Chinese access to resources. If we're worried about competitiveness, ther US needs to look within and address our own economic issues, not to fret over what the Chinese are doing.

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I have not understood your comment on your sex desire.
It was simply meant to demonstrate the difference between approval and optimism. One may think an event desirable and still acknowledge that it's not likely to happen.

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However, Robert H. Schuller, the Reformed Church Minister had said: “High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.”
If we're talking about Afghanistan, this illustrates the problem rather well. There is no rich opportunity, neither is there any pressing threat, not for the US, not for China, not for India. There's nothing that makes it worth the effort. What you see as a lack of "gumption" is purely a lack of motivation. Sure, if there was some huge prize to be won or some existential threat to the US, there would be a way to prevail. There isn't. There's nothing to make it worth the cost and effort, therefore little will to persist, therefore little ground for optimism.

The US and China have virtually nothing to gain or lose in Afghanistan. India might have a little more... but really, India survived a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan before, and it would survive it again. What reason would you have that would be sufficiently compelling to lead you into that particular pit?

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You may like to read the Indian experience of LIC/ COIN from an article posted SWJ

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...ree-approaches
I've read it. I see no relevance at all to a potential Indian involvement in Afghanistan. Fighting an insurgency in your own country and fighting an insurgency in a foreign country - especially given the logistic miseries and escalation potential that Indian involvement in Afghanistan would entail - are worlds apart

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In short, nothing is lost till the last bullet is fired or one turns tail.

I do not find that feeling with the US or ISAF.

What were the conditions at Dunkirk? The 'current situation' then at Dunkirk, reeked with demoralisation, despondency, and DEFEAT!!

Allies lost World War II?
The difference in two words: existential threat. WWII posed one, in reality to Britain, by perception (likely inaccurate, but that's another story) to the US. Afghanistan does not pose one, not even close. Nothing of significance to be lost or won, why pour lives and treasure into it?

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Patience is the watchword. Since you like sexual examples, may I say that modern wars (which are not the conventional types) are not "Wham, Bang, Thank you, Ma'am" type of interactions!!
They are not that way be cause we choose not to make them that way. There was no reason for the US to mess with trying to install a government in Afghanistan. The provocation from Afghanistan - 9/11 - called precisely for a ""Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma'am" type of interaction: a vigorous punitive raid. Go in, make one point - we don't want to rule you, but if you mess with us we will kill you - and get out.

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China's footprint is on all continents including Antarctica! And it does not mean military footprints when economic and social footprints do most satisfactorily!
So is America's in case you haven't noticed. I am well aware of Han culturalism and the supposed "Oriental mindset": I've lived my entire adult life in the Orient. I decline to panic.
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Old 10-11-2011   #31
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Dayuhan,

You have replied in generalities and without addressing any point with cogent issues.

It is not an ongoing threat alone which drives national policies. All facets of geopolitics are considered and visualised over short, medium and long term windows to identify actual threats as also potential threats. Based on such analyses, are national policies tailored. And that includes ensuring that potential threats are kept under control, and if possible, weak.

The USSR was a challenge to the US and it would be naive to believe that the USSR collapsed under its own weight. Likewise, China is an open challenge to the US. There is enough evidence in the open forum of China's intent to be the unchallenged power of the world replacing the US, a position that the US has, at great expense, built for herself. If that is not a threat, even if some feel it is just an issue of national ego, then what is?

Why do nations jockey amongst each other to be one up? If there were no potential threat, then why the jockeying? Are Muslim countries a threat to the US? They are no match either militarily or economically to the US. And yet........!

If the threat is what Muslim fundamentalists potentially can do to the US, how is it different from what China is already doing to the US? The methods maybe different.

Indeed the US should look within for the causes of her economic woes, but is it to suggest that it is solely US' doing?

However, that does not mean that one cannot have a view that China is no threat to any country and is totally at peace with the world. One can always have contrary views. Noam Chomsky comes to mind!

A catch all observation that Afghanistan has no potential for interest of any country to include US, China or India is too sweeping an assertion. In a resource depleting world, every country has potential for interests and it is a dog eat dog world! That leads to geostrategic interest and potential conflict zones.

