Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventure

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What is the Best Outcome for India of US' AfPak Engagement?

1) US makes "face saving" exit from Afghanistan over the next 2-5 years
13
25%
2) US forced to exit from Afghanistan without saving face, sometime in the next 2-5 years
9
17%
3) US remains engaged without significantly reducing its military presence in Afghanistan, for the foreseeable future.
31
58%
 
Total votes: 53

Rudradev
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Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventure

Postby Rudradev » 09 Nov 2010 11:41

We had explored this question in a poll shortly after the London Conference on Afghanistan, where SM Krishna was relegated to back-bencher status and India's viewpoint largely ignored.

I think it's time to look at it again, with perhaps slightly fewer and more stark choices.

Essentially, there are three broad possibilities for the future of the US mission in AfPak.

1) The US can exit Afghanistan as the Obama administration is currently hoping to, by following its present policy of buying off the TSPA and cutting some sort of deal whereby TSPA will get to secure its primacy over post-withdrawal Afghanistan. On the face of it this seems like a bad thing for India; once Afghanistan is back in pro-Paki Taliban hands, India's gains in Afghanistan over the last decade will be more or less erased, and India's nation-building presence in Afghanistan (at least the Pakhtun areas) essentially terminated.

However, this is not as simple as it seems. If the Americans withdraw most of their ground forces from Afghanistan, their need to continue placating TSPA with aid is likely to decrease (though TSPA might continue to milk the Americans to some extent even afterward, in exchange for guaranteeing that no terrorism against Western interests is allowed to emanate from an Afghanistan under Pakistani control.)

But the bigger question is... CAN TSPA/ISI credibly offer such a guarantee to the US, that a post-withdrawal Afghanistan constructed according to a Pakistan-favoured dispensation will never become a source of terrorism against the West? Given the fact that so many jihadi tanzeems seem to be following their own agenda irrespective of Islamabad's wishes, can the TSPA guarantee that whatever faction of Taliban comes to power in Kabul following the "face saving" American withdrawal, will not once again lend itself to Jihad against Western interests? Will the Taliban, resurgent in Kabul, continue to take orders from the TSPA who once betrayed it?

In fact, may it not be in TSPA's interest that another 9/11 is launched from a post-withdrawal Afghanistan and the US is forced to come back, re-opening the money flow to Pakistan?

Also, will the US respond in the same way to another 9/11 as it did to the original one... trying to solve the problem by once again co-opting and buying off the TSPA? Or will they do something else?

2) The US can be forced to exit in a 1975/Saigon-style debacle, if the US economy continues to falter and increasing pressure at home forces the GOTUS to pullout even before the Pentagon considers Afghanistan to be "ready".

In this case there will be even greater chaos in post-withdrawal Afghanistan than in scenario (1). Probably it will lead to a de-facto partition of the Pakhtun south and the Tajik/Uzbek north once again.

(Side note: despite what Blackwill and some others have been prescribing, I don't believe that the Obama administration would ever conduct such a partition themselves... they don't have the political will to do it, and they don't have the stomach or finances to back a post-partition client "Northern Afghanistan" with the economic and military strength to survive. The only way a partition could happen, IMO, is if the US leaves the country in chaos and other powers like Russia or Iran fill the vacuum to bolster Northern Afghanistan.)

Conventional wisdom has it that a Saigon-style humiliating withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan will be a great "propaganda victory" to the "Islamists", who will now be able to boast of utterly defeating both the superpowers. However, will this be as bad an outcome for India as it will be for Pakistan?

Pakistan might continue to milk the Americans for aid even in scenario (1), but in scenario (2) it is unlikely that the Americans, having been deprived of a face-saving withdrawal, will continue to give the TSPA any aid at all. Distrust between Washington and Islamabad will plunge to a new low, as the Americans will not even have lip-service guarantee from the TSPA of preventing future terrorism against Western interests from Afghanistan. The US will be relying entirely on their internal security, and their own intelligence assets left behind, to fend off future 9/11s. Any extent of cooperation between the CIA and the ISI on this issue, such as it was, will come to a complete stop.

Meanwhile, the partitioned Afghanistan will become a Damocles' Sword hanging over Pakistan... particularly the Pakhtun south which will almost certainly harbour irredentist ambitions for a united Pakhunistan.

Pakistan's only option in this situation will be to launch an all-or-nothing jihad against India, likely over J&K, and hope that as many of the Islamist groups in AfPak as possible rally to their banner. Pakistan will try to take advantage of the new triumphalism among the jihadis, in the wake of humiliating US withdrawal, to engage them in such a jihad.

It will be a dangerous time for India, but if the cards are played right, could it also be the best opportunity to rid ourselves of Pakistan once and for all?

3) The US can remain engaged in Afghanistan militarily, at the same (or greater) force levels as they currently deploy, for the foreseeable future. Many gurus on BRF think this is essentially what will happen.

What this means is that the money-and-arms flow to Pakistan from Washington will continue in full swing. Many have speculated that this is, in fact, the outcome that the Pakis want most; because (a) they continue to receive generous aid and (b) US military presence will be close at hand to protect, if necessary, the TSPA/ISI state from being overrun by its own Frankensteins Monsters.

The downside for Pakistan here is two-fold. One, they do not have an absolutely free hand to continue terrorism against India. India has some small leverage over the US, especially post-Parakram, to restrain the extent to which Pakistan can launch terrorist attacks in India, even in J&K. It may not be anywhere near as much leverage as we jingoes would like (witness the Headley saga, and also the constant carping from sections of GOTUS that India should make concessions on Kashmir/scale down our presence in Afghanistan/renounce Cold-Start etc.) But whatever it is, it is there. After Parakram, Paki terrorism against India (even in J&K) has never been ratcheted up to pre-2002 levels. This may hold good only as long as the US is militarily engaged in AfPak.

The second disadvantage for Pakistan if the US remains indefinitely engaged in Afghanistan, is the constant propagation of stresses in the relationship between the jihadi tanzeems and their TSPA/ISI mentors. Already we are seeing a slew of IED mubaraks on Fridays and other such fun stuff. The longer the TSPA/ISI continue to keep up appearances of collaborating with the US, the longer they continue to allow drone strikes and other ops on Paki soil by US/NATO forces, the more the hostility between non-sarkari jihadi tanzeems (eg. TTP) and the TSPA/ISI will escalate.

At some point these stresses may become untenable, no matter how much aid is being poured into TSPA/ISI by the Americans to keep them afloat.

Another point to note here: in scenario (2), it is relatively easy for TSPA/ISI to take advantage of Afghan chaos and jihadi triumphalism, and unite all the various jihadi factions into a grand jihad against India. However, in the present scenario (3) of US remaining indefinitely engaged in AfPak... such a unification becomes more difficult to implement, and relies more on the perpetration of atrocities like 26/11 to provoke India into a military action that could unite all Jihadi tanzeems under the TSPA/ISI banner.

With the US military presence and intel presence in the neighbourhood, India currently has the option (however much we jingoes might hate it) of not responding to a Pakistani terrorist attack. In this way, India can (theoretically) pressure the US to make more concessions to Indian interests in exchange for India not retaliating against Pakistan... i.e., not messing up the Americans' AfPak game plan. Additionally, India would not be drawn into a conflict that would adversely impact her economic growth. Meanwhile the TSPA/ISI is denied the safety valve that an Indian attack would represent, and must continue to face an ever-increasing buildup of internal stressors in their relationship with the jihadi tanzeems.

This would not apply in scenarios (1) or (2)... having already withdrawn from AfPak, the Americans would have little interest in preventing India from retaliating against a Pakistani terrorist attack, with all the attendant consequences. So in some small way, India's range of options is wider because of the continuing American military engagement in Afghanistan. If the Americans leave Afghanistan, the GOI's current policy option (avoid conflict with Pakistan and concentrate on economic growth) will no longer be available. Whether we think that the GOI's current policy option is a good one or a bad one, is a matter for discussion. The current strategic security establishment (from K Subrahmanyam and Shivshankar Menon on down) apparently think it is a good one.

All said and done, it seems a very complex issue, with all the three outcomes having their positive and negative consequences as far as India is concerned. I would like to use this thread to explore whether the marginal benefits outweigh the marginal disadvantages of any of these three outcomes... and also, how India could follow pro-active policies to widen the margins in each instance.

shiv
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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby shiv » 09 Nov 2010 13:43

I voted 3 simply because the US will perform a "trick". It will say "We are withdrawing from Af_Pak" but the US will park in Pakistan instead, controlling the Pakistan army.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby darshhan » 09 Nov 2010 16:23

There is another option that US can employ and you have not included it in the poll.US can downsize its contingent and switch to Counter Terrorist mode completely from Counter insurgency mode that it currently is involved in.Doing CT only will not require 100000 troops.Anywhere from 10000 to 20000 troops would be enough backed by airpower both manned and unmanned.

The majority of operations will be devoted to neutralising Taliban activists at all levels.These ops will be conducted by Special forces and CIA paramilitary.UAVs and UCAVs will play a major role in hunting down Talibanies.2000 TO 3000 special forces should be enough to do this job.Rest of the contingent can provide support and backup to these forces.

