X-Posting from TSP ThreadRudradev writes:
To me it's all about the money.
Total cost of the Afghan war, 2001-2011: approximately $444 Billion to the US exchequer.
This has been with "fighting on the cheap". Getting the Northern Alliance to do the fighting on the ground, initially, with only air support from ISAF. Counting on the Pakis for intelligence and for security along the Paki side of the Af-Pak border.
Results: No control over Afghan territory except for Kabul, a few other urban areas and the perimeters of various NATO bases. Northern/Western Afghanistan in the hands of warlords who must be allowed to cultivate and sell opium in exchange for their temporary cooperation. Southern/Eastern Afghanistan in the hands of Haqqanis, Hekmatyar and various Taliban leaders. Even Kabul is not secure: US embassy and political leaders can be targeted at will by Haqqanis.
In addition some $20 Billion has been spent by the US in aid to the Pakis.
On BRF, there are two main arguments as to why this expenditure of $444 B + $20 B has been such a total loss:
1) US should never have trusted the Pakis. They should have attacked and destroyed the Pakis because they were the root of the problem, instead of invading Afghanistan with Pakis as "allies."
Maybe so. But stop and think for a minute. It cost the US $444B over ten years to get almost nowhere in Afghanistan.
For $444B spent on the Afghan war effort, the US has been able to get rid of one ragtag Taliban government from Kabul in 2001, and secure some logistical bases for aircraft, marines, bredators etc. That's all.
For the $20B given to Pakistan, at least there has been some better ROI. Many Al-Qaeda leaders, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, have been rendered by Pakistan. Drone attacks, allowed by the Pakistan government, have killed many leaders and cadres of anti-US Islamist groups in Pakistan.
Also, OBL was killed in Pakistan. Though this did not happen with the cooperation of the Paki govt, it could be argued that US intelligence networks in Pakistan (which could only be cultivated in an atmosphere created by $20B in aid) were critical to getting OBL. Net net, there have been no successful attacks on US soil from Pakistan (and many attacks foiled while being planned in Pakistan) since 2001. Net net, the US has some idea (however limited or incomplete) of where Pakistan's crown jewels are and who is responsible for them.
Has there been a downside? Of course. The Taliban, Haqqanis and Hekmatyar continue to fight and kill US forces in Afghanistan, only because of the safe havens and facilities provided by the ISI in Pakistan. Even $444 B to Afghanistan war effort, plus $20B to Pakistan, have brought the US to a losing stalemate where it apparently cannot do much about this situation. It has to absorb things like Raymond Davis, Embassy Attack, Rabbani etc. and retaliate only with harsh words of protest.
We on BRF think that the US has a better option: attack Pakistan, with B2s or daisy cutters or boots on the ground or all these things at once. Fight a war to destroy the TSPA/ISI and gain control of Pakistan. We think that somehow the expense that the US incurs in this process... not only of defeating TSPA/ISI in open conflict, not only of fighting all the 16 million armed jihadis scattered around Pakistan, but of managing an aftermath that includes securing the crown jewels with zero error and establishing a functioning government to take charge of 180 million Islamized c***tiyas... will be justified by the fruits that the US will reap IF it succeeds.
First, this is because we haven't given any thought to what the expense actually will be. If it was $444B over ten years to defeat a ragtag Taliban army and secure a few bases in Afghanistan (there is still no stable national government in Afghanistan, even with a much smaller population than Pakistan.) What will it cost, in Pakistan, for the US to defeat a much better conventional armed force, to defeat a much larger non-conventional fighting force of Tanzeems, to establish a functioning central government over the vast defeated population as an endgame, and to do all this without any chance of a nuke going missing and turning up in a Western city? Will it be 4X the cost of the Afghan war so far? 5X? 10X? Are we looking at a war effort of $2-4 Trillion?
But that's not all. Even if the US had $2-4 Trillion to spend on this, what guarantee that it will succeed? The US has spent $444B on the war in Afghanistan... not a SUCCESSFUL war in Afghanistan, just a war. Is it worth spending 5X, 10X that much on a similar war in Pakistan with a similar degree of "success" for the outcome? How much will the US have to spend for a "guaranteed to succeed" war in Pakistan? 10 Trillion? 20 Trillion? And what do they get at the end of the day?
Seriously... Unkil's pockets are not infinitely deep. In fact they are stretched very thin already. Even with another attack in the mainland US (let alone Haqqani prickles in Kabul) there is NO chance of the US going to war against Pakistan... they didn't do it in 2001, when their economy was better off than it is now. Today they know the Pakis to be snakes; yet, as we can see, most of the "War on Terror" successes owe more to the $20B they spent on aid to these Paki snakes than to the $444 B they spent on occupying Afghanistan!!
In fact, looked at objectively it makes sense for Unkil to give Pakistan $3B a year in annual aid for another 100 years, as long as they can do a face-saving pullout from Afghanistan and get a guarantee of no more terrorist attacks on US soil. It is still less expensive than even the most optimistic scenario of attacking Pakistan militarily.