Let us go back to the evolution of Threat Perceptions and link it with the dog eat dog competitiveness for supremacy and desire to corner and control strategic minerals. The pennies should fall as to the importance of a nation that is comparatively virgin in exploitation of its natural resources.

Here is some news reports that disproves that Afghanistan has no potential for the US, China or India or for that matter, any other country.

Quote:
China, Not U.S., Likely to Benefit from Afghanistan's Mineral Riches
Although the U.S. government has spent more than $940 billion on the conflict in Afghanistan since 2001, a treasure trove of mineral deposits, including vast quantities of industrial metals such as lithium, gold, cobalt, copper and iron, are likely to wind up going to Russia and China instead of American firms.

The New York Times reported Monday that U.S. officials and American geologists have found an estimated $1 trillion worth of mineral deposits that have yet to be exploited in the country. The paper said a Pentagon report called Afghanistan potentially "the Saudi Arabia of lithium,"
http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/06/...ineral-mining/
Quote:
The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/wo...4minerals.html
That apart, the strategic importance of Afghanistan for many countries in the neighbourhood and beyond has been thrashed so often, that one does not require recall.

The issue that India had survived a Taliban Govt previously is missing the wood for the trees. The fundamentalism is not of paramount concern, it is access into CAR, into mining in Afghanistan and ensuring that there is a neutral govt that does not operate to India's disadvantage.

If US intervention in Afghanistan was merely 'to teach a lesson', then troops were not required on ground. Relentless cluster bombing and daisy cutters would have fit the bill. Therefore, it would not be wrong to surmise that there was more to it than what meets the eye. I daresay that the US Govt and its military are not incompetent, notwithstanding what some may like to portray.

In fact, one cannot fault the basic tactics adopted by the US and ISAF in Afghanistan. They are time tested. Where the problem lies is that the mechanism to prevent ingress of the Taliban into Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan is not in place. Unless that is halted, the cycle only repeats itself.

True that Afghanistan does not pose a physical threat to the US, given that it is not a neighbour. However, neither did Pakistan when 9/11 happened. By that logic, Syria, Libya, Iran, Hizbollah also does not pose any threat to the US and yet.........!!

Fighting insurgency in one's own country and fighting the same in another is not an issue as far as logistics is concerned, if one views it holitistically taking into account the economic strength, military wherewithal, different ROE, and the necessity to remain the world's No 1, etc.

One wonders if it is being suggested that the US goes back into time to the Monroe Doctrine.

Indeed, the US footprint is global, but the US does not make any bones about it or its intent. That is the difference. China, given the Han Culturalism, wants to be No 1, but is coy about their intentions.

Last edited by Ray; 10-11-2011 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 10-11-2011   #32
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The USSR was a challenge to the US and it would be naive to believe that the USSR collapsed under its own weight. Likewise, China is an open challenge to the US. There is enough evidence in the open forum of China's intent to be the unchallenged power of the world replacing the US, a position that the US has, at great expense, built for herself. If that is not a threat, even if some feel it is just an issue of national ego, then what is?
The USSR did collapse under the weight of its own unsustainable economic system, and its own paranoia.

Being "the unchallenged power of the world" hasn't done the US any good, why should the US need that role to continue? A multipolar world is a far better idea, and prosperity needn't be a zero-sum game. Of course the US, Europe, China, and many others will seek to prosper, and of course they will compete economically. What's wrong with that?

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If the threat is what Muslim fundamentalists potentially can do to the US, how is it different from what China is already doing to the US? The methods maybe different.
China isn't doing anything to the US.

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Indeed the US should look within for the causes of her economic woes, but is it to suggest that it is solely US' doing?
Yes.

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Let us go back to the evolution of Threat Perceptions and link it with the dog eat dog competitiveness for supremacy and desire to corner and control strategic minerals. The pennies should fall as to the importance of a nation that is comparatively virgin in exploitation of its natural resources.
None of the mineral resources claimed in Afghanistan are in any way strategic. The whole "mineral riches" story was old news, floated as new news in a pretty ineffective effort to convince the US public that there was something worth fighting for in Afghanistan. The article you cite shows just how silly it got:

Quote:
a treasure trove of mineral deposits, including vast quantities of industrial metals such as lithium, gold, cobalt, copper and iron, are likely to wind up going to Russia and China instead of American firms.
Of course they'll go to Russia and China, it wouldn't make any sense to send them anywhere else. Even in the extraordinarily unlikely event that a US company could be persuaded to invest in mining in Afghanistan, they'd still sell the stuff to Russia or China... I think we all know by now that resources extracted by a US company don't necessarily go to the US!