America will also come to conclusion that a centralized form of Govt run from Kabul will not work for Afghanistan.Also they will realise that their nation building efforts will not succeed in Afghanistan and will only suck up more money.Hence to dominate the terrain in Afghanistan they will once again depend on Friendly warlords and their forces instead of Afghan National Army as they did in 2001 to capture Afghanistan.Once again it is the Special Forces that will coordinate with these warlords.The advantage of this model is that while terrain is controlled by the warlords the Americans can go on hunting the Al qaeda and the Taliban.Warlords such as Mohammed Fahim and Abdul Rashid Dostum will gain in power while Hamid Karzai's influence will recede.The other advantage is that because there are now much fewer soldiers on the ground the logistics can be completely rerouted through central Asia and Russia thereby ending the self defeating dependency on Pakistan.Also the cost of the war would come down considerably since there are much less soldiers to support and no more nation building , the money for which anyways lines up the pockets of corrupt afghan officials.

This approach is also advantageous for India as America not anymore dependent on Pakistan for supplies can cut the military aid that is currently being used for Anti India Weaponry.Also taliban would find it very difficult to capture Afghanistan once again since warlords in their opposition will be supported by American special forces,Airpower and ofcourse dollars.

It is my own opinion that US will never leave Afghanistan completely unless their economy tanks completely with something like 40-50% unemployment or some other Black Swan event.There will be some kind of American military and intelligence presence in Afghanistan for a long time to come in all other scenarios.

So according to me your poll is incomplete as it does not take into account the much reduced american presence with focus on counter terrorism instead of counter insurgency that it is practising now.

shiv
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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby shiv » 09 Nov 2010 17:25

America may be in decline. But America is not in free fall.

Going back to basics, the US is not interested in Afghanistan for just democracy, but eventual control of CAR export routes. If the US moves out of Afghanistan it has to move out to someplace. The choices of where the US wil go when it is out of Afghanistan are
1) Pakistan
2) Back to the USA
3) India

I predict that the US will move out of Afghanistan into Pakistan. Moving out of Pakistan gives China de facto control over Pakistan with only India in opposition. Both India-China rivalry (likely) and India-China friendship can put the straits of Hormuz and CAR under Asian power control. The west is no going to give up that easily. Not while the Pakistan army remains dependent and subservient to US interests.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Rudradev » 10 Nov 2010 03:32

darshhan wrote:There is another option that US can employ and you have not included it in the poll.US can downsize its contingent and switch to Counter Terrorist mode completely from Counter insurgency mode that it currently is involved in.Doing CT only will not require 100000 troops.Anywhere from 10000 to 20000 troops would be enough backed by airpower both manned and unmanned.

...

So according to me your poll is incomplete as it does not take into account the much reduced american presence with focus on counter terrorism instead of counter insurgency that it is practising now.


Darshhan-ji,

Firstly, the poll isn't about US options per se; it is about the analyzing the outcomes for India depending on how each of those options, plus associated circumstances, play out.

Secondly, the US does not at present have any such option to downsize its contingent from Counter Insurgency to Counter Terrorist posture... not when there is an ongoing full-scale insurgency that they are trying (unsuccessfully) to fight.

Switching from CI to CT mode, only becomes an option when the insurgency itself has been defeated, and resistance marginalized to the fringes of the polity (i.e. whatever resistance is there can be handled as a terrorist problem.) That is the goal of the US, to reduce the current insurgency in Afghanistan to a terrorist problem as they did in Iraq, subsequently allowing US forces to draw down by going into CT mode. At present that is a completely unrealistic goal.

Two things are required to defeat insurgency: marginalization and isolation of the insurgents, so that they dwindle in strength and no longer occupy the mainstream social or political space; and investment of the larger polity, the common people and the mainstream political players into a common national vision so that the political equilibrium shifts in favour of that common national vision. The shift towards a common national vision can only happen when the general population is convinced that stability and security can only return by investing in that vision. Once that is achieved, then it is the resisters who are marginalized, and can be handled as "terrorists." Then and only then, is it an option for the occupying power to draw down from CI to CT mode. The US is nowhere near that point in Afghanistan today.

In Iraq, the goal was achieved with a greater degree of success. Back in the 2004-06 era, after the battle of Fallujah, the US was fighting a full-blown insurgency in Iraq. The Allawi government was not a mainstream national-level player but an isolated, weak institution which did not enjoy the faith of the common people or of most political players. Things seemed to get worse when Al-Qaeda targeted the Al-Aksari mosque in early 2006, threatening to set off a Sunni-Shia civil war. Allawi's successor, Ibrahim Al-Jaffari, did not show any sign of being able to contain the looming violence.

Things were turned around by a policy whose primary architects were Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates, who replaced Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld in Bush's second term cabinet. The policy was skilfully implemented, largely by Gen. Petraeus.

Salient features of the policy were:
1) A military surge, bringing more pressure on insurgents in a sustained, localized manner rather than engaging them in Fallujah-style battles.

2) "Clear, hold and build": a strategy whereby the US forces did not simply drive out insurgents from an area and then withdraw to green zones. US forces from 2006 onwards, remained in the areas cleared of insurgents, and often barracked in the cities or small towns which they had cleared, reassuring the common people there that they would be protected against insurgent reprisals. The US forces would also engage with the locals in development and "nation-building" style activities, encouraging the general public to subscribe to a common national vision centered around the Al-Maliki government in Baghdad.

3) Political manoeuvres: Carrots and sticks were used to ensure that Shia politicians in the Al-Maliki government did not encourage communal reprisals against Sunnis, and to secure the cooperation of the northern Kurdish leadership in the common national vision as well.
The tribal leaders of the Sunni triangle, who had grave concerns about being victimized in a Shia-majority Iraq, were the most difficult to bring around; but by a combination of bribery, threats and intensified action against Al-Qaeda (such as the killing of Zarqawi) they too were brought into the fold and convinced to invest in a common national vision. This was known as the "Awakening", an impressive political coup by the Americans and the Al-Maliki government.

4) Any who held out against the common national vision were first isolated, socially and politically, and then destroyed militarily. The isolation was at least as important as the eventual military destruction. The holdouts had to be marginalized, and their credibility severely reduced, relative to the US-backed government in Baghdad. Increasingly visible involvement of Iraqi personnel in security operations, was a crucial part of this process. Finally the common Iraqi switched over from cheering for the Al-Qaeda insurgent fighting against the US occupiers, to cheering for the Iraqi cops and paramilitary keeping the peace and maintaining law-and-order.

The reduction of the "insurgency" to a "terrorist problem" was possible in Iraq for a few reasons, that do not apply to Afghanistan.

1) Iraq had developed a strong sense of national identity under Saddam Hussein, and they had recently experienced the stability and security that existence as a united nation could provide. So, even though Saddam himself was gone, it was relatively easy to convince the common people to invest in national unity under the new leadership, as a solution to their problems. This does not apply to Afghanistan, which has not known national unity since the Daoud Khan regime of the 1970s. Whole generations of Afghans have grown up not knowing what it means to have security and stability under a national government. Why would they buy into Karzai's common national vision? It does not hold any credibility for them.

2) Much of the administrative machinery developed under Saddam, from the utilities to the security forces, remained intact in post-invasion Iraq. Thus the infrastructure required to build a nation wasn't totally destroyed and forgotten as it has been in Afghanistan since the 1980s. The Americans could put together the pieces and re-create a functioning state in Iraq within a few years, enhancing the credibility of the common national vision. There is no such advantage in Afghanistan.

3) The biggest reason by far: there is no equivalent of Pakistan in Iraq. Iran had its links with the Al-Maliki government, and surely has more intelligence assets in the post-Saddam Iraq, but its influence is limited by the extent to which the Baghdad regime depends on the United States for sustenance and aid. In turn, the US does not depend on Iran for its Iraq strategy, the way it depends on Pakistan for its Afghanistan strategy.

Despite a few loose cannons like Moqtada Al-Sadr, the Iranians have been unable (or perhaps, unwilling) to recruit, train, equip, finance, harbour and launch a full-scale insurgency against the Americans in Iraq. Whatever they have done, is laughable in contrast to the extent that the Pakistanis have gone in maintaining an insurgency against the Americans in Afghanistan... year after year.

The "Iraq Strategy" of Rice, Gates and Petraeus will not be applicable to Afghanistan. The Americans cannot reduce the insurgency in Afghanistan to the scale of a marginalized terrorist problem, because the Afghan people do not trust in any common national vision proffered by the Karzai regime, and do not trust in the Americans or the Kabul government to ensure their safety and stability against the Taliban insurgents. In Afghanistan, it is the Karzai regime which is isolated and marginalized, like the Allawi and Jaffari regimes in Baghdad were 5-6 years ago.

And these problems can never be solved by the Americans as long as the Pakistanis are running the insurgency against them, doing everything to undermine any possibility of a common national vision for the Afghan public to invest in.

