Posted by: Dark Defender | September 14, 2008

Are we going to have to pick between Tbilisi and New York?

In wake of the downfall of Mushy, the US has ratcheted up pressure on the Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.  In light of the continued (and perhaps even rebounding) strength of the worldwide (as opposed to Iraqi) Al-Qaeda, this moves seems necessary and frankly over due to me. 


The strategy in invading Afghanistan was to “drain the swamp” right? We went in there to take away Al-Qaeda’s safe haven from which they planned 9/11 and could and almost certainly would plan new attacks.  This operation was largely successful as it seriously disrupted Al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts, making them focus on defending themselves rather than plotting attacks against the homeland.


However with the growth of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan (including even a peace agreement with the Islamist state of Waziristan), it seems to me the success in Afghanistan was seriously undermined.   What value is there in draining the Afghan swamp if the alligators or mosquitoes (or whatever were draining it for, can we drop this metaphor now?). move to the swamp next door?


A US predator drone fires a hellfire missile.

A US predator drone fires a hellfire missile.



It seems to me if we allow Al-Qaeda free reign in Pakistan we may as well go home.  So its good we are finally doing something about their enclaves.


However it would appear we are now in a serious bind and our worldwide interests are in conflict.


The bottom line is we have to get supplies to our forces in Afghanistan and we need either, Iran, who can be considered off the table, Russia or Pakistan in order to accomplish this.


Pakistan’s new President, almost had no choice in responding to public pressure and condemns our actions in Waziristan and has cut off our supply route to Pakistan.  While I do believe at least in the short run, Pakistan will likely remain dependent on the US and may soon reverse the cut off, I think the trend is going to be away from us.  They are a traditional ally of China, and we are making a big effort to buddy up with their arch enemy India (for very good reasons).  So in the long run I just don’t see Pakistan staying “onside”.  


Which leaves the Russian route, Russia, cleverly has not cut our supply lines, which leaves us quite dependent on their goodwill. 


We are frankly faced with making the ugly choice of who do we want to appease? Do we want to make nice nice with the Islamist supporting and infiltrated Pakistanis and thus render our past victories in Afghanistan irrelevant by letting Al-Qaeda operate freely in this santuary?  Or do we appease Putin the mean ole neighborhood bully?


Russian’s are famous for their chess play, and I think they’ve put us in check and will get what they want.  I don’t see how we can not choose Russia.  They maybe bullies but their targets are their neighbors, not New York. 


Unpleasant as it is to say, I think we may have to consider abandoning our support of Russia’s democratic neighbors (at least those not already in NATO).  Our EU friends and NATO allies aren’t interested in confronting Russia, we can’t do it without them (or at least Turkey) and pissing Russia off while we are (for good reason) antagonizing Pakistan has the awful downside of handing Al-Qaeda its first major strategic victory since 9/11. 

I wonder if 50 years from now we will be explaining to our exasperated grandchildren how it was necessary to sell our friends out to Russia for the greater good.



Putin is smarter than we give him credit for.

Putin is smarter than we give him credit for.




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