Look at this list with half a grain of common sense. Argentina is already the Saudi Arabia of Lithium. The world's leading cobalt producer is Canada. Chile, the US, and Peru lead in copper. These products have a very low value/bulk ratio, and there is no way on earth that they could be sent from Afghanistan to a port, loaded, and sent to the US with any hope of being price-competitive with product from established, efficient producers in the western hemisphere. The US is not a huge player in primary industry and has limited needs for these commodities, and they can source everything they need and more from much closer and much less risky producers.

When you add in the cost of transport and energy infrastructure - which would have to be provided by the investor - and the enormous political and security risks, there's no point at all in US investment in Afghan mining. Even if you extracted the entire hypothetical $1 trillion, when you pull off production costs and the costs already sunk to date in security, it wouldn't be worth it.

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That apart, the strategic importance of Afghanistan for many countries in the neighbourhood and beyond has been thrashed so often, that one does not require recall.
I've often seen that "strategic importance" proclaimed, but I've never seen the proclamations effectively supported.

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The issue that India had survived a Taliban Govt previously is missing the wood for the trees. The fundamentalism is not of paramount concern, it is access into CAR, into mining in Afghanistan and ensuring that there is a neutral govt that does not operate to India's disadvantage.
Why would India want to bother with access to the CAR through Pakistan and Afghanistan, when anything they can get from CAR - or Afghanistan - is available elsewhere with a lot less trouble and effort?

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If US intervention in Afghanistan was merely 'to teach a lesson', then troops were not required on ground. Relentless cluster bombing and daisy cutters would have fit the bill. Therefore, it would not be wrong to surmise that there was more to it than what meets the eye. I daresay that the US Govt and its military are not incompetent, notwithstanding what some may like to portray.
"Relentless cluster bombing and daisy cutters" would not have fit the bill, owing to a deficiency in targets. What happened was mission creep. The initial, rational mission to remove the Taliban from power and hunt down those responsible for 9/11 crept into a subsequent irrational mission, devoid of any strategic or economic justification, to rearrange the way Afghanistan is governed.

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In fact, one cannot fault the basic tactics adopted by the US and ISAF in Afghanistan. They are time tested. Where the problem lies is that the mechanism to prevent ingress of the Taliban into Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan is not in place. Unless that is halted, the cycle only repeats itself.
Where the problem lies is that the goal of establishing stable pro-western governance in Afghanistan requires a greater commitment of time and resources than the US public is willing to countenance. That deficit of will is a consequence of the rational and accurate assessment that there is no threat or potential gain involved that is anywhere nearly worth the cost.

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True that Afghanistan does not pose a physical threat to the US, given that it is not a neighbour. However, neither did Pakistan when 9/11 happened. By that logic, Syria, Libya, Iran, Hizbollah also does not pose any threat to the US and yet.........!!
Syria, Libya, and Hizbollah are not threats to the US. Iran potentially is, only to the extent that they could interfere with the production and transport of Gulf oil and send oil prices to an economically destructive level.

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Fighting insurgency in one's own country and fighting the same in another is not an issue as far as logistics is concerned, if one views it holitistically taking into account the economic strength, military wherewithal, different ROE, and the necessity to remain the world's No 1, etc.
Fighting insurgency in another country is entirely different from fighting it in one's own country. For starters, you have to deal with the host country government and military, often as big a pain in the ass as dealing with insurgents. And that's just the beginning, a realistic list would go on for pages.

"The necessity to remain the world's No 1"... not sure what that's supposed to mean.

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Indeed, the US footprint is global, but the US does not make any bones about it or its intent. That is the difference. China, given the Han Culturalism, wants to be No 1, but is coy about their intentions.
The Chinese desire to be "No 1" bothers me not in the least. As I've said elsewhere, I'm more concerned about the possibility of economic collapse and major social unrest in China than about the possibility that China will swallow the world.
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Old 10-11-2011   #33
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Views on the strategic importance of Afghanistan from a variety of sources.