It is absurd, for the moment, to think of the Americans drawing down to a counter-terrorist stance from a counter-insurgency stance in Afghanistan. The "Warlords" will not help. Fahim and Dostum have no credibility as "leaders" among the Afghan people; they are seen as basically daakus on a grand scale, using fear and intimidation to enrich themselves and finance their drug-running operations. They cannot be compared with the tribal leaders of the Awakening who actually had credibility as leaders of Iraqi Sunni civil society for generations.

So the three options on the poll are entirely valid. Currently the US wants to draw down from counter-insurgency to a counter-terrorist stance; they want to accomplish this by buying off the Pakis to end the insurgency and rein in the Haqqanis, the Quetta Shura and other players. If they succeed, that will amount to scenario (1)... a "face saving exit" where the US first steps down from CI to CT posture and continues to withdraw from there. I am not at all convinced that they will succeed. However, it seems to be what Obama and a few others in his cabinet, would like to pursue.

If the US decides to simply draw down from CI to CT posture immediately, even with an insurgency raging... they are in for a disaster. They will themselves become the marginalized party, and any Kabul government supported by them will immediately have zero credibility. Ultimately they will have to flee like they did from Saigon in 1975. This amounts to scenario (2). An immediate transition from CI to CT posture, actually has some advocates in the Obama administration: Joe Biden and former NSA James Jones, to name two. If their will prevails, disaster will follow.

Finally, the US can decide to stick it out at present deployment levels and defeat the insurgency first, with hard-fought battles against the Taliban, relentless drone attacks and so on. This amounts to scenario (3).

The Americans can keep slamming the Taliban while simultaneously attempting to reassure the Afghan people of their security under Kabul's government. In this manner, they can hope to defeat the insurgency, reduce the resistance to a marginalized terrorist problem, and eventually climb down from a CI to a CT posture. Petraeus, and probably his predecessor (and chela) McChrystal, seem to have favoured this policy.

However, this cannot work as long as the Americans fail to properly arm, train and equip the Afghan National Army (just as building an effective Iraqi Army was key to the success of the surge strategy in Iraq.) Of course, the main reason why the Americans will not help to create a modern, effective Afghan National Army under Karzai's regime is because the Pakistanis object to it.

Once again, what India is contributing by means of its nation-building activities in Afghanistan, is to help create and bolster a common national vision for the common Afghan people to invest in. That is why Pakistan is constantly targeting our workers in Afghanistan with terrorist attacks... they do not want the Afghan people to invest in a common national vision, which is a key factor in defeating any insurgency. As long as the US allows Pakistan to play its double-game, the common national vision will remain elusive, the Afghan people will never believe in the ability of national unity under the Kabul government to provide security, and the insurgency will continue undefeated. The Kabul government will never occupy the Afghan political mainstream, but remain isolated. Pakistan does not want to permit the emergence of any Afghan state, based on any common national vision that Pakistan itself hasn't dictated word-for-word.

In any case, I digress. Moving from CI to CT posture in Afghanistan is not an option for the United States today, and they will face disaster if they try to do it today. It could be an option in the near future, only if the Americans bribe the Pakis by caving in to all their demands for a "face-saving exit". And it may be an option in the medium-to-long-term, but only if the Americans stick it out and do whatever is necessary to first defeat the Paki-sponsored insurgency in Afghanistan. The poll scenarios as originally posted, thus cover the whole span of possibilities for the foreseeable future.


****

Shiv,

Interesting idea that the US will "park" in Pakistan when leaving Afghanistan.

Could you elaborate on how you see this playing out? In what strength, and where, will the US deploy in Pakistan? What will their mandate be? And what will the "redlines" of the TSPA/ISI be, as against the American forces' exercise of their mandate?

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby brihaspati » 10 Nov 2010 06:03

Parking in Pak is going to be immensely difficult: for one or more of the following reasons.

(1) The Paki generals have already shown that they can manage to convince (withe overt or covert proof of the threat) the USA about the US-hatred of the Paki establishment. Real or not, the Paki army will therefore see the necessity of making this threat good if US shows signs of actual "parking". The best way to do this is of course by inviting PRC, or Iran (even if "Shia") or launch a huge diversionary action on India.

(2) There is indeed real chance of the Islamist network now putting its full militant weight on the US presence in Pak. The official PA (that which pretends to be part of the POGWI) is either a sham or an ineffective arm of the government with the real power shifting to the Jihadi portion of the Paki command. The very geographical and religious reasons that have forced the USA on the backfoot in AFG still remains valid in Pak, although the flatter plains may help the USA in using its Iraq experience. But it still means a deep strategic, ideological and international dilemma for USA - for it now has to wage a war against the Pak - even if it terms it a war against a regime.

(3) Withdrawing from AFG and Parking in Pak draws and extends the the real front against which USA was moving - Encircling Iran, containing Russia, and managing the CAR. This takes US forces further away from the real targets while those targets can now reach out further to the south to continue harassing the US forces.

(4) US will have real reasons to fear PRC support and covert provision of the Paki Islamists.

USA's real problem is its failure to see that it has no real political, economic or international justification to continue to prop up the artificial state of Pakistan. In face even more than India, it is USA which gains in economic, military and political terms if it ceases to support Pakistan.

USA has tightly netted itself always in trying to claim that so-and-so country's "integrity and sovereignty" is "inviolate" and has to be maintained "at all costs". Of course USA does this strictly for entities it feels will provide strong bulwarks against its "enemies", and is quite free with recommending "dissolution" for countries it does not like for ideological reasons. Now every time USA tried to protect the "integrity" of countries in a big way - it has ended up backing regimes which are trying to revive mythical imperial golden memories - China and Pakistan. And both times its "call for respecting integrity and sovereignty" has landed up in creating inveterate enemies of USA of those very "integrated" states.

So parking in Pak while maintaining a position of "respecting and maintaining the integrity of Pak" is the impossible dilemma that USA will have to face. It may not have the brains to decide on this logically and more importantly with foresight.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby svinayak » 10 Nov 2010 06:35

brihaspati wrote:
USA's real problem is its failure to see that it has no real political, economic or international justification to continue to prop up the artificial state of Pakistan. In face even more than India, it is USA which gains in economic, military and political terms if it ceases to support Pakistan.

You are forgetting the rules of geo politics

It is about the region and the around it.

They dont care about this or that country but only about the region. They dont look at the people as people but pawns in the geo political games.


The region is important for them to keep a watch on Russia, China and future India.

It is gateway to the entrance to persian gulf and surrounding area.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2010 06:44

brihaspati wrote:So parking in Pak while maintaining a position of "respecting and maintaining the integrity of Pak" is the impossible dilemma that USA will have to face.



This is exactly what the US is likely to do. But they will have to maintain one or two bases in Afghanistan as a "cover" for US presence in Pakistan. The US presence in Pakistan will not have the manpower requirements of an Afghan presence and give the US the fig leaf of pull out from Afghanistan.

The US has bought up the Pakistani army and elite. Pakistan's economy shows "growth" only because of the US. The US economy may have shrunk, but not the Pakistani economy. 9-11, the Taliban and terror plots in the US are not autonomous and spontaneously generated "Islam inspired" acts. They were/are all firmly rooted in the reality of Pakistani state funding and support. But that same Pakistani "state" has maintained a dual layer of deniability.

The "first layer" or "outer cloak" of deniabiilty was the idea that all this was coming out of Afghanistan. The fact that this is a lie has become clear even top the stupids of the US after they parked in Afghanistan for 9 years. The second layer (inner cloak) of deniability is that these are "non state actors" over which Pakistan has little of no control.

Control over the Pakistan army and elite is the key to control of the forces of jihad. Musharraf and the Paki army have been the authors of a "third cloak" of protection and that is to say that there will be revolt in the Pakistani army. There will be revolt in the Pakistani army only if the generals are not well fed and well looked after and soldiers salaries not paid.

The US will address Pakistan's fears and guarantee the "integrity" of Pakistan in exchange for the Pakistan army quelling its Islamist splinter groups. India has been the main hurdle here spoiling the US's plans. If the US could have ignored India and allowed Pakistan a free hand in jihad against India in exchange for Pakistan's support - the US would have been quite happy to let that continue. But in retrospect there were two problems in this. First India was too strong and not under US control. Secondly the attacks on the US were all by Pakistan supported Islammst groups who could have been kept busy fighting India if only India had not been so powerful in its own defence.

The way to control jihad is to control Pakistan. But Pakistan cannot be given India on a platter. India will break up Pakistan. Eventually. The only near term guarantee is for the US to hold Pakistan together and get Pakistan to clean itself up. Indian coopeeration is essential for this. The US will lose if it appears or behaves anti-India. The US has to make peace with India to stop India from breaking Pakistan. This "peace with India" will not come with sanctions and coercion or restriction. It can only come by allowing India to expand. India will happily cooperate with the US in Pakistan, and allow an intact Pakistan to survive as long as the US is not anti-India.

