Ten Second News

Agnosia Afghanistania

From Washington Post piece on the continued discussion around the McChyrstal’s strategic troop increase request: But White House officials are resisting McChrystal’s call for urgency, which he underscored Thursday during a speech in London, and questioning important elements of his assessment, which calls for a vast expansion of an increasingly unpopular war. One senior administration…

Strange Bedfellows

It seems that Ralph Peters – best known as an unfailing advocate of the Chechen school of counter-insurgency tactics – has jumped aboard the “get out of Afghanistan now” bandwagon: Yet, in Afghanistan, we’ve put the bulk of our efforts into turning a vast flophouse into the Four Seasons — instead of focusing ruthlessly on…

Yes, facts do change minds

I have my own reservations about George Will’s column on Afghanistan, but accusing Will of slavishly following public opinion is just silly. The argument – such as it is – seems to be that Will’s enthusiasm for our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is suspiciously correlated with the level of public support for the war…

Likelihood of Success in Afghanistan

Spoiler Alert:  Not likely. Dr. Andrew Enterline and Joseph Magagnoli (a grad student of Enterline’s) have co-written a report surveying the history of counterinsugency success rates in the 20th century.  In this instance, counterinsurgency undertaken by a foreign/colonial power in order to assist in a local appointed state government (i.e. just like what we have…

Not Knowing the Meaning of Words: Special Diplomacy Edition

Christian Brose writing at the Shadow Gov’t on the ForeignPolicy blogroll: Is negotiating akin to appeasement? No, not inherently, but as with everything, the devil’s in the details. Diplomacy is not just a synonym for talking. It is the balancing of incentives and disincentives to elicit changes in another party’s behavior. So the question should never be, are…

Winning the War Fought in the Wrong Location (While Still Losing the Peace)

Freddie thinks that those (like Reihan) who are nervous about new so-called modest (or lowered) expectations should be.  Br. F-reddie also raises an question of feasibility of non-lowered expectations given Afghan history.  (Also check out ED’s important comment regarding the volatility of democracy in societies without rule of law, culture of transparency, less black market…