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Offline 54/102 CEF

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Various Symposia Reports
« on: November 17, 2007, 22:08:17 »
I am going to this show on the 29th - I highly recommend seeing this guy. He has the ear of the highest levels of the US Defence community. His book is called The Pentagon`s New Map which I have read twice.

See https://www.defenceandsecurity.ca/public/index.asp?action=events.

THERE IS A FREE SHOW - BUT YOU HAVE TO ACT FAST!!!! http://canada2020barnett.eventbrite.com/

His Blog www.thomaspmbarnett.com
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 18:45:54 by Roy Harding »
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Meet a VERY Influential Guy - Thomas Barnett in Ottawa 29 Nov
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 08:33:03 »
I attended Thomas P Barnett’s presentation yesterday evening; very interesting.

On somewhat lighter notes:

1.   During his discussion of China he related a story about dining, in China, with some Chinese academics. One of them opined that, in China, everyone is focused on food while in America everyone is focused on sex. “Can’t be,” Barnett quipped, “because we’re all fat and there’s over a billion of you.”

2.   The question session started with an admonition from the moderator, Prof. Roland Paris of Ottawa University, to ask questions, not make speeches. He interrupted the first speech maker questioner, reminding him of the rules. Soon our friend Steven Staples went to the microphone and launched into his speech. He had just got to the point where it was evident that there was no question – he was launching into his bit about how he had heard enough about transformation – when Prof. Paris said, “A question now, please.” Staples asked a somewhat lame question re: what did Barnett think about transformation in Canada? “Nothing,” said Barnett, “it’s not on my radar. I’m a global grand strategist.” “But,” he added, "don’t forget one of Donald Rumseld’s interesting observations: countries fight wars with the armies they have, not the armies they want to have. Further,” Barnett said, “we have the army we wanted 10 to 20 years ago.  Assuming that the world has changed in the last 20 years it is prudent to want to transform one’s thinking and one’s tool kit, too.”

Barnett reviewed his analysis, (The Pentagon’s New Map) and his plan (Blueprint for Action) and his prescription which, he said, will be in a new book due for publication early in 2009.

A couple of observations:

1.   He noted, correctly, in my view, that the spread of “rationalism” was halting. It (rationalism) began in Europe and then failed to spread through most European colonial initiatives. The exception was Britain’s colonies in the America’s. The difference, I think lies in the fact that the British never tried to remake the indigenous peoples – they simply moved their own kith and kin to the Americas and let nature take its course. (Ditto: Australia and New Zealand.) My contention remains that: Culture Matters! It was practically impossible to transmit the emerging European enlightenment values to many (any?) of the Latin American, African, Middle Eastern or West Asian colonial subject peoples: they lacked the requisite culture to adopt those values. Modern Anglo-America rationalism – with the ‘rule sets’ which are absolutely essential to establish democratic, capitalist societies – were spread to Asia (largely) by Americans – to Japan and then to South Korea and Taiwan, and by Britain to Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Singapore. Those Asian countries then ‘seeded’ China with similar values. China and India, he suggests, not America, will spread those values to the rest of Asia and into Africa.

2.   He noted that Britain committed an act of strategic genius in the early 20th century. Faced with the inevitability of its decline and fall it hooked itself to the rapidly rising star of the USA. Barnett wonders if the USA – which, he and I believe, cannot sustain its current dominant global position indefinitely, will have a similar stroke of genius and hook itself to China. He reiterated his contention that the role of the grand strategist is to make people think about the unthinkable. For many people – almost certainly for most people – the idea of a China/USA special relationship is, indeed, unthinkable but no more, he suggests, than the idea of an Anglo-American special relationship would have been circa 1865 – a mere 35 years before it existed.

All-in-all a nice evening; good food and drink, too, thanks to some sponsors with deep, deep pockets.


Edit: typo- "One somewhat lighter ..."
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 05:42:14 by E.R. Campbell »
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline 54/102 CEF

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Re: Meet a VERY Influential Guy - Thomas Barnett in Ottawa 29 Nov
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 22:39:55 »
A few points I scratched down at the Military Government Show at 1500 Yesterday - The many empty seats was a real commentary on how FMAS focussed our leadership is.

*Putin will stay on as an elder guiding figure like Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore
*Many countries in the world do fine with 1 party rule - he mentioned Singapore, Mexico, Russia
*Chavez will dig himself a big hole then cover himself up, Venezuela Oil production is going down steadily
*China will bankroll development in South America - and South America is not on his radar
*Cozy up to India brings relationships with China
*China is busy in Africa --- see this http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7118941.stm
*USA has opened a String of outposts called CJTF HOA (HORN OF AFRICA) --- he adlibbed a lot that probably be fuddled the crowd --- a few High Rankers were there not known for their publishing or writing skills ---- A small Joke - The Last Book the Colonel Read was his First --- describes the hovering ones ---- but I digress - the 2nd half of his talk was based on this article http://www.esquire.com/features/africacommand0707 ---- THERE`S MORE! http://www.esquire.com/search/fast_search?search_term=Thomas+Barnett

Snippets

* Fidel Castro croaks and brother Raul ends up running things for a bit, experimenting with markets and letting in a trickle of foreign investment from "trusted" sources.
• Raul is soon replaced by some "national unity" committee that reflects the growing splits within the next generation of leaders over how far market reforms should proceed. Meanwhile, the money seeping in from Miami's Cubans grows to a flood and travel restrictions are radically reduced in response to popular demand.
• Within five years, Cuba holds its first roughly free presidential election, and one or more candidates, with substantial outside financial backing, stumps openly for American statehood.
• Once that match gets lit, watch Florida hold every subsequent American presidential candidate hostage to the Cuba-statehood plank.

So keep an eye on Thomas Barnett - it will help you understand what DND can`t or won't explain - which is the real eye opener.

You can visit me when I retire to the Island of Sayonara - but if the tide goes out - you go too - OK?

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Meet a VERY Influential Guy - Thomas Barnett in Ottawa 29 Nov
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 22:43:37 »
FMAS?

I am going on a two day FMAS course and have a totally different perception of what it is than this.
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Unless so stated, they are reflective of my opinion -- and my opinion only, a right that I enjoy along with every other Canadian citizen.

Offline 54/102 CEF

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Re: Meet a VERY Influential Guy - Thomas Barnett in Ottawa 29 Nov
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 23:01:48 »
What I mean is the leadership will crunch numbers rather than crunch ideas
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Offline 54/102 CEF

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Re: Meet a VERY Influential Guy - Thomas Barnett in Ottawa 29 Nov
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2007, 10:54:51 »
A short version of Tomas Barnett`s Talk for you - pretty good. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/33
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Peacebuilding in Afghanistan
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2007, 18:26:43 »
Rather than start a new thread I though I would add this report; perhaps a Moderator can change the title to something like Symposia Reports.

I went to the first (of two) days of the University of Ottawa’s  brand new Centre for International Policy Study’s symposium on Peacebuilding in Afghanistan: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead. You can see the list of participants and agenda on the web site.

