Tag Archives: Afghanistan War

Afghanistan/Pakistan/Indian/South Asia Challenge-The Trump Doctrine

Image result for trump doctrine

The Trump Afghanistan/Indian Sub Continent/South Asia Doctrine:

Last night, August 21/2017, President Trump outlined his Afghanistan foreign policy plan as part of his Afghanistan/Indian Subcontinent/South Asia foreign policy.  He has been asking his advisors for months “What does winning in Afghanistan look like”?  Trump drilled down on the result first, forcing his advisors to start with the conclusion then working a strategy to achieve that result…  He kept questioning their approaches until he was able to formulate a foreign policy that may achieve a result that benefits United States self-interest.  What has evolved is a doctrine that seeks to bring together a real diverse, and challenging “coalition” of disparate interest and nations.

Strategic Change:  Afghans Determine their Future

Inside of Trump’s address, was the notion that the US has no interest in defining the political self-governance structure of Afghanistan.  GW Bush and the Neo-Cons had the goal of establishing a western-style democracy over a country that is absolutely tribal in nature, with war lords as their overseers, with no experience in self-governing other than within the tribe.  This concept was doomed for failure at the outset especially when you add in the fact that these peoples were Muslim.  Islam has its own inherent governance structure.

Afghanistan is NOT a country made up of homogenous ethnic peoples with the same self-interests or even share any historical commonality.  There are 8 major ethnic groups within the current Afghan borders that were defined in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s by the British, Russia, and China.  The resulting “country” was basically a corral around a many peoples, most of which knew little or nothing about the other.  The map below will give you an idea of how disparate the ethnic make-up of Afghanistan is.

Image result for afghanistan pakistan taliban map 2016

Don’t make the mistake and try to draw a comparison to our republic that is made of 50 States.  The closest US analogy would be if the Christopher Columbus had drawn a line around the US and told all of the tribes of native peoples (Indians) and island dwellers, that they had to be subservient to Washington DC (I know it did not exist in 1492).  Further, that they had to vote for the central government leadership!  It is pretty amazing how clueless our own leadership is!

President Trump recognized that for the US to try to superimpose a central government over Afghanistan is a fool’s folly.  He stated point-blank that he has no interest in meddling in the Afghans governance.  While this one message is subtle, it is key to recognize that an Afghan western-style democracy cannot be a criteria for success!

Primary Success Criteria:  Eliminate Terrorist Haven in Afghanistan

President Trump stated that there are 20 separate terrorist groups in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.  His number one success criteria is the elimination of terrorist organizations from Afghanistan and allowing the terrorist organization from reconstituting in Pakistan.  Period!  

This is not simple and contains many tactical changes to give this a fighting chance.  Trump stated he will incorporate changes to achieve this goal:

  1. Rules of Engagement:  The President stated that he will take off the restraints on our commanders and soldiers and allow them to fight to win.  This will include the elimination of having embedded LAWYERS making the decision as to whether a soldier can fire on someone planting an IED!  How stupid is it to read a terrorist his “Miranda Rights”!  Further, that in-field tactical decision-making will not require approval from Washington and that the Military command will be empowered to take the fight to the criminals and terrorist, this is critical that we fight both, and eliminate them as a threat.  
  2. Focus on the Fight:  The US will no longer be in the business of nation building.  Our troops will no longer be building roads and buildings but focused on killing terrorist.  Period.
  3. Eliminate Cross-Border Safe  Havens:  The President also said that they will pressure Pakistan, apply real pressure and not just lip service, to not object to the US bombing terrorist havens inside of the Pakistan border with Afghanistan.  Today, the terrorist scurry across the border and we do not pursue them.  Trump will use our aid to Pakistan and other economic incentives to coerce the Pakistan Government to cooperate with the US.  He will also seek to isolate their nuclear weapons even more to ensure they do not fall into the hands of the terrorists.
  4. Stalemate China:  China has been a long-term player in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and are close neighbors with the former sharing a small border with China.  China has also been instrumental in the nuclearization of Pakistan!   The US will have to put pressure on China to keep them from interfering in our efforts to work with Pakistan to eliminate the terrorist from the region.
  5. Stalemate Russia:  The old Soviet Union bordered Afghanistan and had long sought to take over the Afghan mineral deposits.  Since the Progressive Left has interfered with Trump’s ability to work with Russia on Syria and other common issues, it will be difficult for the President to stalemate Russia.  That said, Trump will do everything he can to insure that Russian arming of the militants is minimized.  Russia shares many of our concerns for militant Islam and hopefully Trump will be able to overcome the “Russia Fever” that the left has created in our country.
  6. All Out War:  Trump will also wage a war to win and focus less on pressures to fight a “gentlemen’s war”.  He has already increased bombings by over 182% since taking office.  He will use special forces, air power, cyber, and increase commitments from NATO and other allies.  He may run into some resistance from some NATO allies as he talks the gloves off.  The French, for example, don’t like to fight at night!  Amazing.  Trump will also push the envelope in terms of pure fire power using even more MOABs to get the attention of the Terrorists.
  7. Engage the War Lords:  Trump’s team recognizes the role the regional war lords play in running Afghanistan.  Trump will have to prevail on them to cease sheltering and aiding any of the terrorists.  If he can persuade them that the US is not supporting a centralization of an Afghan government and allow the war lords to have a larger role in Afghanistan’s future, he may win most of them over.