A point of view (briefly made) from the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group.

AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF GEO-STRATEGIC AND GEO-POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE

http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/pap...paper3139.html

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Afghanistan and Central Asia lie in the heart of the landmass extending from European Russia to China which is important to Washington who is worried about the recent joint military maneuvers between China and Russia. These reasons at least make much more sense than the terrorist scenario we have been expected to believe. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, Dick Cheney agrees with Achcar.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_Sea#Current_issues
http://rob-payne.blogspot.com/2009/0...mportance.html
This is an article that appeared first in The Jamestown Foundation.

Quote:
Afghanistan's strategic location between Central and South Asia is of immense geostrategic significance for the landlocked countries of Central Asia and its prosperity is inextricably linked to the security situation in Central and South Asia. Immense energy resources and strategic location on China's western frontier have led to Central Asia being referred to as China's dingwei (Lebensraum) [1].......

ndia's recent overtures toward Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia and the development of close ties with these countries appear to be aimed at weakening China's right pincer and denying Pakistan a secure western frontier. Afghanistan figures prominently, therefore, in Chinese and Indian foreign policies. In fact, the decision to establish the first-ever Indian military outpost on foreign soil at the Farkhor air base in Tajikistan, just two kilometers from the Tajik-Afghan border, could well be perceived as an attempt to reduce the impact of the Chinese encirclement.

According to a Chinese military journal, India's forays into Afghanistan and the Central Asian arena are "designed to achieve four objectives: contain Pakistan; enhance energy security; combat terrorism; and pin down China's development" [3]. As in the past, Afghanistan has once again emerged as the "strategic knot" for the region's security.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/JE16Ad03.html
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Indeed, US interests derive, first of all, from Central Asia’s proximity
to Russia and China. American involvement in Central Asia is primarily
strategic in nature, i.e., not primarily associated with access to energy or an
attempt to democratize the region, as is often alleged......

The United States and the West in general find themselves increasingly dependent
on the continued stability and development of the Central Eurasian
region. The United States is heavily invested in Afghanistan, and its engagement
there and in Central Asian states is a long-term endeavor.
http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/p...ring/blank.pdf
The last indicates US strategic interest in Afghanistan since any spilling over of terrorism into Central Asia will jeopardise the US strategic interest in Central Asia.

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Old 10-11-2011   #34
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China and South Asia- An Indian Perspective

The evolution of China’s South Asia policy needs to be studied not in a vacuum, but in relation to that country’s overall foreign policy framework; the main determinant of Beijing’s external approach has always been its domestic priorities in different periods. In fact, the domestic and foreign policy linkages have continued to be a part of the statecraft of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) ever since Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed founding of the nation in October 1949, saying that ‘China has stood up’. ...

a recalibration of Beijing’s attitude towards the region has been gradually taking place in pursuance of that pre-requisite and its outcome has been a “Balanced South Asia Policy of the PRC Under a New Situation”, providing for China’s development of relations with South Asian nations.....

The Chinese claims that the PRC’s South Asia policy has become balanced is open to dispute. The recalibrations noticed have only been symbolic, lacking in substance as there has been no fundamental change in China’s policy of treating Pakistan as an ally, in order to neutralize the impact on the region coming from India’s ascendancy. There has been no let up in Beijing’s arms supply to Islamabad, despite the knowledge that Pakistan cannot guarantee the non-use of Chinese arms against India. Also, China could increase its strategic presence in other countries in India’s neighborhood in the background of its increased economic aid to the latter, a development not missed by New Delhi. .....

In specific terms, Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan and South China Sea Islands stand listed under the ‘core interest’ category. Chinese media have included strategic resources and trade routes in the list. As a result, China has come to adopt an uncompromising position on issues concerning the country’s sovereignty. Pointers include China’s growing naval activism in the South and East China seas, consistent hard line stand on the Sino-Indian border and the Dalai Lama issues, resistance to Yuan revaluation demand, action on Google, the stiff anti-US positions on issues like Tibet, Taiwan and climate change and efforts to expand influence abroad through the use of military and nuclear assistance. .....