This is exactly the direction the US seems to be heading. IMO.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Victor » 10 Nov 2010 07:06

Voted 3 becoz there are going to be big changes in this area and we want China neutralized. It is true that unkil wants to and will stay in Afghanistan, no question. But that is also true of India as we have our borders and influence to restore. This does not conflict with unkil's needs but complements it IMO, at least in the near to medium term.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby brihaspati » 10 Nov 2010 07:45

Acharya ji, and Shiv ji,
I think we sometimes give too much credit to the USA, or any such so-called super-agents of history. USA has proved that it can only think so much ahead and is severely restricted by ideological and other preconceptions. It has also started process before with certain stated and (unstated but estimated) objectives but it has not always turned out along the line that they had initially projected.

At the moment the situation is not really clear in terms of power balance on ground of AFPAK. The USA may try certain things but the outcome will depend on several different factors. The outcome that you think will go in USA's favour, is based on the assumption of the Paki elite and army general's control over the Jihadi setup.

But that is an assumption that still needs to be proved. When Mushy threatened "loss of PA control" he was perhaps in a position to carry out his threat. Things have changed substantially over the intervening years. Talebanism is an ideology based insurgency where stakes are very high - power and absolute power. Such ideological, and militant movements that have been able to transform into an irregular army with power base among the people intact, may start out as servants and adjuncts or dependents of regular state-based armies, but over the time period of "service" - the equations change.

Initially the Talebs were tools and creations of the PA, but PA had to leave them out into AFG where they themselves could not go. Sooner or later, the distance from handlers leads to growth of independent assertion. So later on it was the the lower ranks of the PA who got influenced by the Talebs, and it is unlikely now that the lower ranks of the PA actually are unswervingly behind their commanders. If and when a "Talebanism" with "nationalist" colouring comes up, the loyalty of the lower ranks will be dubious.

It does remain to be seen how far the Paki generals are able to have their orders obeyed when push comes to shove. FATA seems to be "expanding", even at a point when it was important for the Paki generals to "exhibit their control" over the region. But apart from closing the "borders" which does not prove otherwise - since it coincided with the Taleb interests there - they have been able to show nothing.

Large tracts west of the Indus are virtually outside of direct PA control.

I am not sure the generals retain full control over the Jihadis.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby negi » 10 Nov 2010 07:46

Option '3'.

The exit is only possible if Unkil agrees to TSPA's stand i.e. signs a truce with Good Talipaan; in exchange some middle ranking Al-queda commander will be handed to Americans so that GOTUS can claim victory, Drone attacks will continue and some of the top brass in Afgan army and even the Bak army will be kept happy and entertained for spying/collecting intel (to prevent a repeat of 9/11) in exchnage TSPA-ISI would of be allowed to run their terrorist camps in PoK with help of JuD,LeT and HuM combine.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2010 08:43

brihaspati wrote:
I am not sure the generals retain full control over the Jihadis.


This was a thought that used to go through my mind in the 2001-2008 time period. Many BRFites used to insist that the generals did control them and I was willing to "walk the extra mile" :P and say that perhaps the generals did not control them.

But events since 26/11/2008 indicate to me that jihad is mostly under control of the Pakistan army. Lack of control is a mere tool of plausible deniability.

Oh yes I am sure some are autonomous. There is no doubt whatsoever that Pakistan is awash with arms and awash with criminals. As far back as 1964 the Pakistn air force was attacking tribals in the NWFP. Pakistan has never really controlled those regions. Those areas have been kept in peace again by a colonial model - having a poltical "agent". hence the acronym "FATA" which is an "Agency"

But none of these ragtag militias can have global or transnational clout without the cooperation of the Pakistan army. It is the Pakistan army that has transnational clout. To a very large extent the Pakistan army's transnational clout is dependent on the USA. They will, in a trice, try and shift allegiance to China - which is a very good reason why the US will embrace them closely. But more on that in a later post.
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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2010 09:17

I believe that the questions raised in this thread need to be viewed through the prism of "What is in US interests versus what the US can afford" To that extent the question has nothing to do with India other than the indirect impact of US actions. Having said that - it is definitely extremely important in terms of Indian interests to see what the US may do because Pakistan (not Afghanistan) impacts Indian interests. "Afghanistan" is an American inspired bogey which we need not think about. It's importance is only insofar as what Pakistan will do. India's interests revolve around Pakistan.

What is in US interest? Maybe I am the wrong person to talk about this, although I have views.

The US economy has largely been screwed by Americans and the Americans who have been screwed are demanding that the situation be set right. The American economy was built up initially on technology and manufacture and later diversified into services. America still retains a grip on technology and high technology manufacture. Americans will get jobs in America only for things that America can do. No American will get a job in the US for manufacturing plastic toys. The American economy can probably be stimulated in various ways but the basic idea in any economy is to get money flowing in, in exchange for goods and services.

Right now the situation for the US is reversed because a lot of the goods are imported. America has lost its manufacturing monopoly on everything that is low tech. On top of that the economy was living on a bubble that burst. This leaves China as the biggest threat to the US. It is China that is manufacturing everything that the US buys (other tan high tech items). China is also openly trying to displace the US as superpower. China is also rivalling the US in terms of consumption of resources such as oil and minerals. India too is heading in that direction, but India has no open intention of deliberately displacing or rivalling the US.

For the future, the US has the choice of opposing both China and India (along with other rising economies) - or cooperating with one or more of these countries for its own benefit. For the time being I will leave out Russia and Brazil. Russsia is an oil exporter. The US and China are oil importers. India and China make up about 25-30% of the entire world's population. these people will consume the most food, most goods and most oil. Eventually. Is the US going to benefit by opposing them? Or by allowing them to dominate? Or by splitting them?

The Af_Pak question is secondary to these questions. The US retains control over the Gulf oil producing nations. The US also rules the sea lanes. It is China that is trying to rival the US. It is China who is arming and supporting anti-US regimes everywhere. That includes North Korea and Iran. China has provided nuclear knowhow and materials to both countries.

It is only in Pakistan that Chinese and US interests transiently coincided during the end of the cold war. The side effect of this was to allow Pakistan to develop very close relations with both the US and China. If the US ditches Pakistan. China will take over. China then will have a direct land link right up to the oil rich Gulf states and will have Iran as a nuclear armed ally and a base in Gwadar.

US actions in Pakistan in my view will be dictated by these considerations. It is the US that has to choose between India and Pakistan. That is a choice that has to be exercised very carefully. How the US plays this will have an important effect on India as well as the US.
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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby SriSri » 10 Nov 2010 09:31

This is *BIG*

White House moves away from 2011 Afghanistan withdrawal timeline
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/n ... lan10.html

The new policy will be on display next week during a NATO conference in Lisbon, Portugal, where the administration hopes to introduce a timeline that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Sanku » 10 Nov 2010 10:21

I voted (3) -- Whether you look at the option in terms of the MMS doctrine (as outlined by RD) or even differently, as a version of Chinese doctrine from Indian perspective viz US presence in Afg forces it to engage Russia and India in ways it would not otherwise and also ties down its hand from creating mischief elsewhere.

It also willy nilly brings them in contact (and conflict) with China, through Pak actions in Northern Areas and the resultant effect of pumping energy through Chinese route into Paki jihadi structure. OTOH their departure just frees up the area to be Chinese playground.

Overall, as long as US in directly present in Afg, it can not treat the issues in the region as "some one else's problem" and focus only on geo-political chess moves.

Further the longer US stays in Afg whether deliberately or otherwise, it creates a constituency of Afg version of Macualy's children, very useful for tempering the outwardly aggressive militant strain of tribes that are currently housed in Afg. We must remember that a Afg under strong external control (Maharaja Ranjit Singh, British, Russians, Americans) are the only periods when that area has not been making trouble for all and sundry in India (after the Shahi's fell of course) It has always been a convenient staging ground for anti-India forces, or breeding ground for parasites looking to periodically leech off India, when not under a strong control.

So considering that we are not ready to go into Afg and hold it, we need some external power to do it for us. Russia was the best of course, but considering that they are not available, even US could be a useful tool to that end.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby svinayak » 10 Nov 2010 10:40

brihaspati wrote:Acharya ji, and Shiv ji,
I think we sometimes give too much credit to the USA, or any such so-called super-agents of history. USA has proved that it can only think so much ahead and is severely restricted by ideological and other preconceptions. It has also started process before with certain stated and (unstated but estimated) objectives but it has not always turned out along the line that they had initially projected.

It is true a major blunder by US. It is the decline. These periods of confusion are the opportunities for countries like India.
History of the western nations will give enough clues to the direction of the strategy
One may like it or not but geo political force of history keep moving and it has to be turned to the advantage of Indians in the present period and into the future.


Since at least 1914, American foreign policy has always been
related in some crucial manner to the state of the economy.
Economics perplexes all men and women of power; it is the
ultimate constraint on them whatever their nationality – the
arbiter of what they can and cannot do. The US war in Vietnam
led to infl ation and the bleeding of its gold reserves, and that
was one vital reason it lost the confl ict there. The international
influence of the US, its universal mission since 1947 to
organize the world’s affairs, has been based in large part on
its economic strength. Hence the present discussion precedes
everything that follows because a panorama of the state of the
economy – American and international – is essential. The wars
in the Middle East and Afghanistan, whatever the reasons for
them, have helped fuel the vertiginous rise in the price of oil,
a situation that now gives the war in Iraq, and the possibility
of war between the US and Iran, a special signifi cance. It has
also greatly accelerated the loss of American power.


