The present-day U.S. military qualifies by any measure as highly professional, much more so than its Cold War predecessor. Yet the purpose of today’s professionals is not to preserve peace but to fight unending wars in distant places. Intoxicated by a post-Cold War belief in its own omnipotence, the United States allowed itself to be drawn into a long series of armed conflicts, almost all of them yielding unintended consequences and imposing greater than anticipated costs. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. forces have destroyed many targets and killed many people. Only rarely, however, have they succeeded in accomplishing their assigned political purposes. . . . [F]rom our present vantage point, it becomes apparent that the “Revolution of ‘89” did not initiate a new era of history. At most, the events of that year fostered various unhelpful illusions that impeded our capacity to recognize and respond to the forces of change that actually matter.

Andrew Bacevich


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Update for Tuesday, January 29, 2019

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad says the U.S. and Taliban have agreed on the "draft of a framework" for a peace accord. While there has been a lot of excitement about this, I would have to say, don't hold your breath. For one thing, the Afghan government has had no part of this. For another, there is a pretty fundamental disagreement, which is that the Taliban are conditioning a ceasefire on a full withdrawal of U.S. troops, which obviously the U.S. will not agree to.

Afghan women are concerned about the preservation of gains women have made should the Taliban gain power in a peace deal.

Young, urban Afghans in general are concerned about reverses of social liberalization.

NATO pledges to remain with the U.S. in Afghanistan. Secretary General Stoltenberg also says that while NATO will not remain "longer than necessary," it will not allow Afghanistan to become a haven for international terrorists, which he describes as NATO's main objective in the country.

In an address to the nation, president Ghani asserts that the Afghan government must control the peace process.

New York Times reporters discuss the prospects for a peace agreement with various experts, who have concerns about the eventual outcome:

While current and former American diplomats and military officials voiced cautious optimism about the negotiations, they questioned whether the Taliban and the administration in Kabul would ever agree to a power-sharing arrangement, given that the Taliban still refuse even to speak to the government of President Ashraf Ghani. Some fear that the Taliban will seek to overthrow the government once the Americans are gone.

Do yuh think?

Many observers, including this one, see these developments as a concession of failure by the U.S. [Sooner or later you have to own up to it. -- C]





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