The conference was co-chaired by Roland Paris (who also moderated the Thomas P Barnett symposium upon which I reported earlier) and Pierre Beaudet.

There were several Ottawa and foreign heavy hitters present including: Abdullah Abdullah, former Foreign Minister of Afghanistan; David Bercuson, University of Calgary,  Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Bob Fowler, Former DM of DND, Peter Harder, Former DM of Foreign Affairs,  and Barnett Rubin, NYU.

I think Bob Fowler asked the key questions during the morning: “Who are ‘we’,” he asked, “and what is our aim?”

There are, clearly, several disparate interests in Afghanistan. It is unlikely, in the extreme, that Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, France Germany, NATO and the USA share many common objectives in that country. So, ‘we’ is not always a very useful term. As far as Canada is concerned it looks as though we have changed aims and may do so again.

Fowler’s question was not answered on Day 1; I’ll report later on Day 2, but I doubt we’ll make much progress.

The split was clear during parts of the sessions: The American contingent has several points of view – as we might expect when you assemble several very smart people to discuss a contentious issue. Ditto the Canadians, for much the same reasons. The regional people (from Pakistan, etc) were also divided but the Afghans were a bit more united: they almost all gave a cri de cœur asking that we stop prioritizing security over justice.

Here are few points in somewhat random order :

Anthony Cordesman: We can win the counterinsurgency but we must understand, measure and report, honestly, upon what we are doing  Fowler’s “what is the aim?” again. We have much bigger problems than just the military one – in fact the military bit may be easiest. We can win the military campaign and still lose the war. The current US and NASTO timelines are ridiculous. We need years and years to get the basics right. It is unlikely that the ANA, any of it, can be ready for much of anything before 2012.

Abdullah Abdullah: There has been real but very uneven progress thus far – uneven across functional and geographic lines. The problems are much different, but from an Afghan POV, much “better” than the ones they faced in 2001. The main issue remains to help the Afghans run Afghanistan.

In response to Abdullah’s points a panellist noted that there is a pressing need for some financial stability. There is enough, maybe even too much money pouring into Afghanistan but it’s neither stable nor guaranteed. Good management, even just barely acceptable management requires stable, predictable funding.

Although there was a complete session devoted to Opium, I think the key point was made early: the problem is not opium or poppy growing: it is money. We need to get the money out of the hands of the various groups and factions that, together, make up the enemy. They are narco-funded. At the end of the day Prof. Zücher,  Freie Universität Berlin, talked 9as did several others) about the right mix of carrots and sticks. “Use both carrots and sticks on the national and provincial governments,” he said, “but remember that only carrots will work on the farmer. He’s already been beaten with too many sticks.”

Seth Jones, RAND Corporation: We are failing at the critical local government level. The Afghanistan war is the lowest funded (by America) war since World War II. We (the US, anyway) are trying to do it on the cheap.

Sarah Chayes, Arghand Cooperative, Kandahar (very interesting woman): The war has shifted from an invasion (of Afghanistan) by Pakistan’s proxies to a much more internal rebellion, because the Afghan local governments and, especially, the ANP are so corrupt and so inept.

Barnett Rubin: There is a major cultural problem (you know I love guys who say culture matters. Afghanistan is a 19th century political construct (made to appease the British Empire) without a unifying national culture.  The Taliban ≠ al Qaeda, but the Government of Afghanistan (Kabul) and ISAF are pushing them closer together. The soldiers fighting the counterinsurgency campaign must identify and solve the local problems and sources of dissatisfaction, thereby weakening the Taliban, et al. This is a regional (Pakistan + Afghanistan) [problem and we must solve it in both countries.

Andrew Wilder, Tufts University: Is there any evidence that the military PRTs are doing much if anything to win “hearts and minds?”

William Byrd, The World Bank: In 2002 we (US + ISAF) went on a peacekeeping mission. We failed; peacekeeping didn’t work. Now we have a counterinsurgency campaign and we don’t have enough troops – even if there were no caveats to fight and win it.

Ahmed Rashid, Journalist and writer based in Pakistan:  The Taliban and their fellow travellers learn fast. They are now targeting NATO’s weaklings’ (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) populations/public opinion, aiming to split ISAF. They are also targeting Canada on the political/media level.

Jonathan Goodhand,   University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies: We are far too focused on a “perfect” solution; we need to get up to a “just good enough” level and then address the next problem. We can build organizations but they have to make themselves into institutions. We need to start removing some “bad” key people in order to make “good enough” organizations which can, maybe, mature into “good” institutions.

More to follow.

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2007, 08:55:07 »
The 2nd day of the University of Ottawa symposium was more, but not totally, focused on military matters.

At the start, the Chair, Prof. Paris, posed three questions:

1.   What are the victory conditions? (This was phrased quite broadly, it was not until the end of the day that anyone really attempted to address it in Canadian military terms.)

2.   What steps must we take? (Again, the big, ill defined and, in my opinion non-existent “we.”)

3.   What are “we” doing wrong?

Sultana Parvanta (Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Gov’t of Afghanistan): Progress is being made but it is uneven. Expectations (donors’ and Afghan peoples’) are growing faster than progress. One error: many donor nations’ people fail to respect Afghanistan’s culture, especially its rather cumbersome consultative process and the respect which is paid to the views of elders. Infidel-6 has written about this here, on Army.ca but I cannot find the post right now.

Jonathan Goodhand (link in yesterday’s post): two kinds of development – planned (with Afghanistan’s governments (national and local) and “spontaneous” (decided by donor nation – sometimes to appease its own citizens). Development is “transforming” Afghanistan from a self sustaining but barely subsistence economy to a cash crop economy but most of the economy (92%) is foreign aid and too much of the remaining 8% is illicit. Too much aid is probably doing more harm than good but, in some donor nations, it sustains support for an unpopular military mission. The “metrics” for Afghanistan are set too high – again to appease donor nations’ own people. To quote an old maxim: the best is the bitter enemy of the good enough. We need to help Afghanistan to reach the “good enough” level and then declare victory and move on.

Omar Zakhilwal (President, Afghanistan Investment Support) Agency): there is progress but the Afghan people do not recognize it. Part if the problem is rising expectations with which the progress fails to keep up. But much of the “progress” is not properly planned (See Goodhand’s comments, above) and fails to meet the real local needs.

Bob Fowler (link in yesterday’s report): The opportunity costs are too high. We are spending way too much on Afghanistan and ignoring growing problems in e.g. Africa.

William Byrd (link in yesterday’s report): But there is an open window of opportunity in Afghanistan right now and we should exploit it while it is open. It will close soon enough and we can and should move on to other festering sores.

Byrd: Some (too many_ PRTs are doing little except serving donor nations’ own interests. Military PRTs are wasteful and ineffective except where security is weak. Three useful benchmarks for aid: Is it planned with the Gov’t of Afghanistan? Is it properly accounted for in the Gov’t of Afghanistan’s budget process? Is it serving the real, local needs as defined, in large measure, by the local leadership? At a guess less than 10% of aid would be measured as “effective” by these benchmarks.