At the moment the situation is not really clear in terms of power balance on ground of AFPAK. The USA may try certain things but the outcome will depend on several different factors. The outcome that you think will go in USA's favour, is based on the assumption of the Paki elite and army general's control over the Jihadi setup.

This is the period of social evolution and changes in the region. A new social power structure is being built to favor US and western interest.
Changes will take time. It could be 10 year or 50 years but will take a course and west will guide it towards their direction.


But that is an assumption that still needs to be proved. When Mushy threatened "loss of PA control" he was perhaps in a position to carry out his threat. Things have changed substantially over the intervening years. Talebanism is an ideology based insurgency where stakes are very high - power and absolute power.

Transformation of the society and revolution which will follow will take it further towards the goal of US geo political interest.


Large tracts west of the Indus are virtually outside of direct PA control.

I am not sure the generals retain full control over the Jihadis.


Irrelevant
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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby svinayak » 10 Nov 2010 10:50

For reference
World in Crisis
The End of the American Century
Gabriel Kolko



Ours is an age of growing chaos, of cynicism and disillusion.
As Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National
Security Adviser, put it at the beginning of 2008: “we are now
in a phase in which all of mankind is politically activated
and restless.”1 Most of the turmoil has existed from the
Sinai Peninsula to the Indian Ocean, from western China to
South Russia – a vast area. Upheavals and instability have
Introduction 3
been greatest in this immense region but scarcely restricted
to it. This increasingly turbulent world has also increasingly
unifi ed around one issue: fear or hatred – or both – of the
United States.
Capitalism is in a growing crisis and the century of American
domination is ending – perhaps it has ended already. Even in
the absence of any viable opposition, American capitalism
is tending towards committing suicide – and is taking other
nations with it.
The following chapters offer my recent thoughts on
the decline of American power and the destruction of the
institutions that are crucial to it, on NATO and the US-led
alliance, on Iran and Iraq, Israel, and the global fi nancial
structure.

The US has hardly been the only cause of most of them, and
America scarcely has a monopoly on stupidity or venality. But
even granted that international politics had been messed up for
a very long time, after World War II the role of the US became
decisive most places on the globe. Had Washington behaved
differently after 1945 the world would be very different
than it is today. In short, the “American problem” became
synonymous with the international political problem, such
that virtually everything important involving international
change is now contingent on solving it.
Since 1945 the US has poured fuel on the fi re of atavism
and irrationality, and has blocked efforts to solve the domestic
problems of countless nations. It is worth contemplating what
might have happened had it minded its own affairs and avoided
making complex situations far worse – much less undoing
efforts to reform them. I have devoted one book to America’s
Introduction 5
interventions in the Third World alone, another to the Vietnam
War, and dealt with many other cases elsewhere. While I have
been comprehensive in the continents I cover, I have here left
out many examples of US interference with the processes and
dynamics of political and economic change in many nations
and its attempts everywhere – from Latin America to Africa,
Asia, and the Middle East – to alter the direction of events in
ways both congenial to American ambitions and vital for its
economic and geopolitical interests. There are innumerable
excellent and detailed works that go much further. Still, while
I am engaging here only in description and analysis, there is
nonetheless great value in also considering alternatives to
those we are now saddled with.
While we could begin our speculation anywhere, the
situation in the Muslim world – predominantly the Middle
East but also Pakistan – is for the time being the preeminent
crisis facing the US and the world as a whole. The territorial
settlements imposed on the Middle East after 1918 were
arbitrary, unjust, and regulated entirely by the great powers
with scant regard for local conditions, religious tendencies or
desires. An astonishing ignorance prevailed among most of
the crucial decision-makers, and not just the Americans. While
Islamic infl uences and secular nationalism existed in tandem,
as did the persistence of tribalism, foreign intervention was
decisive in shaping the political and economic nature of the
entire region. It still is. At the inception – World War I and
the peace settlement that followed – the United States was
important, but Great Britain and France were decisive.
We might begin anywhere in the region but since I have
written about it before Iran offers the most convenient starting
point. Nonetheless, to have begun with Iraq or Palestine and
Israel – and I am personally quite familiar with the latter
6 World in Crisis
– would have been just as pertinent. I should make it clear
that I regard the Afghan and Iraq wars as great disasters in
American history, wars that will persist and color its politics
for years to come – unless (as I believe they are likely to) they
become too expensive and protracted in time to endure. But
there are multiple causes of America’s decline and while I
assess here what I believe to be the crucial elements of that
demise, I can scarcely claim to have covered them all.


The roots of the problem there can be
traced in large part to the way the vast region’s nations and
borders were created capriciously after World War I; in no
area was the potential for chaos – the unresolved boundaries,
and the creation of a Jewish homeland – greater than in the
inherently volatile area stretching from the Mediterranean
to South Asia, in which there are no “natural” nations and
boundaries, cultural or physical.

By attacking Iraq the US
has reopened a potential for chaos and disorder in the entire
region which exceeds, by far, the stakes which existed in
Indochina, Brazil, or any place else where the US has mucked
around. For while there were plenty of illusions surrounding
American intervention in such places, the disorder the US is
now creating in the Muslim world is in fact unprecedented.

It could have been far different had the America not tried to
control the fate of this immense region at all
.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby ShivaS » 10 Nov 2010 11:56

My my Acharya is articulating instead pasting good signs and tidings are here...

The US is basically a one night stand and as such will vacate.
Also wars can not be sustained with out plunder and or taxation. The days of Imperial colonies bearing the brunt of expensive wars of European colonial powers are over...
Vietnam, USSR Afghan wars are clear indication of this. The US training all kind of relegious fanatics the fine art of Assymetrical warfare has come back home to roost. USSR and PRC participation in Korean ANd Vietnam wer more Nuanced than US brute entry into Soviet Afghan wars , the proping of TSP and PRC as counter weight to India and USSR have all mixed into a very voltile blow back of toxic debry..

The US can not sustain any long term war, 1) Economic reasons, 2) US Public stamina 3) US is democracy all said and done unlike PRC or the Arab regimes Egypt, KSA, Iran (no Arab but fanatic nontheless).

Above all the US does not have understanding of the World, as they are nation who are accustomed to Einstien made simple or CLiff notes on India... wvwn the much vaunted Dr. Tim teaching in US naval war college does not see beyond his nose leave alone his students... future of US naval command :)

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Sanku » 10 Nov 2010 16:12

Rudradev, when you get the chance, I would highly appreciate your views on the points I put in as well.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby brihaspati » 10 Nov 2010 18:57

Well, loss of control over the western side of Indus is important. Typically it is the beginning of the end for east bankers.

My arguments have been quite for some time as follows : if the USA overwinters in AFG and goes into the thaw and summer next year, it will not be able to pull out even if it wants to. It will be a repeat of the Saigon situation - where the US marines have to stay put until the bitter end and then leave overnight. Domestic and international pressures, converge in such situation to prevent withdrawal even though control is gradually lost over the country.

AFG can no longer be ruled simply from the cities - something which was possible in the days of standardized trade routes and traditional commodities with the cities basically being choke points and tax-collection centres that can threaten passers by otherwise. The country as such produced nothing of interest for international trade except slaves, and lived off more on the populations nuisance value to the trade that flowed through its passes. But now, AFG has a much more profitable commodity, drugs, women and arms. These can bes ourced much better now from networks all around ironically because of the very development of communication and transport channels in the neighbourhood. So the entire country is a trade-route now, and simply sitting in the cities will not rule the country-side and starve the country-side.

The USA can go on supplying and propping up an AFG regime, ultimately by airflifting. But you cannot counter a whole country by supplying its cities in siege. The countryside is not dependent on the cities to fuel their insurrection. The really hard part is the dealing with ideological violence of the Islamist type - because you can only counter them with their own methods -something nearly impossible on the scale required because of self-imposed restrictions of the more civilized world.

There will come a point when some US decision makers will deem it too costly and cut losses. So USA cannot go to the sadistic level required to tackle genocidic Talebs, and cannot pull out either because of fear of loss of what has already gone into it, and the possible consequences. This is an impossible situation on the ground.

Now parking into Pakistan does not help either. There can be no social revolution in Pak that can be in US favour. If it at all happens, it will be towards a more theocratic setup like that in Iran. Now there are reasons to suspect that USA helped in the Khomeini coup against the Shah, and keeping the Iranian army lame duck until Khomeini could use the militancy of the Leftists to first capture power and then eliminate both the "unreliable" army commanders and the Marxists. The result could have appeared nicely in favour of US interest in the short term (Shah was making noises of independence and possible collaboration with the Soviets) but we all know what it has aresulted in for the long term for US interests.

