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Editorial / Commentary / Opinion

 

 

Scott Sullivan :
President Obama: Confront Pakistan

 




Once again Pakistan is the bad guy by allowing the Taliban terrorists to use
Pakistan as a privileged sanctuary for carrying out terrorist operations in
Afghanistan. The most recent example of Pakistan-Taliban collaboration in terrorism occurred just yesterday. The Taliban scored a major military victory against far superior US forces by shooting down a NATO Chinook helicopter
and killing 31 US Special Operations forces (SOF), along with seven Afghan SOF. Wait, the picture for US gets worse, far worse. For openers, the US strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan was eroded by the “Devils Bargain” between President Obama and GEN Petraeus on early withdrawal of the surge forces. Petraeus says he never agreed to early withdrawal, but this is irrelevant because Obama says he favors early withdrawal of US forces, regardless of conditions on the ground. Obama wins this argument because he is the President.


The implication of Obama's victory on early withdrawal of US military forces
is that battlefield SOF commanders are learning that the three or four month
cushion promised by Petraeus, before large scale troop withdrawals begin, no
longer exists. To put it another way, Petraeus' original victory plan envisaged a fifteen month counterinsurgency campaign -- twelve months of high intensity combat, followed by three months in the villages to stand up the new
Afghanistan army and police. Now SOF commanders are in a hurry and must undertake riskier operations. However another US loss of this magnitude –
which is probable, given the protection Taliban is receiving from the Pakistani
government -- would sweep away what little US popular support remains for this war, President Obama, be prepared!


First, Obama must develop a new slogan, ”Afghanistan, Afghanistan,
Afghanistan, ” as opposed to “jobs, jobs, jobs,” President has far more
authority to cope with Afghasnistan, Pakistan and their problems than to add
jobs to the US economy.


Second, Obama must follow China's diplomatic lead by isolating and weakening
Pakistan. China does not want to be stuck with a failed state as a partner in Pakistan; nor should the US. For example, last week the Chinese government
criticized Pakistan by asserting it was training Islamic terrorists who attack
Chinese villages along the border with Pakistan. Even better, last year China and Afghanistan, without consulting Pakistan, who views itself as Afghanistan's older brother who must be consulted on all issues of importance, signed agreements that boosted China as the largest foreign investor in some of Afghanistan's lucrative mining industries. Moreover, China and Afghanistan signed agreements obligating China, not Pakistan, to take command
of all foreign peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan once US forces pull out.


Third, Obama should demand that the Joint Staff/Policy Planning, prepare
alternative scenarios for immediate US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan,
based on Pakistani and Chinese behavior, as in maximal cooperation, minimal
cooperation, and outright Pakistan confrontation with US force withdrawals from Afghanistan, based on a fear that the US would redeploy these forces into Pakistan in order to bring about regime change.


Fourth, Obama should insist that the Joint Staff/Policy Planning paper on
troop withdrawals from Afghanistan take account of Chinese and Russian policy in Afghanistan.

My own view, as expressed in an earlier op-ed, is that President Obama could initiate aligning Chinese, Russian, and US policy in Afghanistan as a follow on task after Obama aligns the US, China and Russia to cope with the tensions between Japan, North Korea, and South Korea -- see
Obama's five steps to global security,” Petroleumworld.com.


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Scott Sullivan is a former Washington government employee and was the Senior Advisor for International Economics at the Crisis Management Center of the National Security Council, 1984 - 1986. Petroleumworld not necessarily share these views.

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Petroleumworld News 08/08/2011

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