Friday, October 08, 2010

AfPak Countdown Clock Ticking

Sometimes employees working in jobs they hate will start "countdown clocks" as they move towards retirement, ticking off the days, hours and minutes until the party. Obama seems to have one for Afghanistan--2011. According to Woodward's book he gave himself two years to get something done lest he lose his own base.

Now today we learn that National Security Advisor James Jones is stepping down to be replaced by his deputy Thomas Donilon. Interesting, because this is the same Jones mentioned in Hollywood Bob's book:
James Jones

A variety of administration officials reportedly expressed scorn for Obama's national security adviser, James Jones, who allegedly became so distrustful of the President’s political aides that he began calling them the "Politburo" and the "Mafia”.

But Robert Gates, the Defense Secretary, reportedly worried that General Jones would be succeeded by his deputy, Thomas Donilon, who would be a "disaster".
Goodbye General Jones--Secretary Gates can't be far behind you.

The NY Times explains Donilon's overall worldview and gives a hint of why Gates believed he would be a disaster:
As deputy national security adviser, Mr. Donilon has urged what he calls a “rebalancing” of American foreign policy to rapidly disengage American forces in Iraq and to focus more on China, Iran and other emerging challenges. In the Afghanistan-Pakistan review, he argued that the United States could not engage in what he termed “endless war,” and has strongly defended Mr. Obama’s decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan next summer.
So as the deadline approaches they throw in a guy who favors withdrawing from the central front in the WoT to send a hopeful message to the far left base (many of whom supported Obama when he said AkPak was the central front in the GWoT and a necessary war) in an effort to butter them into voting en masse again.

But will they buy it? There's no guarantee Obama will actually follow through and abandon the central front in the WoT. This is a battlefield he swore was crucial to our security and the same one he claimed Bush had abandoned, to our detriment. How can he do the same? From simply a political standpoint that wouldn't play well going into 2012 not to mention putting the US and our NATO allies at actual risk--look at the recent terror threats in Europe.

So once again he presents an enigma. It certainly appears the military has stepped up the drone attacks in the territories, which makes sense if they believe there's a real chance the 2011 deadline will be enforced; our allies the Pakis are responding by cutting off supply lines and flinging rhetoric to hurt the commander-in-chief while Karzai talks of dealing with the Taliban to end the conflict.

All of this, taken in context with the Wikileaks revelations about Pakistan and even older history detailing Pakistan's involvement with creating the Taliban (and even some strange meetings with Saddam) seems to make perfect sense--as Obama was quoted as saying in Woodward's book, "the cancer is in Pakistan". And he's right--a real ally would not act as they have. They are the ONLY reason we are still in Afghanistan right now.

But at the same time they are nothing to be trifled with, as can be seen. It's why he says "Pockeston" while pronouncing most other country names in the American dialect--a shameless attempt to curry favor with a dangerous nuclear-armed Muslim country. It seems to have failed.

Obama has no choice but to play his game to completion, whether that game be continuing to attempt the phony-baloney engagement with Islamabad or cutting a deal with Karzai that has the Taliban (and ISI) giving up a prize like Zawahiri so we can chopper out. Whatever the case, nothing will be clear until after the mid-terms.


Debbie said...

Some kind of deal (whether real or just on paper to look good) with Karzi may be Obama's first option. Just like the economy here in the US, Obama can say we/the war, is better, we are on the upswing, blah blah blah. Not that anyone with a brain would believe him.

Look for some lies to come out of this Taliban meeting, make it look like they have agreed to work with us, then they will bring Mullah Omar out and parade him around or at least his name...

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

The big question is whether the Taliban can give up any Arabs. I don't see them giving up Omar, but maybe Zawahiri or Shukrijumah, etc (although most Dancing with the Stars Americans don't really know either one).

Mustang said...

It would appear our problem with Donilon is that he thinks China and Iran are only just now emerging challenges. He is a man with no qualification (as in, none-zip-nada) to serve as a national security advisor. Well, he does have one thing going for him: both his wife and brother work for Joe Biden. I would rather read Janet Napolitano's fictional novel about the joys of sex with men. I have heard rumors to the effect that Obama gets gas every time Gen. Petraeus makes his “We'll see” prediction of withdrawing from Afghanistan. The Obama guarantee vis-à-vis the WoT ranks somewhere out there with “Hope, Change, Yes we Can.” Someone commented the other day that Mr. Obama is simply not a war-President; wow … no kidding. He isn’t a peacetime president either. And now he has Pakistan thumbing their noses at him and you know it almost seems as though he wants America to fail, on every front. I keep thinking, good job America electing this moron.

A.C. McCloud said...

it almost seems as though he wants America to fail, on every front.

I think if one incorporates Dinesh D'Souza's theory on Obama's hate for colonialism then yes, he wants us to fail. It's possible he sees that in Afghanistan, although he did a very good job hiding it in 2008.

If true that's quite ironic, since Rush Limbaugh was blasted for saying he hopes Obama fails, while all along we have a president hoping America fails overseas.

I'm still holding out small hope that the appointment of Donilon was designed to send a phony message to leftist anti-war voters to energize them for November, then after the elections Obama will decide not to withdraw as scheduled. But it's a thin hope.

The conspiracy angle would be as follows-- Woodward's book conveniently comes out in late Sept and contains nasty hearsay comments from General Jones, whom they want to get rid of. Ergo, Obama has his reason to fire Jones and get Donilon in, whom Gates said would be 'a disaster' essentially because he (as you say) has no experience aside from the political ideological kind. And it worked. I'll leave it to you to decide where that leaves Hollywood Bob.