Worrisome to India is the latest situation regarding China’s position on Kashmir. China is taking up road and railway projects designed to link Pakistan and China via Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) where Chinese troops are reportedly deployed ostensibly for construction work. As noted analyst Mr B. Raman puts it, the reported infrastructure projects undertaken by the Chinese military and nuclear establishments in Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan region, may become strategically important to the Chinese army in the event of another conflict with India; in particular, the Karakorum Highway could be useful for China as an overland route for moving missiles and spare parts to Pakistan. Also, there appears to be a deeper meaning to the issuing of stapled visas by Beijing to Kashmiri Indians, indicating that China is shedding its traditional neutrality on the Kashmir issue. Quoting Mr B. Raman again, this new nuanced position on Kashmir could mean a dilution of China’s past stand of accepting Kashmir as a de-facto part of India, while at the same time treating POK including Gilgit-Baltistan region as de-facto and de-jure parts of Pakistan. Is China’s stand a quid pro quo for Pakistan’s help to Beijing in fighting against Uighur separatism in Xinjiang? Is Beijing developing future options for questioning India’s locus standi to negotiate with China on the territory in Ladakh ceded by Pakistan to the PRC? The remarks of Indian Prime Minister that China “could use India’s ‘soft underbelly’ of Kashmir to keep India in low level equilibrium”, demonstrate how serious these questions are. .

http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5C...paper4294.html
A more assertive China looms on the horizon, now that it has "Peacefully Risen".
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Old 10-11-2011   #35
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Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China (NPC) visited Maldives between 28-30 May 2011. This is the first visit of a top Chinese legislator to the island state.During the visit, both countries agreed on enhancing bilateral relations through closer cooperation between respective parliaments. Maldives was part of Wu’s official goodwill visits to Namibia, Angola, and South Africa.

This visit was preceded by a five day visit of Ibrahim Hussein
Zaki, a leader of Maldivian Democratic Party and special envoy of the President to China in the second week of May (9-13). Zaki met Li Jinhua, vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
(CPPCC).

http://www.icwa.in/pdfs/vwpointWu.pdf

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Old 10-11-2011   #36
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China’s Strategic Eggs in South Asia


China is not a South Asian power, but it has been seeking to build up for itself a strong South Asian presence which could cater to its strategic needs in the long term.

2. It has made inroads in the South Asian countries in recent years by taking advantage of their hunger for the development of their infrastructure and their requirement of financial assistance for major infrastructure projects and for the exploitation of their natural resources.

3. While India too has been helping these countries in these fields, China has definitely had an advantage over India due to its large cash reserve built up from its huge trade surpluses and the reservoir of excellent construction engineers with experience in infrastructure building which it has built up over the years.

4. The fact that China has no contentious issues affecting its bilateral relations with these countries --- as against many contentious issues in the relations of India with its neighbours--- has also worked to its advantage.

5. The Chinese policy in the South Asian region has a mix of the strategic and the opportunistic dimensions--- that is, working for carefully calculated long-term strategic objectives while not missing short and medium term opportunities that come its way. One sees the strategic dimension in the case of its relations with Pakistan. One sees a mix of the two in its relations with other South Asian countries.

6. Its relations with Pakistan, which continue to enjoy the highest priority, are driven by a strong strategic calculus. That calculus arises from its perceived need for a second front to keep India preoccupied.

More at:

http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5C...paper4595.html

There are 40 points given.

Mr B Raman is no greenhorn in this field or an armchair strategist!

But then one has to accept that this peaceful rise of China, right?

Is it immoral for the countries of the region or even the US to be concerned?

If China's claim that the US is encircling her is taken as valid by their admirers, is it wrong for others to be worried and not consider it a threat that China is encircling them?

Or is there a different set of rules for China and another for others?

Strategy is not one event agenda. It encompasses many issues and it is over time. One should not go overboard or despondent over single issue but look at the issue holistically and in time slots of short term, medium and long term.

Iraq and Afghanistan, as far as the US is concerned, to my mind, is not a knee jerk reaction. There is more to it than what meets the eye. And I don't think that the US Govt or its planners, civil and military, are people who have no insight. If they were then the US would not be where it is!

