Saturday, September 21, 2013

When Foreign Policy Is Foreign To The Policy Makers

It seems to me we still have no foreign policy.  While the Syrians have handed over their list of chemical weapons sites I can't help but wonder what's next.  Why is Iran all of a sudden getting so chummy by hinting they might talk and offering to moderate a peace process in Syria.  Russia seems to be coordinating all this nicey, nicey stuff and I don't trust it one bit.  I hope our government doesn't either.

This is so unlike our adversaries I wonder if they've come up with some new type of weapon or strategy of which we have no idea.  Therefore making nice about the current situation will have no lasting consequence. If we have a foreign policy we'd have a contingency.  Just in case. Do we?  I doubt it.

If indeed we don't it may be better for those who are warring. We've done Afghanistan no favors by decimating their country, losing the battle with the Taliban and pulling out before business is finished.

I've taken outgoing President Karzi to task multiple times for his corruption and complaints about the truths of war - that innocents get killed.  On the other hand, his frustration is understandable because in many ways we're leaving his country more vulnerable than it was before we went looking for bin Laden and ended up trying to appease the Taliban and the war lords.

They, the Taliban, have become far more aggressive as we've begun pulling our troops.  Though coalition forces are still suffering casualties, the percentage is far lesser than those being suffered by the still under trained Afghan army and police forces. Those casualties are three times higher than they were in 2010 and 2011.

Karzai reads those casualty reports but does not release them for concerns about morale. He mourns the fact they are all Afghans and he sees it getting worse, not better.

You see, as we leave we are also pulling our assets.  No more state of the art field hospitals.   No more med evac choppers.  Yet the enemy hasn't any fewer roadside bombs or ied's with which to attack.  And attack they do, under trained soldiers who are now deserting rather than facing what to them seems certain death.

Unintended consequences?  Not really.  Just a lack of sound policy and no forethought nor will to remedy it.

The lesson learned for this country, and I thing we've learned it even if the government hasn't.  Don't get into a war unless and until you know what you're doing and why. We're not the only ones who are hurt by cavalier decisions.

1 comment:

Margie's Musings said...

There is no way we can settle a civil war. I hope we have learned something about that from past experience. Maybe that's what everyone has finally learned. If the UN won't interfere, there's no way the US should go it alone with only the French to help. We've spent ten fruitless years in the present war and absolutely nothing has been accomplished. The violence continues. Let the peacemakers use diplomacy.

Sometime, the US has to admit we are not the world's police force. Because of the violence we've perpetrated ourselves on the world in one place or the other, we have lost any influence we might have had. When the Obama presidency is over and he writes his memoirs, we will know more about the decisions he made and why. Right now that is a matter of national security.

Read "The Presidents Club" sometime. It tells a lot about past presidents and the issues they have faced.