A Little Bit Of Realism About Afghanistan

George KGeorge K Super ModeratorPosts: 9,694 Senior Member
In contrast to the chirpy-cheerful nonsense emanating from American and British officials, civilian and military, the outgoing French Ambassador to Afghanistan spoke frankly and on the record at his farewell cocktail party.

This article is worth reading in full: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/world/asia/bernard-bajolet-leaving-afghanistan-has-his-say.html?hp&gwh=27D1C0025489D4A714303891B643A693

I foresee a replay of the fall of Saigon. The ghost of George Santayana will smile.

...one of those rare truth-telling moments came at a farewell cocktail party last week hosted by the departing French ambassador to Kabul: Bernard Bajolet, who is leaving to head France’s Direction Génerale de la Sécurité Extérieure, its foreign intelligence service…

…Mr. Bajolet wound up his realpolitik with a brisk analysis of what Afghanistan’s government needed to do: cut corruption, which discourages investment, deal with drugs and become fiscally self-reliant. It must increase its revenues instead of letting politicians divert them, he said.

Several diplomats in the room could be seen nodding as he said that drugs caused “more casualties than terrorism” in Russia, Europe and the Balkans and that Western governments would be hard-put to make the case for continued spending on Afghanistan if it remains the world’s largest heroin supplier.

The biggest contrast with the American and British line was Mr. Bajolet’s riff on sovereignty, which has become the political watchword of the moment. The Americans and the international community are giving sovereignty back to Afghanistan. Afghanistan argues frequently that it is a sovereign nation. President Hamid Karzai, in the debate over taking charge of the Bagram prison, repeatedly said that Afghanistan had a sovereign responsibility to its prisoners.

His implicit question was, what does that really mean?

“We should be lucid: a country that depends almost entirely on the international community for the salaries of its soldiers and policemen, for most of its investments and partly on it for its current civil expenditure, cannot be really independent.”
Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.

Replies

  • Shawn C.Shawn C. Senior Member Posts: 6,590 Senior Member
    I'm really hoping Obama greatly accelerates the timetable for withdrawal. We could leave tomorrow or in five years and the outcome will be the same.
    I wonder how much of this international mess that is Afghanistan could have been averted had the Soviets succeeded in fully establishing Afghanistan as a communist satellite state?


    Sent from my ObamaPhone using Tapatalk
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 23,325 Senior Member
    We may have a military withdrawal, but we will never be out. We will be financially committed for a very long time and we need a negotiated peace with the Taliban before we can end military support.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 9,694 Senior Member
    Shawn C. wrote: »
    I wonder how much of this international mess that is Afghanistan could have been averted had the Soviets succeeded in fully establishing Afghanistan as a communist satellite state?
    Sent from my ObamaPhone using Tapatalk

    That's hard to say. Russia and other former USSR states developed very bad drug problems when the mujahedin - the "good guys" we financed and armed, many of who now are Taliban supporters - began channeling cheap heroin to Soviet troops who took their addictions home with them.

    The Soviet-backed leader Najibullah was a secular modernist who did everything we claim we want there in terms of education, women's rights etc., except he was a Communist and the friend of our enemy. But what would have happened there after the collapse of the USSR had he and his regime survived is anyone's guess.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.
  • Shawn C.Shawn C. Senior Member Posts: 6,590 Senior Member
    Yeah, from what I've read Najibullah was more the mayor of Kabul than a true national leader.
    What a **** mess... Even if we do need to provide foreign aid and attempt to reconcile with the Taliban I wish we could bring the vast majority of the military home with haste.


    Sent from my ObamaPhone using Tapatalk

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