Charles-Philippe David (Université du Québec à Montréal): recent Globe and Mail report says only 10% of Canadians take pride in our mission in Afghanistan. Gov’t of Canada is failing.

Barnett Rubin (link in yesterday’s report): Goals were set (properly) by UN et al but donor governments (especially US) reset them when they authorize money. Result: we are wasting money – doing some real good but not enough.

Ahmed Rashid (link in yesterday’s report): West, including Canada, needs to develop a strategy to deal with a succession of crises involving failed and failing states – that’s the world for the next 25-50 years. There was considerable support for this position over lunch and in discussions in the corridors. We must raise military budgets and build the sorts of forces we need to fight and win in e.g. Afghanistan (it’s way too late now) and Darfur, where “we” are going, eventually, like it or not. The big “we” needs to learn to coordinate – the state of internal coordination (of 3D) within ISAF is pathetic. Neither NATO nor the UN is properly equipped to lead the missions which will be necessary and the US is an unacceptable leader, for now and probably the next decade.

Flora MacDonald (former Minister of External Affairs for Canada): There is uneven progress, some military PRTs are working as well as they can but most are not doing enough well enough. There is, in Canada, too much focus on the military/combat mission and not enough on the Diplomacy and Development goals – which are ill-defined. During the open discussion Alexa McDonough and other MPs would echo this point.

David Bercuson (link in yesterday’s report): All I can say is that he must read Ruxted.ca – his presentation nearly copied several Ruxted reports!

Bob Fowler: success, military or diplomatic is problematical. There are several (I think he listed (very, very quickly) four or five) ‘conditions” which will make success, for Canada, impossible. When any of these conditions obtain we should have the political “smarts” and will to withdraw, quickly.

----------

During the conference much of the most interesting discussion took place over lunch and in the corridors. Here are a few snippets (without naming any names):

+ The CF is doing a great job but the Gov’t of Canada (Chrétien through Harper) is failing and Canada will, likely fail because of the Gov’t.

+ Canada wants to do the right thing but doesn’t understand the situation.

+ Every single air attack, no matter how careful and militarily useful and justified, is wrong because the Afghans hate them.

+ We cannot, ever, in any way, “defeat” the Taliban, especially in Kandahar. Negotiation is the only answer. The only question is: how (in 3D terns0 do we improve President Karzai’s negotiating position?

+ Where do the Taliban go? Across the border, to Pakistan? No! They go across the street to their home and then to their job – paid for by the Canadian PRT.

+ Africa is far more dangerous, in the long term than West/central Asia.

+ The only “solution” for Afghanistan is regional and must include Iran, Pakistan, the other “stans” and Russia – none of which, especially Russia, is playing any constructive role. The US must talk with Iran about regional stability.

----------

If there was any consensus at the end of two days it was:

Canada, and its allies must not back away now or soon unless one of Bob Fowler’s conditions obtains, in which case we cannot win and should stop trying.

There are “victory conditions” and they are much like Ruxted’s suggestion. There are also “failure conditions” and one of them obtains when the Afghans stop seeing ISAF as a friend as start seeing it as an occupying power.

Aid/development is working but poorly and too slowly and “we” are not getting anything like value for money.

Again and again Afghans expressed there deep and, I think sincere gratitude for the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers and the hard work of our PRT.
 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 13:55:54 by E.R. Campbell »
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2007, 11:29:47 »
A few additional points and thoughts on the recent University of Ottawa symposium on Peacebuilding in Afghanistan:

Points:

•   Despite the (relative) efficiency of the US policy development system, politicians, including the US president appear congenitally unable to manage more than one crisis at a time. In the case of Afghanistan, where America is the undisputed “leader,” everything is filtered through President Bush’s Iraq policy. That the two problems are quite different is beside the point; almost every foreign and defence policy decision taken by President Bush is based on what it means to Iraq. Canada, especially in a minority government situation, is worse – almost every policy position is based on how it may effect the next election.

•   Canadian politicians, academics and journalists, almost universally, are ill informed and lazy. They hate policy because it is hard to craft and even harder to implement. Bureaucrats, on the other hand, love policy but too many, especially in DFAIT, are inept. The problem is that politicians, journalists and academics “inform” the public which, ipso facto, must be even less well informed than the ill-informed louts in parliament, the media and academe.

•   DFAIT has been “hollowed out” over the past (take your pick) year, decade, forty years.

•   Aid agencies, like CIDA, are good things and need to be strengthened. Especially, their “arms length” relationship with the executive/centre must be, at least, retained. or Aid agencies are inefficient and ineffective. They have too few controls because they are too far from the centre and they do not understand that they must coordinate development/aid with political and military programmes.

•   The UN is the only, at least best hope for managing the crises which will confront us for the next half century ±. or The UN is quite hopeless and NATO has, as Ruxted said, gone from being the cornerstone of our foreign policy to a stumbling block. Thus, there is a either a pressing need to reform the UN or a pressing need to find a replacement for it (and NATO) as the “security/military sub-contractor.”

•   DND, the CF, proper, DFAIT, CIDA and the PCO rarely communicate amongst themselves – not effectively, at least. The “suits” do not like or understand the soldiers, the soldiers reciprocate. The “turf wars” within DND and between DND , DFAIT and CIDA are endangering our chances of succeeding in Afghanistan.

•   Far too much attention is paid, by the less than well informed “opinion leaders,” to the military aspect of the Afghanistan mission which means that we are doing far less than we need to do in the Diplomacy and Development domains. If we fail in Afghanistan it will, likely, be because we “lose” Kandahar for non military reasons.

--------------------

My personal observations:

Very few of the influential Canadians support the military mission. Those influential Canadians tell the media what to tell us ordinary Canadians. Brian Stewart, the CBC journalist, confirmed this- indirectly – during the symposium. Part of the problem is that DND’s public affairs staff is seen, perversely, as “biased” but e.g. CARE Canada and even Steven Staples are seen as “unbiased” or as being “expert.” It is a huge media (and academic) blind spot which, I think, dates back to Vietnam.

Bob Fowler is right; we (Canadians, including military people) do not understand that “we” is a false model. There is no “we.” We, in ISAF, for example, includes Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. We must not think that Canada and the US share many aims and objectives in Afghanistan. We are both there for our own national interests but our interests are not alike, in fact they are not even very similar. Some of our interests, like improving Canada’s standing in the world, are, in fact, at odds with the US aim of maintaining and enhancing its status and influence. Fowler is also right when he says that we, all of us in Canada, have lost sight of the aim. I think we had a fairly clear aim when Chrétien was in office; but see: http://ruxted.ca/index.php?/archives/2-The-Lack-of-Leadership.html . Harper, especially, has obscured the aim, presumably for what he sees as good political reasons. Canadians, especially Canadian soldiers, deserve to know why our sons and daughters are fighting and dying.

