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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Update for Saturday, August 29, 2015

I'm just going to focus on one issue today, but it's an important one. Former Afghan secret service chief Amrullah Saleh tells Der Spiegel that the Taliban insurgency is sponsored by Pakistan. Straight up. Here's an excerpt:

The Taliban have a reputation for brutality and mercilessness to defend. Their new leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor wants to prove that he can maintain these capabilities. All the major attacks require enormous military and financial resources. They are planned and executed with the aid of ISI, Pakistan's secret service. The aim of the attacks is to establish Mansoor as the new strong man. The violence is intended to show that the Taliban brand still exists, and the message as the same as before -- that the Taliban is united and powerful. . . .

The Taliban can only continue to fight in this way with help from the ISI [Pakistani equivalent of the CIA]. Mansoor will now be provided with the necessary resources in order to solidify his authority and keep opponents within his own ranks in check.
Meanwhile, there's this:

US President Barack Obama has proposed over $1 billion in civilian and military aid to "strategically important" Pakistan for fighting terror, economic development, safety of nuclear installations and improving ties with India among other objectives.

The budgetary proposals released by the state department after Obama sent them to the Congress show a more than six- fold increase in the foreign military financing (FMF) to Pakistan from $42.2 million in 2014 to $265 million in 2016.

I'll retire to bedlam.


anatta said...

why would the ISI sponser the Afghani Taliban .
I get Paki keeping the TTP Taliban at bay, but I don't see the connection.
Asking - not contradicting here

Cervantes said...

The Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are different organizations. The ISI wants to have influence in Afghanistan, in competition with India. The thinking is that if the Taliban can control sufficient territory and be a real military threat to the Afghan government, they'll have to settle on terms that give the Taliban a major role in govt. and possibly control over substantial areas of the border region; and the Afghan Taliban is essentially a proxy for Pakistan. This may seem silly, but in the context of regional politics it's how the ISI thinks. Don't forget they harbored bin Laden, presumably because they thought al Qaeda could be an asset of some sort.

anatta said...

that isn't "silly" but it's extremely twisted manipulation by the ISI.
So the ISI are actually willing to let the Afghan Taliban thrive - as a geo-political force to go up against India ( the Paki/India rivalry?)

Do you think the Paki civilian gov't feels the same, or is this an ISI adventure?

Cervantes said...

I think the ISI is the real power in Pakistan, in alliance with the military. I don't think the elected govt cuts any ice.

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