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July 11, 2013

If This is "Smart Power"...

... maybe we need some of the dumber variety:

A residual force would be intended to serve two purposes: anti-insurgent operations and training for the Afghan military. Let’s take counterinsurgency first. The 140,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan during the height of the surge were unable to stabilize the country.

Some analysts might have gone on from here to ask, "So... what made Obama think an Afghan surge was a good idea in the first place?" After all, he opposed the one in Iraq and only admitted that it worked grudgingly. But apparently questioning the wisdom of Obama's majesterial thought process is simply not done.

The same goes for the roughly 100,000-strong force present now. So why should we expect an even smaller post-2014 force to do any better?

...the administration might well argue that Afghan forces would be in better shape at the end of 2014 than they were during the surge, and so better able to cope with some American assistance. And critics have also suggested a full withdrawal of U.S. troops would trigger intensified violence in Afghanistan, replicating what happened in Iraq, which was convulsed by sectarian strife after the last U.S. troop left in 2011. These arguments, however, simply overstate the capacities of a modest residual force. Greater instability could result in Afghanistan whether or not a residual force is in place.

Fear not the apparent contradictions, people. For Lo!, the administration hath assured us that we've made a commitment to the Afghan people:

"This evening, senior Administration officials assured me that there is no 'zero option' scenario under consideration. I was assured that the United States has committed to post-2014 support to include troops on the ground. I was further informed that a 'zero option' would violate American commitments to the Afghan people."

If you, like me Dear Reader, are confused by all this hand waving, be assured that America can rely upon one John Foragainst Kerry to shed light on what (to less sophisticated minds) might appear to be a cluster f*** of epic proportions. This is well-trodden territory for the former Junior Senator from Massachusetts:

Kerry established himself early as the senator most likely to pierce through the superficial clarity and embrace the miasma. The gulf war had just ended. It was time to look back for lessons learned. ''There are those trying to say somehow that Democrats should be admitting they were wrong'' in opposing the gulf war resolution, Kerry noted in one Senate floor speech. But he added, ''There is not a right or wrong here. There was a correctness in the president's judgment about timing. But that does not mean there was an incorrectness in the judgment other people made about timing.''

For you see, Kerry continued, ''Again and again and again in the debate, it was made clear that the vote of the U.S. Senate and the House on the authorization of immediate use of force on Jan. 12 was not a vote as to whether or not force should be used.''

In laying out the Kerry Doctrine -- that in voting on a use-of-force resolution that is not a use-of-force resolution, the opposite of the correct answer is also the correct answer -- Kerry was venturing off into the realm of Post-Cartesian Multivariate Co-Directionality that would mark so many of his major foreign policy statements.

And if all else fails, we can always send in Joe Biden. What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by Cassandra at July 11, 2013 12:30 PM

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how *anyone* could ever describe either Kerry or Biden as foreign policy wonks eludes me. They have *both* been essentially wrong on *every* large foreign policy issue my entire life.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at July 11, 2013 09:32 PM

I'm proud of Mr. Brooks. That was pretty good.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 12, 2013 09:57 AM

I have always thought that op-ed was the best one I have ever read :p

Posted by: Cass at July 12, 2013 10:16 AM