If we lose Afghanistan, and we have at least an even chance of doing so, then the impact on the CF and our broader military community will be devastating – the more so because if we lose in Afghanistan it is very unlikely to be because of a military failure. Many influential people in that room already think the military is the problem in world affairs, not (part of) the soluition.

Gen. Hillier is, simultaneously, admired for his drive and communication skill and detested for his effectiveness and “values.”

Most of the attitudes held by Canadian politicians, journalists and academics is driven by deeply ingrained, very unspecific anti-Americanism. Most of those politicians, journalists and academics hate George W. Bush with a deep and abiding passion even as they, consistently, misunderstand or misrepresent his policies. This is very dangerous for us because it means we are making decisions for all the wrong reasons – we are doing things to “offend” George W. Bush not to serve Canada’s interests. The knee-jerk anti-Americanism is not confined to the “left.” (Political) Conservatives and so-called “right wing” people expressed them, too.

We stumbled into Afghanistan and we are still stumbling. Prime Minister Harper wants out, sooner rather than later, but he doesn’t want to pay any political price. He is trying to start getting out be not getting us in any deeper - which may be a serious mistake. We need to get in deeper to help get ourselves out – which is the right long term objective.

I suspect Fowler, Rubin and others are right. We are facing a half century of crises caused by failed and failing states. I do not think Africa is the only or even biggest problem. I think we will have several more West/Central Asian problems before Africa explodes. Pakistan might be the next one. It may have a civil war which be just too attractive for India not to exploit. Saudi Arabia is our biggest threat. It’s money funds radical Egyptian intellectuals who, in turn, animate Arab/Islamist radicalism. The Arabs/Islamists will have a useful nuclear capability within a decade. Some of them are going to use it against someone. The so called Islamic Crescent, which stretches from Morocco to Indonesia will explode and we, the US led West, will be drawn in – if we don’t jump in first and create some of the crises.


It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2007, 15:11:49 »
Whoops; I forgot two important but related items:

1. "We" - someone, anyway - is going to Sudan sometime fairly soon, maybe even within the next couple of years; and

2. If anyone thinks Afghanistan is tough wait until "we" get to Sudan. It will be tough and bloody and the NDP will start screaming "Troops out, NOW!" after whoever "we" is has been there for about a week.

The discussion went something like this:

No matter how many troops the African Union (AU) contributes they will remain ineffective - largely for C3I and logistical reasons. Installing a 1st World "top hat" to address the C3I and logistics deficiencies will not work either. What's needed is a two phase programme:

Phase 1 a "Western" force (which could have a major Chinese component) goes in and replaces the Sudanese administration and pacifies Darfur; then

Phase 2 a UN peacekeeping force with a very large AU contingent and considerable 1st and 2nd world elements, too, keeps the peace and protects development agencies for something akin to 10 years.

There was a subsequent discussion, in the corridors, re: the necessity of breaking the inviolable status of African borders. We could have/should have done this in Congo in 1957 but we lacked the skill and courage. It needs to happen sooner or later.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2007, 12:42:46 »
The discussion went something like this:

No matter how many troops the African Union (AU) contributes they will remain ineffective - largely for C3I and logistical reasons. Installing a 1st World "top hat" to address the C3I and logistics deficiencies will not work either. What's needed is a two phase programme:

Phase 1 a "Western" force (which could have a major Chinese component) goes in and replaces the Sudanese administration and pacifies Darfur; then

Phase 2 a UN peacekeeping force with a very large AU contingent and considerable 1st and 2nd world elements, too, keeps the peace and protects development agencies for something akin to 10 years.

Phase 3: the infidel crusaders have destroyed another islamic government, buses start running daily from Al Azhar to Khartoum, and our new C-17's bring flag-draped caskets home as another IED campaign kicks off.

We've (the CF) proven that we're ready to deal with this - is the NDP?
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2008, 09:12:57 »
Members in the Ottawa area may find some or all of these Centre for International Policy Studies
(University of Ottawa) presentations interesting:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canada’s Next Commander in Kandahar

DENIS THOMPSON
Brigadier-General, Canadian Forces
Commander, Joint Task Force-Afghanistan

speaking on

“Present Thinking on Kandahar Province”

Wednesday, April 23, 5:00 p.m.
Room 1160, Desmarais Hall
55 Laurier Ave. East (at Nicholas)

Brigadier-General Thompson will shortly leave Canada to assume command in Kandahar.

His presentation will be in English, and the question period will be in French and English.

This event, presented in association with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, is free and open to the public.  Registration is not required.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

An Expert on International Security

STEPHEN SAIDEMAN
Canada Research Chair in International Security and Ethnic Conflict
Associate Professor of Political Science, McGill University

speaking on

“The Challenges of National Caveats in NATO’s First Counter-Insurgency Campaign”

Wednesday, April 30, 1:00 p.m.
Room 3102, Desmarais Hall
55 Laurier Ave. East (at Nicholas)

Professor Saideman recently returned from a study trip to Afghanistan.

This event, co-sponsored by the Conflict Studies and Human Rights Program at the University of Ottawa, will take place in English.  It is free and open to the public.  Registration is not required.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

An Expert on Peacebuilding

MARIE-JOËLLE ZAHAR
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Montreal

speaking on

“Peacebuilding Theory and Practice: Lessons from and for Afghanistan”

Wednesday, May 7, 3:00 p.m.
Room 3102, Desmarais Hall
55 Laurier Ave. East (at Nicholas)

This event, co-sponsored by the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, is free and open to the public.  It will take place in French and English.  Registration is not required.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2009, 07:30:51 »
I attended a talk by Dambisa Moyo yesterday. It was sponsored by Canada 2020. (I’m not a member but I do enjoy many of their events.)

It was pretty predictable, at least it was for those who have read her book – everyone interested in Africa should (and CF members should be interested in Africa). She emphasized that she is an economist and her arguments are those of an economist and she apologized because they have been misrepresented by the mainstream, celebrity obsessed media who cannot figure out why her views ought to be taken as seriously as, say, those of Bono or Bob Geldof.

She also emphasized that she is taking aim at official development aid, not emergency humanitarian aid or local, small project, “charity” both of which she accepts as necessary and very human responses to poverty and disaster.

Her argument for letting the Chinese and Middle Eastern investors “in” will continue to discomfit Euro-American traditional hypocrites – especially when she explains that it’s OK for America to go, cap in hand, to the Beijing bankers but, somehow, not OK for Africa to do the same.

After a brief talk she was “interviewed” by Paul Wells. He did a quite good job, until he got into an economic theory he doesn’t quite understand. Moyo is, of course, very used to critical questions and she had no problems with any of the predictable softballs he lobbed her way. It’s a pity she could not have been “interviewed” by someone with equally “good” economic credentials. Her arguments about how private capital can be harnessed to develop Africa need to be considered and only expert, critical questioning will do it.

