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

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

Postby Sanku » 15 Nov 2010 15:32

Rudradev wrote:I agree with much of your assessment.


Thanks a whole lot RD.

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


So be it (Jai Bhawani)


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.


First off to be frank, I had not thought through the "Chinese playground" in the detail you have gone into, when I first wrote that. However what I expected (and expect) to happen is that TSPA will rule Afg by proxy for Chinese. The Chinese interests to begin with are not likely to be large -- I expect that they will take over the humanitarian projects that are being currently carried out by India and some other countries (limited efforts) after the Indians et al leave and carry out their own version of humanitarian projects.

This includes running guns, opium etc, providing boots on the ground for protecting intel and other strongholds, tapping into and breaking the Uigyur network (and provide Taliban the quid pro quo of supporting their rule in Afg) extending the highway from Iran to China (double quick this time) etc etc.

That should keep them occupied for year 2-5 roughly. They are most likely to try and pretend a peaceful rise first, followed by entrenchment, and multiple use of proxies.

So as you so perceptively linked up, the efforts in NA and future role in Afg could nicely dovetail.

As before, it would not change the world in one shot, but will increase the Chinese influence hugely.

However Afg as a region will continue to remain a hell hole with necessary pockets of Pax Sinica for overall Chinese objective. This is a model, that I think Chinese are adept at, in NK, Mynamar, Darfur and other such hell holes.

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

Postby shiv » 15 Nov 2010 16:45

Rudradev wrote: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.


:rotfl: Brilliant analysis. Spot on!


Rudradev wrote: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.
<snipsnipsnip>
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?


Here is how I see this.

Reading about various things that China does and does not do I found that one of the reasons that China hesitated about going through Burma was the "security" aspect - i.e who is going to keep the route safe from being cut by various interested parties.

As regards the Thailand canal - one consideration was cost - the figure I recall offhand is 25 billion (US Dollahs of course)

With respect to Gwadar - security became the biggest issue and China pulled out because of that. The Chinese are looking both for value for money and security. Value for money and security are mostly mutually exclusive. Pakistan is a serious security problem. It is a huge country where everyone puts profit before country and the nation has survived on highway robbery and highway rent collection for decades - even centuries in some areas. Only the RAPE class like to talk as if Pakistan is safe and open for Chinese and I notice that the same snake-oil language that Pakis reserve for the US is used for China as well - as long as China puts in the money.

The only country in the world that throws money at a problem is the US - because the US prints that money. The Chinese are much more circumspect about money and are very cautious about an open ended commitment of troops in a foreign "security" campaign.

As I see it - as long as the US is sitting in Pakistan, China will not get a free route into Pakistan. But even if the US goes China will not be able to "move in" to Pakjab with troops and all without having to commit huge numbers with long logistics lines. If China does do that Pakistan will give the Chinese very good experience in building and maintaining a long land logistic line with the security nightmare that goes along with it. I have every reason to suspect that Pakis will want money for every kilometer of road or rail built by the Chinese or else "things will start going wrong". It won't be the Chinese providing security for 2000 km of rail/road in Pakistan - it will be Pakis. And that can be done only if Pakistan is stable, which it is not.

But supposing the US left, and China the decided to build a rail through Pakistan and reached agreements with Pakistan for security, I am not at all sure that India can do anything to stop it. India could hinder it by covert ops. The Chinese will have their asses kicked in Afghanistan. The terrain is unsuitable for easy and lasting military victories.The Chinese are already suppressing jihad in Xinjiang - adding Afghanistan to that is like a spark in a petrol tank. A severe headache, at least.

There are several "if"s here. If the US leaves. If China feels it is OK to start building such a line. If construction can be given security. Karachi is out of control so its either "If Karachi can be stabilised" or else it is "If security can be guaranteed in Gwadar" If all goes well I think this is a project that would take 15 years to bear fruit. What will India be like in 15 years? What will the US be like? What will Pakistan be like?