Second Success Criteria:  Reduce the US Financial Commitment

Trump was subtle in his speech to enlist more financial support from Afghanistan, NATO and even India!  He is focused on $$$ and the US need to get others to help foot the bills that benefit others as well as the US.  He will probably tell Tillerson that he will take care of this part of the diplomatic effort!

  1. Afghanistan Financial Support:  Remember Trump talking about the Iraq war and that we should have “taken” some of the oil as repayment for our economic commitment to “liberating” Iraq?  Well, Afghanistan’s mineral and gemstone wealth is estimated at 1-3 Trillion dollars and include: barite, chromite, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, natural gas, petroleum, precious and semi-precious stones, salt, sulfur, talc, zinc, emerald, lapis lazuli, red garnet and ruby.  Trump will probably seek to bring in international companies to help Afghanistan develop these resources and use part of the proceeds to offset our costs in the war effort.  Trump will also have to replace Afghanistan’s largest cash crop, poppies for opioid sales, with other sources of income for the war lords.   This change is needed to help rid the world markets of cheap opioids.  
  2. NATO:  Trump will ask NATO to increase their financial and military commitment to the Afghan Terrorist War as well.  NATO has already stated that they approve of the Trump Doctrine in South Asia and are open to discussions moving forward.
  3. India:  India is an interesting inclusion into the increased economic support for fighting terrorist in Afghanistan.  First of all, India is not a Muslim majority country and is in fact the home of the Sikhs who are enemies of the Muslims.  India would love to see the US exert more pressure on Pakistan as the two are also enemies in both religion and politics.  A more stable South Asia would benefit India and allow it to focus even more on its economic development and somewhat less on national defense.  The President seeks to pressure India, via its trade advantage with the US, to have India supply economic aid in Afghanistan in various forms.  At best, this will challenge even Trump’s “Art of the Deal” skills.  The overall alliance will include Muslims (both Sunni and Shia), Hindu, Sikhs, and a handful of others!  The alliance does, however, form a solid base for a true South Asia policy that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Indian sub continent.  (May be easier than repealing Obamacare in Congress though)

The goals of the strategic change in Afghan self-determination, the defeat of terrorism in Afghanistan and to some degree Pakistan, and the Cost-Sharing goals to reduce US economic commitment to Afghanistan, define Trump’s success in Afghanistan.  If this succeeds with this “odd” alliance of players, it will have long-standing benefits in South Asia and help to stabilize a Post-Soviet South Asia.  If we do not succeed according to a time-table only Trump knows, we may pull out of Afghanistan sometime in the future.

There are many other facets of this doctrine that will be fleshed out in the coming months.  Trump will let the Generals and the troops do their jobs but will keep pressure on Mattis and his staff to keep their eye on the ball.  He will also make sure the Treasury is doing all they can to cut off the supply of funding to the terrorist and keep other cabinet members contributing in any way they can to assist the fight.  Rex Tillerson has a difficult job of keeping the coalition together while maintaining stability in Pakistan and elsewhere.  No small task.

Observation:  One thing to look for that will differentiate this campaign from our past feeble efforts to rid Afghanistan from Terrorist is a cessation of warfare during the winter months.  I would hazard a guess that Trump will seek to keep the terrorist from relaxing during the winter months with a series of asymmetrical attacks by land and air.  Sleep deprivation can be a demoralizing factor for sure…

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips:

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/boundaries-iii

http://afghanag.ucdavis.edu/country-info/culture-and-working-locally/Man_Afghan_Culture_CWTI.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Pakistan

 

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Trump to Pentagon On Afghanistan, “What Does Winning Look Like!”