If indeed, gold, cobalt, lithium etc are not important to industry and the economic good of a country, I sure would like to know how much of it is used in the US (benchmark) and what is its shortfall, if any or its over-abundance of the same!

Or should they believe in the propaganda that China is a benign nation and this is all in the goodness of China's "Peaceful Rise"?

Neville Chamberlain comes to mind!

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How horrible, fantastic, incredible, it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing.

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Old 10-12-2011   #37
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Views on the strategic importance of Afghanistan from a variety of sources.
All I'm seeing here is repetition of the same old mantras, with little credible justification. These arguments simply don't hold up under any kind of scrutiny, especially the circular reasoning contained in the assumption that there has to be some strategic/economic motive because otherwise the US wouldn't be there. And really, what's the point of looking at a Chomsky opinion seriously? We all know already what's going to emerge from that fringe. The line about how "Washington is trying to set a military vice around the Caspian Basin" is too stupid to even warrant a response, for reasons anyone with access to a map can see..

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Is it immoral for the countries of the region or even the US to be concerned?
Morality is not in the picture in any way. Concern is reasonable, hysteria is not.

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If China's claim that the US is encircling her is taken as valid by their admirers, is it wrong for others to be worried and not consider it a threat that China is encircling them?
Both claims are exaggerated for political purposes. This is very normal.

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Iraq and Afghanistan, as far as the US is concerned, to my mind, is not a knee jerk reaction. There is more to it than what meets the eye. And I don't think that the US Govt or its planners, civil and military, are people who have no insight. If they were then the US would not be where it is!
People outside the US, unfamiliar with the way the US government operates, often assume that there must be "more to it than what meets the eye", and drive themselves to distraction looking for the vast plan. There usually isn't one. The vast plan is to get re-elected, and that means pandering to the political pressure of the moment. The US doesn't do vast plans or long-term strategy, everything in the political structure mitigates against it.

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If indeed, gold, cobalt, lithium etc are not important to industry and the economic good of a country, I sure would like to know how much of it is used in the US (benchmark) and what is its shortfall, if any or its over-abundance of the same!
Nobody said they weren't important. They just aren't scarce, and supply within stable countries in the western hemisphere is more than sufficient to meet US needs far into the future. American companies are risk-averse: they know that the return horizon on mining investments is extremely long and US government commitments are extremely unreliable. Would you make a 20-year deal with a government that may not be around in 20 months, and is likely to be replaced by a bunch of guys who think your head would look good on a stake? Why do you think there's been so little interest from US companies in bidding for oil contracts in Iraq, except as minority members of diversified consortia? Too much risk in it and the terms are unattractive. The chance of attracting major US investment in Afghan mining ventures approaches zero.

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Or should they believe in the propaganda that China is a benign nation and this is all in the goodness of China's "Peaceful Rise"?
Neither benign nor malignant, neither goodness nor evil. Just another power relationship that needs to be managed... with concern, yes, but not with panic, hysteria, or the sort of exaggerated threat responses that are so eagerly manipulated by politicians. Rally behind your leaders and don't look in their closets, for we are threatened from outside by the sinister ones and we must all stick together... one of the oldest scams in political history.
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Old 10-12-2011   #38
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Ah! of course.

Everyone is wrong and hysterical!

And every article, commentary around the world and think tanks including the US and the Congressional Inquiries are totally bosh!

Even the Chinese who have mentioned that there is a plot to encircle them reported in their print media have no idea of what they are saying!! Nor does Col Liu know the Han attitude (mentioned in an earlier post). And Deng Xiao Peng was merely hallucinating when he propounded his '24 Character Strategy", while the Chinese Defence Policy of 'Doctrine of Pre-emption and Surprise' is a Chinese fable! Lt Gen Zheng, the Chief of PLAAF had said that without a pre-emptive strategy, the chance of a PLA victory was limited. I presume that too is silly and stupid.

I presume that these people of the US Congress are also talking through their hat!

