“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Obama's Afghanistan Mission Impossible
Obama says 30,000 troops are vital to our national interest. That national interest has an announced shelf life. It expires in 18 months.
The plan calls for a rapid building of an Afghanistan army and police force. This stated goal has not happened over the last 8 years, but we are asked to believe it will happen over the next 18 months.
Assume you are a new recruit, prepared to grab a paycheck as a future Afghan soldier. Your local Taliban representative shows up and reminds you that in 18 months the Americans are leaving and that the Taliban is not.
I don't care if they get 250,000 in uniforms, the week the Americans pull out, that army will evaporate.
Obama also says that he can reduce corruption which is in the Afghani DNA. That is absurd. Anyone on the take today, will grab as much as he can as fast as he can and do so before the money train leaves town. Corruption will go up not down.
Obama knows he has painted himself into a corner. This is not about winning. It is all about leaving. It is the political cover for a politician that has been trying to be all things to all people.
The future of Afghanistan will not be much different from its past. The best we can hope for is that will be the distant past not the recent past.
Is there a sensible alternative? Probably not. Obama didn't create this mess. George Bush tested the limits of US military power and Obama is charged with facing the consequences of the overreach.