The reason we fail to understand the tendency for any radicalism in Pak to go twoards a more theocratic setup, is our failure to understand the compex interweb of feudal landed interests, the army with its more elite upper levels and less elite lower ranks, and the Dawaist Islamist networks involved in running a parallel Islamic state on the ground. They have each tried to control and use the other two and in the process have ended up creating a overlapping core of interests - that is feudal, Islamist and militant at the same time. None of the formal pyramid top leadership in the three domains really have full control over this simmering core. So they pretend, and bluster -which we take as proof of their real power.

Any US parking there will almost surely lead to this core getting strengthened and US leaving that park too in no time at all. Advantage to India is definitely there if US parks there - but that is OT. Before I am accused of being overly positive about Taleb success - I would like to simply point out that Talebs operate without being under the most crucial of defeating restrictions - that of accountability to anyone. All others, in the game, USA and even the Paki army - are accountable to one or more forces - the reason they have to pretend and find third parties to do their dirty work. Talebs can do anything and everything and can take cover under their faith to carry out any atrocity and any behaviour that would draw severe coordinated action from international non-Musilm societies otherwise. This is the real source of their power - they can carry out genocide citing their right to do so provided by their faith - and which no other force can match because they have no such faith sytem which is mutually recognized as to be tolerated.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby darshhan » 10 Nov 2010 19:45

Shiv ji.Your opinion about USA parking in Pakistan is interesting.My question to you is what will be the agenda of US military which will be parked there.Will it be just to establish bases as America.I fail to see how this would be an improvement as America already operates multiple bases in Pakistan.Their intelligence assets are crawling through Pakistan in the form of CIA and private contractors.100's of special forces are already training so called Pakistani Counter terrorist forces.

If America will not be conducting operations in Pakistan after parking there(after exiting Pakistan) then I fail to see the any utility of such parking after exiting Pakistan.They already have atleast 3 to 4 military bases in pakistan.Apart from this you can also add cia/blackwater outposts.They already have some sort of presence in Pakistan.I seriously doubt that Americans would increase their signature further in Pakistan for anything other than direct operations against Taliban and other Islamist elements inside Pakistan(This again depends on whether they are granted such latitude by Pakistani Military).

Only other reason (as you yourself stated and I do agree) to increase their presence would be to safeguard Pakistan
against all sorts of threats including I assume any Indian invasion.In other words to contain India.While there may be many in American establishment who would like to see India contained , do they have the economy to see it through.And by the way most probably the increased American presence in Pakistan would galvanise islamists including not just Taliban but other factions as well.Hence instead of safeguarding Pakistan an increased American presence would most likely destabilize it even further

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2010 20:37

Darshan the possibility exists that the US will fill Pakistan with the best counter insurgency tech available and try and coax the Pakistani military to get off its India obsession. The Pakistani army has clearly indicated that "they want to feel strong" in relation to India. The problem with this is that it gets India angry with the US.

The US will have to handle this by doing (perhaps) what they did with Israel, Egypt and KSA. All these countries got some of the best US weapons systems and in a sense guaranteed the security of the Arabs against the Jews. The only problem for the US is how to handle India while bribing Pakistan. India will require bigger concessions than mere arms packages. The sort of concessions India is looking for are, technology, "more elbow room" on the world stage as well as zero terrorism from Pakistan. And zero attempts to change borders by force. Pakistan opposes every single one of these things. So far the US has always fed Pakistan and given Pakistan wiggle room, but has maintained a relative hard line on India's technology and "elbow room". And US policy has failed because Pakistan's "wiggle room" has been used for terrorism against India. India has reacted by vastly increasing threat levels against Pakistan. And the US has made no headway in Af-Pak as a direct and frankly admitted consequence of this.

The US has not been able to make Pakistan act against the Taliban. And the US has not been able to reduce Pakistani fears of India. And the US cannot hand India on a platter to Pakistan. Either the US pulls out or changes tack. The US has changed tack. It is mollifying India. India will not stop being a threat to Pakistan until India's concerns are addressed. But as the US mollifies India it will sit in Pakistan as guarantor against Indian attack. It will also start converting the Pakistan army into an ultramodern fighting force but calibrate that to keep India mollified. None of this will work, and all of it will fall apart if India attacks Pakistan. India will not attack Pakistan if Pakistan stops terrorism and violence against India. The US will hitch aid to the Pakistan army on stopping all terrorism against India or anyone else. Failure to comply will be balanced against the threat of stepping back and keeping out if India attacks in revenge.

Pakistani forces can quell the Taliban but ultimately Pakistan will have to be forced to admit Indian hegemony in the region. As long as the US itself does not admit regional Indian hegemony, Pakistan will never accept it. Once the US accepts that Pakistan will follow - no matter how reluctantly. It will be a win for India in a sense, but the US too will be cutting its losses and having its way. Pakistan will have to be forced to heel, And when it does that India will open trade with Pakistan. And China will be kept at bay.

My post may sound like wishful thinking, but this is how I see things panning out. The only thing that remains for me to say is what can go wrong, and why things should happen in this particular way and not some other way. Maybe later.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Christopher Sidor » 10 Nov 2010 21:11

There are a few assumptions over here, which need to be dispelled.

1) There are terrorist/islamist/militant organizations which are not under control of Islamabad/Pakistan.
Pakistan has never been serious about removing the various terrorist groups operating from its soil. There are sections in Pakistan which see them as "strategic assets" or "valuable levers" and so on. These Pakistani sections are not concerned about the collateral damage or the civilian damage that these groups cause in Pakistan as long as they fulfill the Pakistan geopolitical ambitions. Most likely Pakistan is making an excuse of "these elements are not under our control." You know running with the hare and the hound simultaneously.

2) America will invade Pakistan in case of another 9/11.
Fat Chance. Pakistan is some 180 million people and counting. American Army + American Marine Force strength is 550,000 + 200,000 (approximately). Even if the reserves (550000 + 40000 respectively) are thrown into the mix then also the numbers do not add up. Even if there were a 50% increase in active and reserves then also it will not be possible for America to invade or occupy Pakistan.
America has other obligations which US has around the world, namely East Asia, middle east, etc. America is also going through a very bad economic and fiscal situation. Bush could spend a billion dollars a month on Iraq. Obama will not be able to.
The only thing that America can do is carry out bombing runs or reduce Pakistan to a state of Somalia/Afghanistan. We all know that how much writ of America runs in Somalia or Afghanistan. We also know how useful these bombings are. In spite of bombing Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, etc after the Nairobi bombings Alqeda was able to launch 9/11.

3) Pakistan will fragment due to its own internal reasons or due to external factors.
Oh this is song we have been hearing for a decade. Like how Pakistan is a failed state and so on. It has limped on and on. And it will limp on and on. There are too many vested interests which will not allow Pakistan to fail or fragment. Saudi Arabia and other gulf sheikdoms which depend on the Paki nukes and Paki manpower as the ultimate guarantee. China which wants Pakistan, so that it can check India. And off course the west, which will utilize Pakistan as a hedge against a future India and to access Central Asia. We have seen these interests prevent the elimination of Pakistan in 1971, in 2000-01 and will see it in the future also.

4) America will remain involved in Af-PAK even after a withdrawal.
If the American capture Osama or kill Osama or Osama dies due to natural causes, the American involvement in Af-PAK will decline dramatically. We can then see an aloof america, the same way it was aloof in the 1990s decade, w.r.t to India-Pak relationship. It will still work to prevent a collapse of Pakistan. Not because of nuclear weapons but due to the factors outlined in point number 3. It will still be pally-pally with India, pretend to be its best friend and what not.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby ramana » 10 Nov 2010 21:33

RD, The newspapers are reporting that Afghan timeline has been extended. And note this revelation after the India visit.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby svinayak » 10 Nov 2010 21:40

Christopher Sidor wrote:
2) America will invade Pakistan in case of another 9/11.
Fat Chance. Pakistan is some 180 million people and counting. American Army + American Marine Force strength is 550,000 + 200,000 (approximately). Even if the reserves (550000 + 40000 respectively) are thrown into the mix then also the numbers do not add up. Even if there were a 50% increase in active and reserves then also it will not be possible for America to invade or occupy Pakistan.
America has other obligations which US has around the world, namely East Asia, middle east, etc. America is also going through a very bad economic and fiscal situation. Bush could spend a billion dollars a month on Iraq. Obama will not be able to.
The only thing that America can do is carry out bombing runs or reduce Pakistan to a state of Somalia/Afghanistan. We all know that how much writ of America runs in Somalia or Afghanistan. We also know how useful these bombings are. In spite of bombing Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, etc after the Nairobi bombings Alqeda was able to launch 9/11.