By the way, the less "complex, challenging" missions about which Mr. Fowler speaks are in Africa and they are the direction in which the celebrities would have us go.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 07:52:07 »
It’s a pity she could not have been “interviewed” by someone with equally “good” economic credentials.

While I lack the requisite economic credentials, I can attest that she's hot   :nod:

  - Dambisa Moyo courtesy of The New York Times

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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2009, 08:01:35 »
Almost as hot in person as in her well stocked photo album. There is also a theory that smart, confident women are sexier than dumb human ground-sheets; true, I think.

I had a chance for a few semi-private words. She is pretty compelling.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2009, 08:07:08 »
By the way, the less "complex, challenging" missions about which Mr. Fowler speaks are in Africa and they are the direction in which the celebrities would have us go.
I know we can't read minds, but does he really think African missions would be less "complex" or "challenging" than Afghanistan?  I'd say (to overgeneralize) there's different languages/cultural groupings/tribal & government dynamics to deal with, but just as messy.
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2009, 08:35:37 »
I think the complexity and the challenges to which Mr. Fowler refers are those faced by policy makers and opinion leaders.

Part of the problem we, the American led West, face is that many (most?) of us do not believe the narratives offered by our leaders: not by Blair/Bush and not by Brown/Obama or Harper/Obama, either. And that mistrust is just as evident amongst Americans as it is amongst Australians, Belgians, Canadians and so on.

America's once huge stock of political capital, earned by blood, treasure, ingenuity and soft power, too, is wasted. Americans, Australians, Canadians, Europeans of all stripes, Asians and all the others no longer believe.

I doubt Mr. Fowler thinks Africa is simple or easy; but he thinks it is a mission people can comprehend and support. That makes is achievable. Lack of public comprhension and lack of public support may render the Afghanistan mission impossible.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2009, 09:21:45 »
She makes eminently more sense than some of the vague chattering by so called experts in how to make Africa work for itself....probably the most compelling being to cut of the welfare aid that Africa has come to depend on, rather than work towards making their economies work......

The West (collective) needs to understand that not everybody they help are going to appreciate it and sing Kumb Bye Ah....nor are they going to allow real democratic rule....they are a tribal societies and have been for thousands of years....
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2009, 17:23:10 »
I attended a talk at the University of Ottawa today, sponsored by Centre for International Policy Studies by Daryl Copeland to promote his new book, Guerrilla Diplomacy.

You can get a good taste of his ideas here.

Copeland situates everything in one longish sentence with a 3D flavour:

If development is the new security in the era of globalization, then diplomacy muct displace defence at the centre of international policy.

By that he means: If (it is by no means certain that it will happen) development (by which he means giving the poor in the world access to the benefits of globalization) is the new security (he interprets security to mean "freedom from fear" and freedom from want) in the era of globalization (today, the era after the Cold War) then diplomacy (negotiation - the sort of things upon which the W2I people are focused) must displace defence (the sort of things upon which the Army.ca people are focused) at the centre of international policy (which goes beyond just foreign policy and embraces domestic, trade and humanitarian matters, too).

Guerrilla diplomacy aims to extend the spectrum which now extends from:

Public Diplomacy                                                                                                                            Traditional Diplomacy
National leaders to the peoples of another nation <===========>   National ambassadors deal with foreign ministers


To something new:

Guerrilla Diplomacy <===========> Public Diplomacy <=============> Traditional Diplomacy
National diplomats to the people/     National leaders to the                             National ambassadors
individual of another nation              peoples of another nation                   deal with foreign ministers



It is a seductive message, carefully crafted to appeal to those who sense that soldiers and militarism have overtaken peaceful negotiations, etc, etc. It is also carefully situated in a "world" in which the "threats" are global climate change, pandemics and poverty rather than radical Islam or terrorism. If you buy into Copelands "new world" then you will want his new world order.

--------------------
My opinions:


1. Our experience, about 6,000 years of it "on the record," is that diplomacy always fails and that defence must rush in to fill two roles:

+ Wrecking crew - to destroy the diplomatic and political structures that failed; and

+ Clean-up crew - to reset the table for new diplomatic efforts - which will fail again.

Copeland accepts the history but not the predictive part. He believes, as he must, I suppose, that guerrilla diplomacy can fix all that

2. Soldiers are not diplomats, guerrilla or otherwise (Copeland agrees) and diplomats (and civil servants) are not soldiers. Too many diplomats are serving too far forward (Copeland disagrees because guerrilla diplomats are supposed to be "out and about") and too many soldiers are mentoring civil government officials (Copeland agrees) even when there is no one else willing or able to do it.

3. Foreign Affairs needs more resources for missions, including something akin to Copeland's guerrilla diplomats, in more and more places. (Copeland agrees, of course.)

4. We need several, new, only loosely coordinated and actually competitive, intelligence services, including a defence intelligence service, that can operate separately from the diplomatic community. (Copeland disagrees).
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2009, 07:51:27 »
Here is a link to Copeland's talk at the Munk Centre in Toronto which will give a pretty good idea of his talk in Ottawa.

You can sense his frustration with decades of diplomatic action, perhaps inaction, that was driven by Cold War imperatives. He is wrong, of course, about an undifferentiated threat - it was well differentiated in defence ministries, senior civilian and military officers well understood, took careful account of, and exploited the significant differences between e.g. China and Russia and Cuba and some Marxist Africans, but he may be right that foreign ministries were not so careful or thoughtful.

He's right, as was Churchill, in saying that talking ("jaw-jaw") is usually better than fighting ("war-war") but at some point in the process, history teaches us, the talking becomes less and less useful and war becomes an option - sometimes the most even the only useful option.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2009, 15:10:17 »
I attended a briefing by Andrew Wilder, Research Director for Policy Process at Tufts University’s (Medford, Mass) Feinstein International Center on Winning Hearts And Minds:
Questioning The Effectiveness Of Aid In Promoting Stability In Afghanistan at the University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies.

Wilder is one of a rather small minority of experts who actually go to Afghanistan and talk to Afghans and foreigners about what’s going on.

Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Tufts University web site is an in house interview (puff piece) that summarizes some of Dr. Wilder’s views:

http://tuftsjournal.tufts.edu/2009/09_2/corner/01/
Quote
The Real Problem in Afghanistan
It’s not that the Taliban are winning, it’s that the government is losing, says an international aid expert

By Taylor McNeil

The war in Afghanistan is in the news almost every day, and it’s hard to escape the images of villagers caught in the middle of the conflict. With a growing Taliban insurgency centered in the south and southeast, the violence continues to escalate.
 
It’s a situation Andrew Wilder, F89, F96, knows all too well. A research director for the Feinstein International Center since early 2007, he managed humanitarian aid and development programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan for 10 years while working for Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children. From 2002 to 2005, he established and served as the first director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), Afghanistan’s leading independent policy research organization.

Now he’s heading a study examining how humanitarian aid is affecting efforts to stabilize the war-torn country. Funded by AREU and the governments of Australia, Norway and Sweden, the study has taken him back to Afghanistan four times in the past year to interview Afghans and internationals of all stripes: government leaders, military personnel, tribal elders and villagers.