That's all there is. Unkil won't attack Pakistan because Unkil can't afford to fight a war with Pakistan and sustain it towards a reasonable chance of a favourable endgame. They don't have money. They are kadkaa.
2) This brings us to the second argument. "But what about Iraq?? Unkil could have afforded to fight the AfPak war properly (by making kheema of Pakistan) if they had not been distracted by Iraq no??"
Actually, I'm not so sure about this. The total cost of the Iraq war was more than Afghanistan... $806 B. But I will argue that in terms of serving America's economic and geostrategic interests, Iraq was a MUCH more successful war than Afghanistan is, or than a Pakistan war would ever be.
The Iraq operation is over. At once stage it looked like a disaster, but the endgame is now played and done with... and it hasn't turned out so badly for the US. An extremely anti-US regime running one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world, a major country of strategic importance in the Middle East, has been knocked out. Power has now devolved to three clearly demarcated ethnic groups which can be played against each other by Washington in the colonial style. Northern Iraq/Kurdistan affords the US a welcome military and strategic presence that they never had before. Neither the Sunnis of Central-Western Iraq nor the Shias of Southern and Eastern Iraq have any love for the US, but both groups hate each other and are prone to accepting US influence in their fight to curb the power of the other. Washington has a lot of leverage in this important country which it never had under Saddam. Furthermore, Iraq's oil is set to make an unimpeded comeback to the world market, without the destabilizing effects of Saddam-era sanctions to aggravate any potential energy crisis.
To some extent there is a downside of increasing Iranian influence in Baghdad, because of the empowerment of Iraq's Shias. Still, it does not overbalance the gains America has made.
In fact, this is the most convincing argument I have heard, to counter the notion that "US does not attack Pakistan in the War on Terror because it wants to keep India down." The US did attack Iraq, and left there with a dispensation that was relatively favourable to Iran (which is more of an enemy to Washington than India.) The US was prepared to countenance some gains for Iran as a side-effect of getting rid of Saddam, because the gains were higher for the US.
If the US saw a war on Pakistan as affordable, AND saw that destroying the current order in Pakistan would produce results at least as beneficial to the US as they are to India... then the US, I think, would do it. The US is not holding back from destroying Pakistan for the sole reason that destroying Pakistan would help India... after all the Americans destroyed Saddam's Iraq in a way that benefited Iran, even though they definitely would like to keep Iran down.
The US is holding back from destroying Pakistan because they cannot afford it, and when all is said and done, even if they could afford it the benefits would not justify the costs. NONE of the present naatak will bring matters to a position where the benefits do justify the costs... and even then, it is an open question how the US would manage to afford it. Would the Chinese finance the destruction of their deepel than deepest fliend by lending the US money to finance an invasion of Pakistan?
There is a third option for the US (besides attacking Pakistan militarily in an unaffordable war, and besides cut & run + annual jizya to Pakistan to prevent further terrorist attacks on US soil.) That is to cooperate with India to manage the dismantling of Pakistan as it exists today; in a way that will involve India bearing most of the short/medium term costs (especially the endgame, absorbing Pakistan) but ultimately cannot help giving India most of the long-term benefits (if India bears the economic costs and bears the political/social costs, it will emerge as Akhand Bharat.) Will the US think about this option? Will India go with it?
RamaY wrote:^ Could it be done in Pak, if US brakes TSPA and split Pakistan in to pieces? Wouldn't that make world a safer place with that cost?
If Palestine can be an independent state why cant sindh or Balochistan ?
No, RamaY garu, it would not. It is not enough to break TSPA and split Pakistan into pieces. If you want the world to be a safer place from your POV you have to stay there for however many years it takes... hold the hands of your chosen people in each particular piece of Former Pakistan... protect them against everyone from pan-Islamists to TSPA chauvinists... help them establish a government that their people will have confidence in (social services, infrastructure, economic stability etc.)... empower them to keep their hold on power despite repeated attacks decade after decade, by various groups who want to seize power away from them. What is the "cost" of all that? It is a lot more than the "cost" of cluster munitions to break the TSPA and kill 16 million cadres of Pakistani Tanzeems, and even THAT cost is great compared to the cost of simply paying off Pakistan for whatever benefits it gives you.
And in the end, what is the benefit? Unlike Shia southern Iraq or Kurdish Northern Iraq, Sindh/Baluchistan won't even produce oil to pay some small portion of the cost of taking care of them.
No chance the US will go this route, IMHO.
Pratyush wrote:Looking at the US options and the lack of them. What will happen to TSP if the US prevails upon the KSA to impose an oil blockade on the TSP.
How much oil can Iran provide to the TSP at the rates the KSA could provide.
Even if KSA agrees to this, it isn't only Iran that TSP can rely on. I think China will prevail upon Iran to supply oil to TSP at subsidized rates, even if Iran is angry about treatment of Shias in Pakistan; Iran fears/needs China more than it is angry with TSP. But even apart from Iran, there are options. E.g. Re-export via Chinese intermediaries from many gulf nations, maybe even KSA! It won't be painless for the Pakis but tallel than deepel will go to great lengths to ensure that the effects of such a punitive action by Unkil are minimized as far as possible.