This entire thought of US invading Pakistan is a form of false flag also promoted by some US policy makers and even Brezinski. But this has no basis on what is possible and reality.
Countries such as this have been led into crisis and they force a revolution to change the society. It may take some 30 years to acheive this.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby ramana » 11 Nov 2010 01:54

Read this post and think a lot about it.

viewtopic.php?p=976548#p976548

India can do much more to seize the momnet and be a great balancer role for the world.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby shiv » 11 Nov 2010 07:07

It might actually be possible to "game" this topic by assigning points to all the players concerned:
Final scores in blue at bottom

A. US pulls out completely from Afghanistan and Pakistan

Score for USA
Loss of control over Af-Pak: -1
Ceding of control to an expansionist China -1
Saving US money and lives +1
TOTAL -1

Score for Afghanistan:
Taliban come back -1
Pakistan exerts hegemony over Afghanistan -1
TOTAL -2

Score for Pakistan
US funding and arms dry up -1
US guarantees against India dry up -1
Chinese engagement increases +1
TOTAL -1

Score for India
US support for Pakistan falls +1
Chinese control over Pakistan increases -1
Possible increase in terrorism -1
TOTAL -1

Score for China:
US moves out +1
Increased Jihadi activity via Af-Pak-Xinjiang -1
Increased friction with India -1
TOTAL -1

Score for Islamists:
Free access to Afghanistan +1
Loss of funding from US via Pakistan -1
Opposition from China, Russia and India -1
TOTAL -1

B. USA makes token pullout from Afghanistan and "remains engaged" with Pakistan as promised since 9-11

Score for USA:
Reduction in combat loses and military investment +1
Retention of control over Pakistan +1
China and India kept in Check +1
India antagonised as Pakistan is supported -1
Possible loss of direct control in Afghanistan -1
TOTAL +1

Score for Afghanistan
US does not totally pull out: +1
Chaos and uncertainty increase -1
TOTAL 0

Score for Pakistan
US funds and arms continue: +1
China kept out -1
India kept at bay +1
US controls Pakistan -1
Total 0

Score for India
US funds Paki army -1
US puts pressure to stop terror: +1
Chinese spread thwarted by US presence +1
TOTAL +1

Score for China
Islamists remain in check +1
Continued lack of control over Pak/Gwadar -1
TOTAL 0

Score for Islamists
No free access to Af-Pak, India or Xinjiang -1
Funding (bribery) of specific groups continues +1
TOTAL 0

Final scores:
1) US pulls out:
US -1
Afghanistan -2
Pakistan -1
India -1
China -1
Islamists -1

2) US "stays engaged"
US +1
Afghanistan 0
Pakistan 0
India +1
China 0
Islamists 0


By the scoring I have used the US stating engaged is a "win-win" for all.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby ramana » 11 Nov 2010 07:14

Good analysis. Using simple math you have shown us all the best option.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby darshhan » 11 Nov 2010 14:34

Absolutely some kind of American presence has to be there.Taliban cannot be allowed to return back.In fact even Russia would benefit from American presence in Afghanistan.The growing Heroin epidemic in Russia require that it cooperate with US in Afghanistan.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby ramana » 11 Nov 2010 22:03

darshann, You should come to those conclusion using shiv's summary. Otherwise it will look like "Who will bell the cat?"

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby RajeshA » 11 Nov 2010 23:52

USA will try to get Russia in into Afghanistan with full armor and strength. It solves many problems of USA though again USA may have to concede other things like Oil & Gas pipelines, etc. but over Central Asian energy, USA has long lost the game to China and Russia, so it is not a big concession.

Russia is worried about the drugs coming into Russia from Afghanistan, as well as the Islamic fundamentalism with which Russia would have cope with, may be even much more than India. So Russia's national interests are on the line, with what happens in Afghanistan.

USA would try to bind Russia into the Western security structure or into a partnership in the near future. One can see Russia's changing stance in Iran, etc. Also Karzai was surprised that the last drugs raid within Afghanistan had many Russian troops taking part alongside Americans.

So IMHO, within an year's time, we would be hearing from Obama and Medvedev that Russia is going back into Afghanistan.

America is going to be concentrating far more on the Southern border with Pakistan. Pakistan will see how it roasts in the slow fire.

So I voted 3.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby darshhan » 12 Nov 2010 01:06

RajeshA wrote:USA will try to get Russia in into Afghanistan with full armor and strength. It solves many problems of USA though again USA may have to concede other things like Oil & Gas pipelines, etc. but over Central Asian energy, USA has long lost the game to China and Russia, so it is not a big concession.

Russia is worried about the drugs coming into Russia from Afghanistan, as well as the Islamic fundamentalism with which Russia would have cope with, may be even much more than India. So Russia's national interests are on the line, with what happens in Afghanistan.

USA would try to bind Russia into the Western security structure or into a partnership in the near future. One can see Russia's changing stance in Iran, etc. Also Karzai was surprised that the last drugs raid within Afghanistan had many Russian troops taking part alongside Americans.

So IMHO, within an year's time, we would be hearing from Obama and Medvedev that Russia is going back into Afghanistan.

America is going to be concentrating far more on the Southern border with Pakistan. Pakistan will see how it roasts in the slow fire.

So I voted 3.


I am voting 3 because I do believe there will be some kind of American presence in Af-Pak region for a long time.

On the other hand India and other countries like Russia and central asian stans would do well if they had a plan B in case Americans withdrew from the region.The best course of action in this case according to me would be establish contact with various anti Taliban factions instead of just relying on President Karzai.We should make sure that these factions are not short on money and other support.

Taliban should never be allowed to set foot in Kabul again.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Pratyush » 12 Nov 2010 11:29

All this crystal gazing is a difficult business. The war has been allowed to drift for a very long time. With in compatible goals and the present mess is a reflection of that. Obama may be a man with very keen intelect. Perhaps he understands how to win the war. But until now we have not seen any eveidence of him or his team coming up with a winning strategy.

Other then bribing the TSP more. With questionable results and flowery rethoric " the cancer is in TSP". With no ability to administer the neaded chemo therepy.

So I will submit that US will leave AF-PAk without a face saving exit.

JMT

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby RajeshA » 12 Nov 2010 14:19

I would request BRFites to ponder the following:
  1. What are the differences between USA and Россия in Central Asia?
  2. What are Russia's national interests in Afghanistan?
  3. Does Russia need boots on the ground in Afghanistan in order to take care of those interests, or can they be taken care from afar?
  4. Should USA leave Afghanistan, and the UN mission in Afghanistan expire, what international mechanisms would be available to Russia in order to intervene in Afghanistan, should such an intervention be deemed necessary? Or would Russia avail of the current UN framework for Afghanistan in order to intervene?
  5. How would USA look upon such an intervention?

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Rudradev » 15 Nov 2010 09:56

Sanku wrote:So considering that we are not ready to go into Afg and hold it, we need some external power to do it for us. Russia was the best of course, but considering that they are not available, even US could be a useful tool to that end.


Sanku,

I agree with much of your assessment.

However, just in the interest of playing Ravan's advocate (Jai Shambhu!)

It also willy nilly brings them in contact (and conflict) with China, through Pak actions in Northern Areas and the resultant effect of pumping energy through Chinese route into Paki jihadi structure. OTOH their departure just frees up the area to be Chinese playground.


I'm really not so sure about the whole "Chinese playground" bit. I wonder what will happen if China actually takes its bat-ball and goes wading into that playground, which has given superior powers a bloody nose (and worse) in the past.

Today we tend to think of China as some kind of unstoppable force. They are doing everything right. They hold huge amounts of US government debt. They have successfully stolen all of America's manufacturing jobs. With their vast reserves of cash they are buying up great chunks of Africa, Latin America and Asia, including copper deposits in Afghanistan and gas reserves in Burma. They are growing at 10% without visible signs of inflation, export-killing currency appreciation or any such stressors. They are setting up schools to train Western management professionals in Mandarin so as to overcome the language barrier. They are modernizing the PLA, PLAN and PLAAF and building more missiles than anyone can count. They are proliferating nukes to Pakistan, Iran and North Korea, and possibly Sudan/Bangladesh/Burma as well. They are building a "string of pearls" around India etc. etc.

The fact is, China isn't unstoppable. They aren't even the most powerful nation on earth today, and the most powerful nation is doing its damndest to pull out of AfPak and go home without facing overt humiliation. China simply hasn't put its feet in the wrong place and faced the consequences, yet.

Going into Shiv-pisko mode for a moment, I think we tend to see China as the implacable demon of our nightmares because of the trauma they inflicted on us in 1962. It is like a child getting slapped by another child while the whole neighbourhood watches, and not being able to fight back effectively. From that moment on, the child who was slapped is likely to imbue the aggressor with all kinds of fantastical powers and attributes. If he could give me a jhapad and I was helpless, then he must be Superman.

Be that as it may. How will China actually expand into AfPak to fill the vacuum left by the US? Will it go in militarily? I hope it will... a PLA presence in Afghanistan is not going to be tolerated by either the Talibs or the NA, no matter how much the Pakis like it, and in fact that situation may expand the jihad much more aggressively into Xinjiang and points east. Indeed, it will maximize some major stresses within TSP, especially within the Pakistan army, between the pro-jihadi camp (who will be flush with triumphalism following the "defeat of America"), the pro-Western camp and the ones who are content to accept Chinese suzerainty for Pakistan. Not to mention, even if the whole TSPA unites behind Chinese presence in Afghanistan, they will have a much harder time making Afghanistan safe for China than they have had making it dangerous for America.

