Monday, May 11, 2009

That funny issue of the sovereignty of our supposed allies

Last week Afghan President Karzai, responding to mounting civilian casualties from American bombing, called for it to stop:

Ending his visit to the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded that the United States end its air strikes in his country, saying that the rising death toll was infuriating the public. “We believe strongly that airstrikes are not an effective way of fighting terrorism, that airstrikes rather cause civilian casualties,” Karzai declared.

Today he has his answer:

National Security Adviser James Jones says that despite the rather pointed demands from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the United States will not stop launching air strikes inside of Afghanistan. Such a move, the official insisted, would be “imprudent.”

Yet Jones did not seem at all concerned when asked what Karzai’s reaction to the continued attacks would be, saying “I think he understands that we have to have the full complement of our offensive military power when we need it.”

Which is not a surprising stance to take, since we don't treat Iraq as a sovereign nation, either:

Last week the Iraqi government ruled out extended the deadline to allow US troops to remain in particularly troubled cities in light of rising violence. In spite of this, top US commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno confirmed on Friday that he anticipates keeping troops in Mosul and Baghdad, though he would not comment on exactly how many troops would remain.

See, the problem when you invade countries and topple governments is that there eventually comes the day when the puppets you have installed need to show some independence, because they have to figure out how to survive after we leave. This is the classic conundrum of colonialism, albeit writ more quickly: the people that the imperialist selects to run things generally have no popular base because most of the folks in the country don't like them. Then they sign up with the imperial power, never viscerally believing that the guys from overseas will eventually go home. When they do realize this sad state of affairs, they scramble to prove in-country that they're not our puppets.

But since they are, we brush them off.

And Pakistan's next.

Last Thursday I made two predictions:

1) We are being set up for a direct military presence in Pakistan (probably an assistance or training command, which will be necessary either (a) to avoid defeat in Afghanistan, or (b) to secure Islamabad's nukes.

2) This will necessitate an increase from 60,000 to 70,000 troops in the region, which--along with the slow-down of the Iraq withdrawal--will result in the unfortunate necessity that increasing operational expenses will lead to continued increases in the Defense budget despite reforms in weapons purchases.

Let's see how I'm doing.

RE: Prediction #1, here's General Petraeus in WaPo:

Petraeus said that although the Pakistani military has stepped up efforts in some areas, "considerable further work is required." That can be accelerated, he said, with U.S. aid in the form of a Pakistani Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund to provide training, equipment and intelligence assets.

Now: who do you suppose is going to be doing the training?

RE: Prediction #2, here's General Petraeus again from the same article:

Gen. David H. Petraeus disclosed yesterday that American commanders have requested the deployment of an additional 10,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year, but he said the request awaits a final decision by President Obama this fall....

If approved, the additional 10,000 troops -- including a combat brigade of about 4,000 troops and a division headquarters of about 2,000 -- would bring the total approved for next year to 78,000, officials say.

And as for that Defense Budget increase, that one already happened, too, as I reported here.

All of which was predictable given that we've been meddling in internal Pakistani politics for several years now.

1 comment:

PlanetaryJim said...

Wait a sec, "National Security Adviser James Jones." Jim Jones. The national security adviser is named Jim Jones. Wow. No matter what he says, DO NOT DRINK THE KOOL-AID!