Trump to Pentagon,

“What does Winning Look like in Afghanistan?” 

Culture shock in DC now extends to the Pentagon.  Specifically when it comes to defining Foreign Policy Strategy as it impacts Military Operations.   

As a businessman, Trump goes to the bottom line with every deal.   What does it mean to win and what does it look like in this particular deal.  We have been embroiled in conflict in Afghanistan since October, 2001.  We have seen what Bush thought was victory, then a redo with the surge, to Obama replacing combat with tentative engagement.  Trump will not approve of a military strategy in Afghanistan until he is convinced that he knows and believes what winning this conflict would look like and what will be the cost in blood and treasure.  Period.  

Apparently, in his meetings with DOD he was presented with a continuation of our prior strategy and was not satisfied with the strategy nor did he hear what winning would mean to the US.  Until he does, he will continue to press Mattis and McMaster and others.

While the MSM and talking heads are going nuts over not being able to pin Trump down on an Afghanistan strategy, why get in a hurry after almost 17 years of misery  and all too many casualties and injured servicemen and servicewomen. 

  • Trump has correctly said in the past that winning in Afghanistan has to include operations in Pakistan or we will continue to play “tag” with the Taliban scurrying back and forth from Afghanistan to their “safe space” in Pakistan. 
  • He has also indicated that anyone who receives billions from the US (Pakistan), must support our strategies or risk losing our aid.   Of course Trump detractors say that Pakistan is a nuclear nation so we can’t risk alienating them.  How about if you get$2B in aid and you probably can’t risk alienating us!

Trump also knows that doing nothing is also an option.  He will not naively dip his toe in an unwinnable conflict if he is not convinced that winning is not only attainable, but the likely outcome.  He believes that he owes this to our men and women in the military.

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

 

Lack of a Commander-In-Chief Leads to Military Anarchy-I am Sure we will Blame Another Soldier

It is truly sad on so many levels, that one of our troops killed at least 16 Afghan citizens including women and children.  It is also understandable on so many levels.  Who should accept the responsibility?

When a Commander-In-Chief does not stand behind his troops, including his civilian military leaders; or constantly apologizes for our troops’ actions, rather that sticking up for them; or allows those, who our troops are risking their very lives for, to criticize the actions of our women and men in the military and demand that they be punished for acts that they themselves should have been responsible for, then it is impossible to expect our troops to understand where they stand with regard to their own Commander-In-Chief and why they are where they are and what they are fighting for. 

The lack of backing for our troops by their Commander-In-Chief, and indeed the chain of command below him, coupled with a completely idiotic set of rules of engagement that includes “Mirandizing” enemy combattants on the field of battle, leaves our soldiers baffled as to what and where the limits are.  When our soldiers detain someone who they have witnessed planting an IED or performing some other act of aggression that could lead to our soldiers death, out soldiers have to turn this person over to polite interrogators who have to offer the combatant legal council.  Conversely, our soldiers are tried in the court of enemy public opinion and discourse with nothing but disdain heaped on them from their Commander-In-Chief with his apologies, their military command, NATO, and every radical Islamist in the world. 

When George W. Bush went mushy following the initial triumphs in Iraq, and ceased to adequately stand up for why we were in Iraq, we say discipline break down in the form of aberrant behavior at the Abu Ghraib prison.  Discipline was further degraded, and moral dampened, when Bush failed to stand behind his Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.  It was not until the surge was instigated that gave our soldiers an inkling of hope that their Commander-In-Chief stood behind them and understood what they needed to be victorious. 

Our soldiers want to win the wars and battles we place them in. 

Our soldiers believe that they are fighting to defend this nation, and, when we do not defend our soldiers,

how can we expect them to react as the true professionals they are.

I am sure Obama will once again apologize to the Afghans for this recent tragedy even though he and his military staff should shoulder the blame themselves.  So should Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, whom we have unconditionally supported and have given billions of dollars to and 1,910 of our soldiers, 2/3’s of them died under Obama’s watch .   

Our Soldiers are still waiting for the Afghans to apologize to them for killing our soldiers after the last Koran incident.  When it does not come, and it won’t, our soldiers will once again silently question their mission, and our committment to their well-being…  It will only be a matter of time before another tragedy strikes our troops or the Afghans or both.

You know what really gags me?  I have never heard one of our troops offer up excuses for their behavior or short comings.  I can’t say the same for their Commander-In-Chief! 