His initial findings might not fit easily with preconceived notions about the role of aid in countries in conflict. Wilder believes that too much aid, especially in the insecure regions of Afghanistan, is leading to more instability. Money is siphoned off by corrupt government officials, which fuels anti-government sentiment in the people who are supposed to benefit from that aid. On the other hand, regions that are relatively stable receive much less aid than unstable areas—and that’s a mistake, too, according to Wilder, because people feel like they are being penalized for maintaining security. Aid programs, he concludes, need to focus on humanitarian and developmental needs instead of security goals.

Wilder has brought his policy recommendations to the highest levels in Washington. His efforts have included a meeting with Richard Holbrooke, H97, the State Department’s special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan. “I want very much for the research findings to be heard in policy circles,” Wilder says.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Wilder came to the United States to attend college. He later received an M.A. in law and diplomacy and a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School; his doctoral thesis was on Pakistani politics. His roots in the region stretch back even further than his upbringing: his grandparents were missionary doctors in India for 40 years.

Tufts Journal: Can humanitarian aid be used as a tool for stabilization and security in Afghanistan?

Security is the number-one desire of Afghans and the international community. If aid programs indeed have a significant security benefit, then I think there would be some justification for programming some of our development aid to try to achieve those benefits. But as far as I can see, there’s very little evidence that poverty, or the lack of infrastructure and health care in Afghanistan, are major causes of the conflict. All those things are important, but that’s not what’s driving the conflict.

We operate under the assumption that spending more aid money in the insecure areas improves security. But we don’t have evidence that it’s actually achieving these security objectives. That’s why I’m urging some caution, since our research is showing not only is aid not stabilizing, it can also be destabilizing.

How would aid be destabilizing?

The more money we try to spend in this environment, which has very limited human resources and institutional capacity, inevitably money overflows into the pockets of corrupt officials. Our aid programs are actually fueling the corruption, which is de-legitimizing the government, which is fueling instability.

But can humanitarian aid play a useful role in Afghanistan?

Humanitarian aid plays a very important role in Afghanistan, but I think it’s important that humanitarian aid be provided on an impartial basis, based on needs—and the needs in Afghanistan are tremendous. I think we do have lots of evidence that aid can be effective in addressing humanitarian and development needs. But there isn’t evidence that it is effective in addressing security needs.

What do Afghans view as the cause of the conflict?
 
I just got back from Afghanistan in July, and spent some time in one of the southern provinces, Urozgan, which is quite badly affected by the insurgency. I was interviewing Afghans on their perceptions of insecurity and of aid. It was interesting the number of people who thought that what was fueling insecurity was not the Taliban, but their own corrupt and ineffective government.

I think this is one of the real problems in Afghanistan. It’s not necessarily that the Taliban are winning, it’s that the government is losing. It’s the government that we help support and that we are closely affiliated with that is viewed as corrupt and predatory by many Afghans. In some areas, that is leading some Afghans to start reminiscing and say, “When the Taliban were in charge there were problems. But we didn’t have these warlords, and we had some form of justice. And the police then weren’t ripping us off.”

How did we get into this mess?

Certainly early on serious mistakes were made. A few weeks after 9/11, we invaded Afghanistan with U.N. Security Council support and defeated the Taliban. But our objectives then were pretty narrowly focused on defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida and on the war on terror. There wasn’t much of a strategy beyond that.

As a quick-fix solution, we basically re-armed all the warlords who were willing to fight the Taliban. But they were the very ones who gave birth to the Taliban in the first place, since people were so fed up with the warlords. Most Afghans held them accountable for most of the instability of the previous 20 years. So very quickly we brought back to power some of the most unpopular and discredited individuals from the past, and they became the backbone of this new government that many Afghans see as part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

What is the solution?
 
If we’re ever going to have any success in Afghanistan, it’s going to be due to some kind of political reconciliation. And that’s where our dilemma lies. We have a government now that should be doing the political piece, but I’m not convinced that they feel it’s in their interest to do that, because they are doing pretty well. Maintaining the status quo is, I think, in the interest of a lot of the key people we’re relying on to push the political process forward.

In other words, if you’re a politician in Kabul and all this money is coming in—and some falls into your pocket—what’s the incentive to change?

This is one reason why I’m in the less-is-more camp in Afghanistan. Some of our aid—it also includes a lot of security contracting and aid contracting—is needed, but we should be sure that what we do can be monitored and is effective and accountable and is not fueling corruption.

How does aid money work against our interests?

For example, we’re now spending hundreds of millions of dollars on road building. Roads are important. But there is mounting evidence that to build a road in an insecure area, you have to give money to the Taliban not to shoot your workers. So our aid money is actually ending up in Taliban coffers.

These deals are being made, and that’s where I would argue that we need to limit the amount of aid that goes to Afghanistan and focus more on the critical aspects: better governance and fighting corruption. We’re not going to get 100 percent here. But I think we need to give the Afghan public some perception that the government is moving in the right direction rather than continuing to move in the wrong direction.

When we hear about the Taliban, they seem to be a monolithic force. Are they really?

There are Taliban, and there are Taliban. There are some Talibs who are ideologically very committed; they need to fight this jihad. There are some who find it convenient to call themselves Taliban to intimidate other people. There are criminal Taliban, who use it as a guise to be highway bandits. There are tribal disputes where one group gets patronized by the government or the international community, so rival tribes—to maintain their power—have to align themselves with the Taliban. So you have people who are falling under the label of Taliban for many different reasons.

This is where we need much more nuanced political analysis, and I think that’s where the local knowledge and working and deal making at the local level are critically important. Because today’s Talib is tomorrow’s ally, and the next day’s Talib again. It’s a very fluid political situation.

Does the widespread poverty in Afghanistan fuel the conflict?

If anything, it’s the attempts to develop and modernize that fuel insecurity. I’m not saying we shouldn’t develop and modernize, but we shouldn’t assume that it’s stabilizing.

You could argue that in Afghanistan being extremely poor is a stable state, and being developed is a stable state. But the process in between, as new social groups emerge and there are perceived winners and losers in the economic development process, that’s not stable.

I’m very curious why there is this very strong perception in counterinsurgency circles that it’s the poor people who are fueling radicalization. If you look at the 1970s in Afghanistan, it was the rapid social change with the emergence of Kabul University that led to the emergence of extreme Islamic groups and the communist parties, which basically fueled a lot of the last three decades of conflict. And that was due to modernization, not poverty.

It seems that the U.S. and the international community would like to go in and clean up the Afghan government—from politicians to police—since the Afghans in power are not doing that.
 
That’s a real danger. And it’s one of the reasons why I’m opposed to what’s being called “the civilian surge,” which is to send more U.S. civilians in to work on reconstruction teams. One concern is that the more we end up doing, the more difficult it’s going to be to come up with an exit strategy. But more importantly, we can support reform efforts but we can’t lead them—they have to be Afghan led and Afghan owned if they’re going to work. That’s why I think until there is a government that is interested in reducing corruption and trying to govern more effectively, much of our aid money will simply continue to fuel corruption.

