President Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place. Adding divisions of ground troops to Afghanistan is not exactly a strategy found in the Radical Progressive Movement (RPM) playbook, nor is such a strategy supported by historical study of the various invasions of Afghanistan. Each invasion has come to a bad end, from Alexander the Great, to the British, to the Soviets. On the other hand, not sending in divisions of additional ground troops will fly in the face of his general’s request. It will also earn Obama the righteous wrath of the neocons. Most of the Fox News Channel, wildly popular and still gaining ratings, will go on the attack. No matter what his choice, Obama will be royally savaged. What’s he to do?
Tell Americans the truth for a change. Afghanistan is not the problem. And Afghanistan should not even be on the radar. The Afghans don’t want the Americans. Afghanistan has no legitimate government, moreover the tribal warlords don’t give a hoot about Kabul.
Here’s what the U.S. should do to best ensure national security:
1. Tell Saudi Arabia that the United States will cease allowing Saudi oil imports and stop selling weapons to the Saudis. Make it clear in the firmest of tones that if Saudi activity contrary to U.S. interests is documented, a direct and unpleasant response will follow. In short, the game is over with Saudi Arabia.
2. Make it clear to nuclear-armed Pakistan that it is to keep up the heat on al Qaeda. In exchange, the U.S. will work to keep relations between Pakistan and India on a civil course. This will not be an easy task, but some good-faith efforts on both sides can deliver a beneficial result. Meanwhile, keep Special Forces and advisors in Afghanistan and provide financial assistance and training for the Afghan army.
3. Greatly increase the use of unmanned drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The goal is to eradicate al Qaeda leadership. As for the Taliban, tell them to stop providing any cover for al Qaeda and working against America’s interests. Negotiations here are worthwhile. The Taliban did not fly into the Trade Towers. Inform the Taliban that a continuation of its current course will invite a return of the AC-130 Gunships and BLU-82 bomb drops. In 2001 and 2002, the Taliban got a good taste of the sort of devastation the AC-130 Gunships and BLU-82 drops can deliver. I think mentioning both at an initial meeting would move negotiations along at a far more pleasing pace.