I did and do support our ORIGINAL mission in Afghanistan.  But, it has morphed into some kind of politically correct nation building effort.  I would not waste the life of another American Soldier in Afghanistan or anywhere else until we can figure out who we are and what we are trying to accomplish in this world.  In three years we have allowed the Middle East to morph into a cancer that will haunt us for generations to come and will endanger the entire free world.  We better figure out our role pretty soon or it will be too late…

Sad!

RD Pierini

Hat Tip:

iCasualties:  http://icasualties.org/oef/

BBC:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17330205

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/11/world/asia/afghanistan-us-service-member/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

Obama 1,180 Deaths; Bush 612; In Afghanistan–Did You See this in the Mainstream Media?

Obama “surged” ahead of GW Bush in terms of US casualties in Afghanistan since he took over in 2009.  According to CNS News, from October 7, 2001 to May 15, 2009, there were 612 deaths.  From May 16th 2009 to the present, this number has jumped to 1,792 fatalities.  Couple of questions come to mind:

  1. Where is that wacko Cindy Sheehan and why isn’t she camped outside of Obama’s vacation homes in Martha’s Vineyard, Aspen, Vale, Hawaii, or where ever Obama is vacationing this month?  Maybe she should wait by the 19th hole!
  2. Why aren’t we seeing daily death tolls in the media?
  3. Since Obama campaigned on making Afghanistan our “Priority”, what is:
    1. Our objective in Afghanistan other than to turn tail and run around the end of this year?
    2. Our exit strategy to ensure than what little progress we have made is not lost?
    3. The definition of success?  Vietnam anyone?
  4. Why doesn’t Obama get the correlation between kissing Karzai’s rear end and apologizing to the Muslims for doing what is prescribed in the Koran, and our kids getting shot by the very troops we just trained?
  5. Since we let the Taliban run back and forth from Afghanistan into Pakistan at will, what is our plan to make sure the Taliban does not retake Afghanistan?
  6. Obama, how is your appeasement and meet-n-greet campaign going with the Taliban.  Swimmingly I trust!

In 8 years under Bush, we lost an average of 77 troops per year.  Under Obama in less than 3 years, he is averaging 393 deaths per year.  That is 5 times the amount lost by Bush per year. 

Do you think that our terms of engagement might be a contributing factor?  Do you think it is safer to shoot a combatant when they are engaging in warfare or read them their Miranda Rights first?  Do you think it is safer for our troops to only engage defensively or be on the offensive looking for combatants and eliminating them?  You don’t have to be a West Point grad to figure this out.

In Portugal, in 2010 following a NATO summit on Afghanistan, Obama the sage had these words to say:

“So my message to President Karzai is: We have to be sensitive to his concerns and the concerns of the Afghan people. We can’t simply tell them what’s good for them.  We have to listen and learn and be mindful of the fact that Afghans ultimately make decisions about how they want to structure their governance, how they want to structure their justice system, how they want to approach economic development.”  (my emphasis)

I beg your pardon?  Afghanistan was under the control of the Taliban who allowed the country to be used by every terrorist group around as a training ground including al-Qaeda.  We have spent upwards of $100 Billion Dollars in military expenditures and on the rebuilding of Afghanistan since 2001 so we damn well have a right to “Tell them what’ good for them.”  Obviously they don’t have a clue.  Karzai and the Afghanis need to be SENSITIVE TO US!  The Afghans don’t have a clue how to develop economically or politically unless it centers around heroin exports!  Great, that will be our legacy for Afghanistan .  “We won the war and created the largest drug exporter in the world”.  Only someone in Washington could spin this the way Obama did above.

It is time that before we start another war, we sit down and figure out what is in it for US!  If the answer is nothing, then that should be the level of our committment!  I don’t mean to sound mercenary but the rest of the world view us a joke.  We have Obama who will suffer from early onset of Osteoporosis from bowing to every despot on the face of this earth and apologizing to every Muslim in the world for our heresy! 

We owe it to our troops to not only know what are end game is, but what is the payback for our nation.  Remember when the left said we were going to war in Iraq for Oil?  How did that work out for us?  We are the only developed nation without a lucrative oil contract from Iraq!  Why on earth didn’t we get fair oil contracts for our efforts?  Just how dumb are we to let the left keep determining our military strategies and political goals.  DON’T ANSWER THAT!

RD Pierini

Hat Tip:

CNS News:  http://cnsnews.com/news/article/two-thirds-us-deaths-afghanistan-have-occurred-obama-s-surge