Isn’t it true, too, that these civilians could be easily manipulated by the locals?

That is absolutely the case, and it’s why I’m quite skeptical about sending Westerners to mentor the Afghans on how to do policing or good governance. When I see some retired cop from Bavaria or Nevada come out, and they are going to mentor some wily Afghan chief of police at a provincial headquarters—I think, who is mentoring whom? These guys are not where they are for nothing. They know how to run the drug networks; they know who’s who. I sometimes think we’re quite naïve.

There is a really strong sense of hospitality in Afghanistan, but that hospitality can also be used very strategically. I’ve often seen, and myself been victim to, falling in that web of hospitality and being played very skillfully as a result.

How can we measure success—or failure—in Afghanistan?
 
Having spent almost all my professional life working on Afghanistan, I don’t think it’s a country we should walk away from. But I’m skeptical that our current definitions of success are going to be achievable. I think we need to be more realistic in terms of what is achievable in the Afghan context. Our goals should probably be a lot less ambitious. What we end up achieving will probably not be viewed as “a success” by many people – Afghan or international. But I’m still hopeful that if we try to focus on doing a few things well, and recognize that there are no quick-fix solutions, we can avoid a repeat of the disastrous consequences of our prematurely walking away from Afghanistan nearly two decades ago.

Taylor McNeil can be reached at taylor.mcneil@tufts.edu


Wilder challenges most of the assumptions that appear to drive US (especially, and his main area of research), Canadian and NATO/ISAF operations in Afghanistan, especially the assumption that aid improves stability. He contends that the evidence says otherwise. Some University of Ottawa researchers who have worked/are working in North-East Afghanistan, also studying the impact and effectiveness of aid, agreed with him on that point. (Wilder’s research was, mainly, in and around Paktia and Khost provinces.)

Wilder discussed BGen Jon Vance’s recent remarks on aid vs. security. Wilder doesn’t disagree but he points out that the locals are, too often, caught between a rock (Vance’s Canadians) and a hard place (Taliban). Vance says, “Stop the bombers or I wont dig your wells.” The Taliban says, “Try to report us to Vance and his soldiers and we’ll cut your throats.”

Wilder’s recommendations are:

•   Policies (not just on aid) should be evidence based;

•   Prioritize quality (perhaps utility) of aid over quantity;

•   Accept that bigger ≠ better;

•   Recognize that aid can be destabilizing;

•   Reward security, not insecurity; (i.e. BGen Vance is right, IF he reduces aid to insecure areas and offers more to areas where aid is working – reward success and punish failure. In a broader sense, perhaps it is time to move more aid to the North, away from Kandahar and Helmand, etc. )

•   Prioritize development over security; and

•   Governance and the rule of law are keys to all long term success in Afghanistan.

Wilder has promised to send me his slide deck and I will post it when I get it.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2009, 09:02:48 »
Andrew Wilder sent me his slide deck but, since he is still using it at universities and think tanks throughout North America, he has asked that it should not be posted on the web. Here, however, are a couple of “bullet lists” that will help to give some ideas of what he thinks is going wrong:

Questionable Stabilization Assumptions

•   Poverty and a lack of reconstruction are significant causes of conflict and the insurgency
•   There is a linear causal relationship between reconstruction assistance, economic development and stabilization
•   Aid projects make you popular and help “win hearts and minds”
•   Extending the reach of the central government in Afghanistan contributes to stabilization

And:

•   Historical evidence does not support assumption [that: ”Security and Development are two sides of the same coin.” (Hamid Karzai, Tokyo Conference 2002) and ”By building trust and confidence in Coalition forces, these CERP [Commander’s Emergency Response Program] projects increase the flow of intelligence to commanders in the field and help turn local Iraqis and Afghans against insurgents and terrorists.” (Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, 2007)]
•   [There is] Little evidence that poverty or lack of reconstruction are significant drivers of current insurgency in Afghanistan
•   [There is] Little evidence that post-9/11 humanitarian and development efforts in Afghanistan have had a stabilization impact

Further, here is a link to a related OP-Ed piece Dr. Wilder wrote for the Boston Globe.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2009, 17:24:14 »
I attended a presentation by Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institute which is, regularly, described as one of the three most influential policy institutes in the U.S. and has been variously described, by the New York Times alone, as liberal, liberal-centrist, centrist, and conservative – which may say more about the shift in the NY Times’ views than it says about Brookings.

The key thing about Riedel is that he chaired Obama’s strategic review on Afghanistan and Pakistan which was completed in Mar 09and was adopted by NATO as its own grand strategy at the Apr 09 Heads of Government meeting in Strasbourg. Riedel assigned two attributes to Obama’s view of the strategy: adaptive and reactive, suggesting that Obama is prepared to revisit it as the situation demands.

Al Qaeda, Riedel says, is alive and well. After eight years of fighting we have managed to move its command team from a known place – Kandahar – to an unknown place, probably somewhere in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier region – this despite the biggest “manhunt” the world has ever seen with the greatest rewards ever offered.

Al Qaeda is not alone, it is a (relatively) small organization that operates as part of a loose syndicate of various and sundry Islamist or jihadist movements – most funded, to a greater or lesser degree, from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and some allied with Pakistan’s intelligence services.

The war in Afghanistan is, currently, being lost, but it is not over, yet.

The enemy has the momentum; the enemy has, in fact, seized the strategic and tactical initiative – according to Riedel because former President George WE. Bush frittered away America’s military strength and political capital in Iraq.

Riedel says Gen. McChrystal’s analysis and prescription are, broadly, correct even if his delivery may “do in” the whole enterprise. We need “smart COIN” to win.

The situation is not, or need not be hopeless: most Afghans want NATO/ISAF to “win” by helping the legitimate government of Afghanistan to be able to defeat (or at least contain) the Taliban. Riedel points out that there is no ”national” insurgency. There is a Pashtun insurgency which is, largely, confined to a few regions in the South and East.

The ANA, according to Riedel, is the key to winning, but it is not good enough, yet. It can and must get better. The momentum can be reversed if the ANA can be made to work.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are different – not one big AFPAK issue. Pakistan is the bigger, more dangerous and more difficult. Pakistan is, simultaneously, both a patron and victim of terrorism. Pakistan is fighting a real war against some terrorists in e.g. the Swat Valley even as it uses other terrorist groups for its own purposes. Pakistan is focused on India and Pakistani mischief making has turned India into a real threat.

But there is good news, too. There are credible reports that India and Pakistan opened a backchannel that developed, at least, a framework for future cooperation. But even as some Pakistani leaders work for peace others, representing a ”dark side” of Pakistan, continue to promote violence and terrorism in an effort to promote an India-Pakistan nuclear war which, despite their beliefs, Pakistan cannot win, possible cannot even survive.