Quote:
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan possess large reserves of oil and natural gas, both on-shore and off-shore in the Caspian Sea, which they urgently seek to exploit. Uzbekistan has oil and gas reserves that may permit it to be self-sufficient in energy and gain revenue through exports. Estimates of Central Asian oil reserves vary widely, but are usually said to rival those of the North Sea or Alaska. More accurate estimates of oil and gas resources await wider exploration and the drilling of test wells.
Stated U.S. policy goals regarding energy resources in this region include fostering the independence of the States and their ties to the West; breaking Russia's monopoly over oil and gas transport routes; promoting Western energy security through diversified suppliers; encouraging the construction of east-west pipelines that do not transit Iran; and denying Iran dangerous leverage over the Central Asian economies.
In addition, as has been noted by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, the United States seeks to discourage any one country from gaining control over the region, but rather urges all responsible States to cooperate in the exploitation of regional oil and other resources.
U.S. INTERESTS IN THE CENTRAL ASIAN REPUBLICS
HEARING
BEFORE THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
OF THE
COMMITTEE ON
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
SECOND SESSION

FEBRUARY 12, 1998

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees...fa48119_0f.htm

I hope it will not be too much of a licence on my part to believe that the US Congressmen and Secretaries/ Asst Secretaries know their onions; or do laymen and armchair experts the last word on US policies.

Quote:
The US doesn't do vast plans or long-term strategy, everything in the political structure mitigates against it.
US does not plan ahead in time blocks of short term, medium term or long term?

There are no professionals in the US? All are politicians seeking survival?

That is news!

Have you read National energy Policy or Defence Policy Guidelines that was formulated during Dic.k Cheney's tenure as the Secretary of Defence?

Or were they also talking through their hat.

How is force structuring and modernisation done? By Political Knee jerks?

I get the impression that you alone know what is the US mindset, policy and what is happening.......and yet you claim you are far away in the Orient!!

Having said that, I will recuse myself from the discussion since there is nothing worthwhile to know because, as per you, everyone who should know actually knows nothing and are merely sinecure and fooling the world being in positions of power!

In short:

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.


right?

Last edited by Ray; 10-12-2011 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 10-12-2011   #39
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And every article, commentary around the world and think tanks including the US and the Congressional Inquiries are totally bosh!
Not totally but pretty much; Congressional inquiries are common and laughable -- they are designed to give the appearance of great concern while eliciting votes. Most Think Tanks do not; Most news reports take their cue from US media whixh is among the worlds' most inept.
Quote:
Even the Chinese who have mentioned that there is a plot to encircle them reported in their print media have no idea of what they are saying!! ...I presume that too is silly and stupid.
Not necessarily but I would remind you that the US and the USSR misread each other for over 50 years...
Quote:
US does not plan ahead in time blocks of short term, medium term or long term?...There are no professionals in the US? All are politicians seeking survival?...That is news!
The news is not that the US does nor have such people. It does and many of them are quite knowledgeable -- the news is that they often disagree on things and that our form of government is by design adversarial, slow and full of checks and balances. We bicker and fiddle a lot. An awful lot. We only tend to focus totally during existential threat periods and we have had few of those. Our foreign policy is almost always based solely on US domestic politics. We have been able to afford that and a clunky, slow governmental process in the past and will almost certainly continue to do so. Whether that is wise today remains to be seen.
Quote:
Have you read National energy Policy or Defence Policy Guidelines that was formulated during Dic.k Cheney's tenure as the Secretary of Defence?...Or were they also talking through their hat.
I read it back then, it was overstated and struck me as yet another exercise in policy skewing that would not work. Dick Cheney quite often talked through his hat, both as SecDef and VP. Most politicians around the world seem to do so in my observation.
Quote:
How is force structuring and modernisation done? By Political Knee jerks?
More than any other one thing, yes. Amazing it works as well as it does.
Quote:
There are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.


right?
As always...
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Old 10-12-2011   #40
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Thanks.

It gives me great insight that the US does not know what it does and is staffed with near incompetent, ponderous people at the helm of affairs, if I have understood correctly.

It does leave me uncomfortable.

Though I will confess that it was not the impression I got when I interacted with the US military personnel.

I thought they knew their job and missions.

But then since so many of you feel that the US policies are a huge sham and rudderless, so be it!

Maybe it is better for many nations in the world to change boats, while the going is still good!

Last edited by Ray; 10-12-2011 at 09:12 PM.
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