OTOH, if China does not go in militarily, how exactly will it exercise its influence over Afghanistan? Hu's father is going to actually extract copper from the ground in Afghanistan and bring it to China, in the chaotic security situation that will inevitably follow in the wake of an American departure? Even the Americans, with the extent of direct influence they have in Afghanistan now, haven't been able to capitalize on any of the nation's mineral wealth. How will the Chinese do it?



***

Shiv, your gaming has produced a very elegant (and broadly acceptable) argument for the US staying in Afghanistan being the best outcome for Indian interests.


B. USA makes token pullout from Afghanistan and "remains engaged" with Pakistan as promised since 9-11...

Score for India
US funds Paki army -1
US puts pressure to stop terror: +1
Chinese spread thwarted by US presence +1

TOTAL +1


I would only caution that this represents the cards that are dealt to India at the moment of US deciding to remain engaged rather than leave AfPak. Their actual utility to us depends on how we play them, and how we play around others playing their own cards. For example, the actual utility of "US putting pressure on Pak to stop terror" is not that simple to estimate. The Headley drama is one indication of this; many more Headleys may be operating right now, on Indian soil, as undetected double/triple/sextuple agents for the ISI and its proxies. As long as we have to follow the US' lead in AfPak in exchange for guarantees on handling our terrorism concerns, we may be blinded to these Headleys.

So whether that is a +1, or a 0, or a -n, depends not only on how India plays the card, but on how much leeway the US feels it can allow Pakistan, at any given time, to address what Hillary Clinton has called its "legitimate concerns about India and about securing a friendly Afghanistan".

That is, if the cessation of terrorism against India by Pakistan is something we are essentially handing over to the authority of the US to ensure... then it is almost as if there is no longer a Pakistani hand on the terror tap against India, but a US hand on the Pakistani terror tap against India. The + can become a - very quickly, and simply by our acquiescence to the status-quo equation, it is a constraint on our strategic flexibility.

Also, the issue of "Chinese Spread thwarted by US presence"... see my reply to Sanku above. If the US is clean bowled, China must come out to bat next. Either they will have to send the PLA into Afghanistan and establish a direct military presence, or they will have to get the TSPA to do it for them. The TSPA cannot make Afghanistan safe for Chinese exploitation simply by sending in Talibans (the black-turbans are ok for some purposes, like preventing the rise of a stable and independent Afghan state which would be anti-Pakistan; but not capable enough or reliable enough for this purpose.) So then the TSPA would itself have to go into an Afghanistan which is well-prepared and well-practiced at insurrection, and which hates the Pakis more than ever... even in the Pakhtun sections.

The Chinese MUST act proactively in one way or the other, either themselves or via the TSPA; sitting on their thumbs after the US leaves means allowing an extremely chaotic and uncertain security situation to propagate on their Western flank, with likely repercussions in Xinjiang. The Chinese will be forced to show their cards when the US leaves. And that might actually be a very good thing for India.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Rudradev » 15 Nov 2010 10:00

Pratyush wrote:All this crystal gazing is a difficult business. The war has been allowed to drift for a very long time. With in compatible goals and the present mess is a reflection of that. Obama may be a man with very keen intelect. Perhaps he understands how to win the war. But until now we have not seen any eveidence of him or his team coming up with a winning strategy.

Other then bribing the TSP more. With questionable results and flowery rethoric " the cancer is in TSP". With no ability to administer the neaded chemo therepy.

So I will submit that US will leave AF-PAk without a face saving exit.

JMT


Pratyush ji, the poll isn't about crystal gazing to say what is the most likely outcome of America's Af-Pak adventure. It is to try and evaluate what is the best possible outcome from the Indian POV, of America's AfPak adventure, given the way things are now.

Even if we decide that that outcome that is best for India isn't the outcome that is most likely to happen, given present circumstances, we can then think about what India could do to shift the equlibirum in the right direction, and increase the chances that a desirable outcome will ensue.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Rudradev » 15 Nov 2010 10:08

ramana wrote:RD, The newspapers are reporting that Afghan timeline has been extended. And note this revelation after the India visit.


Ramana, interesting point. No doubt the GOI gave Obama an earful about the stupidity of announcing a withdrawal deadline, which could only be exceeded by the stupidity of sticking to one.

However, I think it far more likely that the decision to extend the deadline was made in response to the Nov 2 elections. An expected right-turn by the Obama govt in response to the way the wind is blowing.

Remember, the whole "2011 deadline" business was announced by Obama primarily as a political sop to his starry-eyed "core voters", the leftist "MoveOn.Org" democrats whom he wanted to keep happy while he compromised on other aspects of the "Hope & Change" platform during his first two years. It didn't do Obama any good... those leftist Democrats stayed home on Nov 2 in protest against Obama's failure to solve the economic crisis while keeping all social programs functioning, and also his failure to create France-style universal healthcare in America. Result: GOP is back in control of the Congress. Now Obama is telling his starry-eyed core to go to hell.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby Rudradev » 15 Nov 2010 10:14

Additional thought on my post to Sanku and Shiv. Is the PLA's presence in the Northern Areas, (among other things) a training ground for a much bigger deployment in post-US-withdrawal Afghanistan?

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby KLNMurthy » 15 Nov 2010 12:36

The question was, which outcome is best for India, not what we think the outcome will be. I voted for 3--continued US presence in AfPak.

The reason is that in the near-term, we need US troops both as a force against Taliban, as well as hostages that will check the US from blindly and stupidly giving Pak everything they demand (i.e., Kashmir followed by Mughalistan). My reasoning is that Pakis being Pakis, cannot help attacking American interests in the region, and there is only so much GOTUS can do to cover up Paki attacks and hide them from stateside political community and media, though they have tried and had a certain amount of success at maintaining the fiction that Pakis are allies. US domestic politics can't completely ignore Paki attacks on US troops and interests and will force GOTUS to place a check on how much Pak is appeased.

Pakis' dream scenario is that US will leave Afghanistan, preferably in disgrace, and will leave them "in charge" as unsupervised or lightly-supervised class monitor, with free flow of weapons and funds. That is the scenario of (1) and (2) and carries the maximum price for India. Under (3) there is no incremental price to India due to the continued presence of US, as far as I can see.

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Re: Analyzing Realistic Outcomes of America's Af-Pak Adventu

Postby KLNMurthy » 15 Nov 2010 12:46

shiv wrote:Darshan the possibility exists that the US will fill Pakistan with the best counter insurgency tech available and try and coax the Pakistani military to get off its India obsession. The Pakistani army has clearly indicated that "they want to feel strong" in relation to India. The problem with this is that it gets India angry with the US.

The US will have to handle this by doing (perhaps) what they did with Israel, Egypt and KSA. All these countries got some of the best US weapons systems and in a sense guaranteed the security of the Arabs against the Jews. The only problem for the US is how to handle India while bribing Pakistan. India will require bigger concessions than mere arms packages. The sort of concessions India is looking for are, technology, "more elbow room" on the world stage as well as zero terrorism from Pakistan. And zero attempts to change borders by force. Pakistan opposes every single one of these things. So far the US has always fed Pakistan and given Pakistan wiggle room, but has maintained a relative hard line on India's technology and "elbow room". And US policy has failed because Pakistan's "wiggle room" has been used for terrorism against India. India has reacted by vastly increasing threat levels against Pakistan. And the US has made no headway in Af-Pak as a direct and frankly admitted consequence of this.

The US has not been able to make Pakistan act against the Taliban. And the US has not been able to reduce Pakistani fears of India. And the US cannot hand India on a platter to Pakistan. Either the US pulls out or changes tack. The US has changed tack. It is mollifying India. India will not stop being a threat to Pakistan until India's concerns are addressed. But as the US mollifies India it will sit in Pakistan as guarantor against Indian attack. It will also start converting the Pakistan army into an ultramodern fighting force but calibrate that to keep India mollified. None of this will work, and all of it will fall apart if India attacks Pakistan. India will not attack Pakistan if Pakistan stops terrorism and violence against India. The US will hitch aid to the Pakistan army on stopping all terrorism against India or anyone else. Failure to comply will be balanced against the threat of stepping back and keeping out if India attacks in revenge.

Pakistani forces can quell the Taliban but ultimately Pakistan will have to be forced to admit Indian hegemony in the region. As long as the US itself does not admit regional Indian hegemony, Pakistan will never accept it. Once the US accepts that Pakistan will follow - no matter how reluctantly. It will be a win for India in a sense, but the US too will be cutting its losses and having its way. Pakistan will have to be forced to heel, And when it does that India will open trade with Pakistan. And China will be kept at bay.

My post may sound like wishful thinking, but this is how I see things panning out. The only thing that remains for me to say is what can go wrong, and why things should happen in this particular way and not some other way. Maybe later.

I am surprised to read this. Obsession with India is a fundamental defining characteristic of Pakistan, and nothing short of the elimination of Pakistan as a concept will change that. Pakistan will never accept Indian hegemony as long as Pakistan exists. All the angst and despair that we witness in paki media is just rationalization by defeatists and will disappear the moment they think it is feasible to take Kashmir and create Mughalistan.


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