India is a key player in the region. President Bush was right to engage it and the engagement needs to continue but India does not want American interference in its diplomacy with Pakistan and China. The Indians and the Chinese (and many Americans, too, including Riedel) are convinced that American diplomacy is too clumsy, too public and quite incapable of the subtlety that is needed to deal with the hugely complex web of Sino-India relations. None of the three (China, India or Pakistan) trusts America to stay the course, any course.

America is having serious second thoughts about Afghanistan because of the “sticker shock” caused by McChrystal’s report which came too far after the new NATO strategy. The election fiasco and, even worse, the duelling Op Eds between UN mission head Kai Eide and former deputy head Peter Galbraith over the extent of the corruption in the recent elections has further eroded Americans’ confidence.

Obama’s political “enemy,” in Washington, is the Democratic base.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2009, 13:21:28 »
I attended a very interesting talk by US Navy Capt (Ret’d) R. Robinson Harris of Lockheed Martin MS2 Integrated Defense Technologies who is also a member of the Canadian Navy’s Strategic Advisory Group. I hope my highly imperfect knowledge of naval matters is sufficient to give a reasonably accurate picture of what he had to say.

The official “blurb” says:

Quote
Drawing on his naval, policy, and industry experience, R. Robinson Harris will discuss trends in the development of the next generation surface combatants. At the forefront of these trends are innovative forms of modularity and sustainability that will transform how future navies can operate and deploy, a reality that the Canadian government, ship-building industry, and Navy must consider as they begin contemplating the replacement of Canada's frigates and destroyers.

Captain Harris retired from the U. S. Navy in 1998 after 30 years of commissioned service. A Surface Warfare Officer, he served in a number of surface combatants and aircraft carriers. He commanded the Tomahawk Strike Destroyer, USS CONOLLY (DD 979) and Destroyer Squadron 32. Since retiring from the Navy, Captain Harris has worked for Lockheed Martin where he currently serves as Director of Advanced Concepts. He has led numerous seminars, workshops, and wargames pertaining to the Navy's '3-1 Strategy', '1000 Ship Navy', 'Global Fleet Stations,' and Riverine Warfare. He also participated in development of the Navy's new strategy, 'A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.' He currently serves as an Adviser to the CNO Strategic Studies Group, and he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs. He has served on the Canadian Navy's Strategic Advisory Group since 2008. Most recently he was appointed to the Secretary of the Navy's Naval Research Advisory Committee.

Capt Harris framed his remarks on the US Navy’s Cooperative Strategy which, in a rather Taoist way, rests on the principle that “Preventing wars is just as important as winning wars.” This is, in many respects a very common sense approach for navies because they have, traditionally, been the strategic “war prevention” service. Capt Harris believes that the USN’s cooperative strategy will drive Canada’s naval strategy. He focused, above all, on the need for flexibility – especially considering the ever lengthening service life that Canada demands of its warships. He very correctly, pointed out that no one, not Barack Obama and not Hu Jintao and certainly not Peter MacKay, has any idea at5 all about what the world will look like in 20, much less 50 years.

He discussed five “keys” to warship flexibility:

•   SIZE;
•   MODELARITY;
•   OPEN ARCHITECTURE;
•   INTEROPERABILITY; AND
•   UNMANNED VEHICLES.

 Size, Capt Harris suggested, does matter. He noted that steel is cherap; typically the “platform” is only about ⅓ of the capital cost of a warship and the capital cost is only a tiny percent of the life cycle costs so it is cheap and easy to “go big” which also improves both seakeeping and habitability and allows for better choices of weapon systems.

Modularity, he offered, is the “smart” way to design. He offered to sorts of modularity – one based on the German Meko system or the Danish Stanaflex system.


A roll-on roll-off ramp installed at the stern of the ship accesses the flex deck (flexible deck).

Of the two, he prefers the Danish model which, he suggested, is the base upon which the US Littoral Combat Ship’s modular design was based.


Cutaway of GD design showing internal spaces for mission modules.

Open Architecture involves providing a common (to the whole navy) “electronic backbone” for the ships so that C2 and weapons and control systems can all be standardized and can evolve, together, over time.

Interoperability within the nation’s fleets and between nations’ fleets and with other services is essential and, technically, relatively easy to accomplish on a small scale – say a half dozen countries. It gets harder and harder and, eventually, become a practical impossibility as the number of services (navy, air force, army, coast guard, police, customs) and the number of countries grows. We (Australia, Britain, Canada, America and so on) have accomplished practical interoperability between navies and between naval air arms. Everything else, including NATO, is hard.

Unmanned vehicles. Capt Harris is a proponent of unmanned vehicles – air, surface and sub-surface – there was little debate on unmanned systems, per se but his contention that automation and unmanned systems can save on people was hotly debated. Seceral Canadian officers pointed out that the saving that US plans for the Littoral Combat Ship are only possible because it forms only a small part of a much larger fleet and it has a very restricted role. Canadians pointed to recent German and Singaporean experience that shows that their “reduced staffing” ships cannot sustain high tempo operations for any reasonable length of time.

A few observations:

1.   There is a need, in Canada, for a mixed fleet -

•   Small combatants (say, just for argument, between 1,500 and 2,500 tons, carrying unmanned air vehicles) that are “blue water” capable but serve primarily for coastal patrol and to train officers and sailors;

•   Large combatants (say 4,000 to 8,000 tons, carrying manned aircraft) (the CPF is 4,750± tons) for global operations;

•   Support ships (probably 25,000 to 50,000 tons);

•   Submarines; and

•   Miscellaneous vessels.

All should be designed to a common “open architecture,” all should be “interoperable” and all should “evolve” on a common path.

2.   Flexibility is, indeed, the primary requirement.

3.   Canada builds “platforms” (hulls) but then integrates weapons and systems from several countries. So does the US – up to about 30% of the content of the Littoral Combat Ship being sourced from offshore. BQ defence critic and Deputy Chair of the HoC Defence Committee Clasude Bachand questioned the US commitment to real standardization and interoperability and Capt Harris agreed with him that protectionism is alive and very healthy in the US Congress and in the Pentagon, but he suggested that money, alone, is driving the US towards greater and greater standardization because they can no longer afford to “Buy American.”
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Various Symposia Reports
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2009, 13:46:19 »
I attended a presentation by Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institute which is, regularly, described as one of the three most influential policy institutes in the U.S. and has been variously described, by the New York Times alone, as liberal, liberal-centrist, centrist, and conservative – which may say more about the shift in the NY Times’ views than it says about Brookings.

The key thing about Riedel is that he chaired Obama’s strategic review on Afghanistan and Pakistan which was completed in Mar 09and was adopted by NATO as its own grand strategy at the Apr 09 Heads of Government meeting in Strasbourg. Riedel assigned two attributes to Obama’s view of the strategy: adaptive and reactive, suggesting that Obama is prepared to revisit it as the situation demands.

...

There is now a podcast of Bruce Riedel's talk available here.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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