If every party - the US, India, China, Russia etc count what is likely to provide the greatest long term regional security I don't think I would be difficult to reach the conclusion that the US staying in Pakistan would provide the best near term outcome. As per my assessment - the US cannot sit in the region forever without allowing India a bigger role. India will take some sort of bigger role whether the US allows it or not - but as I see it it will be in the interest of the US to recognize India's bigger role. If the US pulls out - Indian ocean security itself for ships going to Western nations could be put at risk, with both Iran and the Taliban having a free hand - and with the US in Diego Garcia alone. India will take on a bigger role by itself in that event. But if the US sits in Pakistan and allows India space - the US can have its cake and eat it too.

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

Postby Sanku » 15 Nov 2010 17:20

It would be in US interest to allow and encourage India to rapidly bulk up its role in Afg, in all manners possible. (Training, more strongholds, airstrips guarded and run by Indians) -- at the very least India can take up Air sanitization ops (say) and free up their A/F from a presence there (apart from running drones and or hired transport)

It needs to encourage supply lines from India (air supply through Pvt operators)

India needs to do everything in Afg other than combat ops (because that may hurt Paki sensibility you see)

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

Postby ramana » 15 Nov 2010 21:41

Rudradev wrote:...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.
....


Actually the trauma is with the political section and not the military nor the bureaucarcy. The reason is the PRC declared the ceasefire and unilateral withdrawl just as the Indian Army had gone on the counter offensive. Further the IAF was not used in the fight. So in military terms it was gaint skrimish. The Indian Army and the forces know that and their spirit was not broken. See the 1965 and 1971 wars which were stalemate and resounding victory. It takes a generation ~30 years to get rid of the malaise. See the Vietnam syndrom in US. In FSU, they distintegrated in less than a decade after Afghan withdrawl.

On the political side it was a surprise and led to cognitive dissonance: consulting Galbarith about using IAF, seeking massive aid with US etc.. Silly exercises afterwards with RAF and USAF. They had no stakes in India.

However LBS (during 1965 Nathu La goats incident), Mrs G( 1967 Nathui La arty duel) and Rajiv Gandhi(Sumdrong Chu and Checker Board) did overcome the trauma but after the double assassinations the grip has weakened.

To compound the image, the PRC tested their nukes two years after 1962 and thus foreclosed a conventional fight. Its like the goonda beating you with a lathi and when you are getting ready to retaliate he fires his gun in the air.

----------

Sanku India needs to offer a credible plan for stability to let TSP de-convolution. Right now the fears of TSP breakdown are too many and hence in the interests of others to prop them up.

The biggest is how to keep TSPA forces image intact after the de-convolution.

I am using complex variables analogy of convolution and de-convolution.

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

Postby darshhan » 16 Nov 2010 18:53

Wired article points to a Prolonged presence of Americans in Afghanistan.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/11 ... n-in-2014/
Remember how the U.S. got its military out of Iraq in 2010? Us neither. But on Friday in Lisbon, NATO is going to announce a light at the end of the tunnel in Afghanistan, set to flicker in 2014. Only just like Iraq, it won’t actually mean the decade-old war will end.

But that’s not the message that the Obama administration is sending in the press. Facing a protracted, unpopular war, President Obama will give his NATO colleagues a plan to start withdrawing U.S. forces in July and “ending the American combat mission there by 2014,” the New York Times reports. Blink and you’ll miss it, but the key word there is combat. The U.S. does much more in Afghanistan than just fight the Taliban, like training Afghan soldiers and police. And after 2014 passes, they’ll continue doing just that.

Lieutenant General William Caldwell, who oversees the training of Afghan forces, made that explicit last week. During a conference call with bloggers on Tuesday, Caldwell said that just because Karzai wants Afghan forces taking charge of security duties by the end of 2014, that “doesn’t mean that there will still not be coalition forces here in support of them.” In other words, this war is going to continue for a long, looooong time. And no matter what he tells reporters, that probably suits Afghan President Hamid Karzai pretty well.


In other words, the gradual process of withdrawing 100,000 troops that begins in July 2011 won’t conclude in 2014. Some unspecified number of U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan, perhaps even in combat roles supporting Afghan troops if the Afghans get overwhelmed — much like in Iraq. “Iraq is a pretty decent blueprint for how to transition in Afghanistan,” an anonymous U.S. official told the Times.

