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« North America: the North America of global remittances | Main | Gates ID'd firmly with new Afghan surge »
1:04AM

Is Obama's Afghanistan Strategy Ripping Off America?

obama-afghanistan-speech-120309-lg.jpg

He can't really fix a country with 30,000 troops because he can't really afford any more. So why is the rest of the world gaining from our taxpayer dollars and spilled blood?

Continue reading this week's World War Room column at Esquire.com.

Reader Comments (9)

Hell yeah we're getting ripped off. The United States kills and gets killed, but then China comes in and invests $3.5 billion to get copper. The old me before reading these books says we should have blockaded China from investing unless they participated, but then I go, "but that wouldn't help Afghanistan." So, it leaves me a with a frustrating: how do we get the help we need?

I guess the one way we'll get the help is that if Obama keeps true to his plan to pull out by 2011 and there isn't a very secure army in Afghanistan, the Taliban will sweep in and take over again. Does China honestly expect to keep that copper mine when that happens?
December 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJacob
Does this mean that Obama would have to play chicken with China if he wanted Chinese troops, for example, to protect their need for resources? Because based on your take, China will gladly continue buying our treasury paper for those extra troops they are outsourcing.
December 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPetrer
I am just jaundiced enough to think that our high jobless rate was at least a small part of the equation. It would be a bad time to dump 10's of thousands of young men back on the bad job market.
December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Bauer
Who wrote the headline? Seems like the wrong tone to me. One thing that is not mentioned is the job-creation side-effect of Chinese mining operations. Somebody (was it Barnett, Petraeus or somebody else) once said that jobs are the ultimate exit strategy. A $3.5 billion mining operation has to have some trickle-down effect on the Afghan economy (infrastructure, roads, communications, etc.), and creating an economy based on something other than opium is ultimately the only path to victory in Afghanistan. I know that in Africa, the Chinese don't have a great record in hiring locals in their operations because they bring in their own people. On the other hand, if lots of Chinese come into Afghanistan to staff the mining operation, that only increases the Chinese incentive to promote security. Rather than using the term "rip-off", it seems to me that the Chinese may be making the most valuable contribution of all towards victory in Afghanistan - remembering the theme of my earlier analysis (which I thank TPMB for posting) that globalization, not imperialism, is the name of the game.
December 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstuart abrams
Is that picture from the speech? Good shot.
December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick O'Connor
No, there is no super power helping the Taliban or OBL's followers. The irony in that fact is that we were the last super power to help them. We helped them fight the Russians...with Saudi money....and surface to air missles. The Russians invaded that miserable contry to try and stabilize the region after Jimmy Carter let the Shah fall. President Obama has inherited a mess that goes way back. Maybe to the Old Testament.
December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connor
Esquire will always reach for the most emotional take on the piece when selecting a headline. I too was taken aback by it at first, thinking it reversed the underlying tone of the piece. But then I thought about it and decided, no, the implied "you should be angry" aspect is real and justified.

One thing you learn with columns is that you can typically impart only one major emotion per piece. If you load up on conflicting/balancing ones, you often send the reader off confused about where you were trying to take them--other than to note that "it's all very complex."

I stopped, a long time ago, trying to make sequential sales of concepts in individual columns. You have to make your point, bring the reader as far along as you dare in one sitting, and then tack appropriately at the next opportunity.

My predominant emotion, based on careful analysis of the speech, was a feeling of being ripped-off in terms of the scope of logic offered. And that comes across in the edit.
December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom Barnett
Great insight! I particularly applaud the Vietnam analogy contrasting the cold war Vietnam perspective with the current Afganistan perspective that "the regionally rising great powers (China, India, Turkey, Russia, Iran) ALL have a vested interest in OUR success".Isn't this a major difference between this 21st century war versus the symmetrical wars in the past?
December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElmer Humes
Two thoughts occur...

Bill China for the security the US provides by a reduction in the money we owe in loans. I don't know if this is possible but it can't hurt to ask.

We can never "leave" Afghanistan completely. If we do it becomes a stable location for training and recruiting terrorists. Better to realize this and keep enough of the right assets in place, with a Sys Admin component to the whole thing and lots of help from the regional neighbors.

Like it or not we'll be there awhile. If we leave we'll come back to bigger mess.
December 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark

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