That means maximum flexibility for U.S. military commanders in setting the pace of troop reductions, just as they want. In August, General David Petraeus told Danger Room that after July 2011, he’s inclined to move troops from less-dangerous to more-dangerous parts of the country, rather than pulling them out of Afghanistan outright. Even after 2014, under the emerging Afghanistan plan, Petraeus or his successor wouldn’t have to send them all home. That is, if Karzai doesn’t insist on putting the U.S. on a stricter schedule.

Over the weekend, Karzai told the Washington Post he wants NATO to scale back its military presence significantly, ending Special Operations Forces “night raids” on Afghan homes and becoming less visible in Afghan cities and villages. NATO troops should become something of a border protection force, keeping insurgents and terrorists from crossing the Pakistan border. That essentially reverses Petraeus’ campaign plan, which has accelerated raids by elite forces to degrade the Taliban.

Unsurprisingly, the Post reports that Petraeus feels Karzai is undermining him to the point where his command might be “untenable.” It’s not the first rift with Karzai. Within a month of Petraeus’ arrival in Afghanistan, Karzai blasted the U.S. for a Helmand rocket attack that apparently killed civilians — before the U.S. had a chance to investigate what happened.

But if Obama isn’t going as far as he appears toward actually ending the war, neither is Karzai. Nowhere in Karzai’s Post interview does he call for the U.S. to actually leave Afghanistan. “We’d like to have a long-term relationship with America, a substantial relationship with America, that’s what the Afghan people want,” Karzai said instead. “But we’d like the Afghan countryside — villages, homes, towns — not to be so overwhelmed with the military presence.”

It’s an understandable hedge for Karzai. Force the U.S. out and the Taliban might kill him; hug the U.S. too tightly and Afghans who badly want peace become alienated. That’s why he’s advocated transitioning lead security responsibility to Afghan forces by 2014 all year. The plan NATO embraces on Friday will largely be Karzai’s plan.

The odd man out is Petraeus. However open-ended the Karzai-NATO plan for transition actually is, Karzai made clear this weekend that he’s going to act more as a critic of ongoing military operations than a partner. Petraeus is unlikely to advocate any accelerated bug-out of Afghanistan. But with Karzai loudly dismissing Petraeus’ Afghanistan strategy, the general may find there’s a limit to what he can accomplish. And that might compel both Afghans and Americans to ask if there shouldn’t be a firmer deadline to end the war than the one 2014 currently represents.

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

Postby Sanku » 16 Nov 2010 23:02

ramana wrote:Sanku India needs to offer a credible plan for stability to let TSP de-convolution. Right now the fears of TSP breakdown are too many and hence in the interests of others to prop them up..


That is true, Ramana-ji, the onus is indeed on us to move the cheese.

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

Postby RajeshA » 16 Nov 2010 23:17

X-Posting from Managing Chinese Threat Thread

Published on Nov 17, 2010
By M.K. Bhadrakumar
Obama cleaves Asian rift: Asia Times Online
A meeting of foreign ministers from Russia, India and China on Monday confirms Obama's tidings that the US foothold in Asia is planted on firm ground. With the strengthening of US ties to Russia and India, and the aggravation of tensions in US-China relationship the backdrop in Wuhan, the ancient city on the banks of the Yangtze River, it was the Russia-India-China (RIC) triangle on which fissures were opening up.
Thanks to the "reset" with the US, Russia hopes to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2011; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has invited Russia to join its missile defense project for Europe; and Russia is about to partner NATO in Afghanistan.


If Russia enters the Afghanistan Arena fully armored in tandem with NATO/USA, USA can reroute its supplies through Russia, the ones that can be transported over land, and if USA wants to fly to Afghanistan from the Indian Ocean, they can use the direct air corridor from India to Afghanistan (PoK is disputed). That gives USA the freedom to stay in Afghanistan as long as they want without needing to listen to Pakistan.


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