Departing China, Next Stop DC to Discuss the Afghanistan War


Great Wall Steve Clemons September 2010.jpg
This is part of the Jinshanling Great Wall that I traversed a substantial segment (in my book) of on Sunday.
Mao said “You are not a real man; if you haven’t climbed the Great Wall.”
All I can say is that the women sherpas along the way — who I didn’t ask to carry anything but who trotted along with us no matter whether we wanted their company or cold water or not certainly put all the men to shame.
Heading back to Washington.
This report on Afghanistan is the next big thing. Wednesday — 12 noon — watch the streaming live event here at TWN.
— Steve Clemons


11 comments on “Departing China, Next Stop DC to Discuss the Afghanistan War

  1. Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle says:

    Kathy Kadane:
    Does that go for George Bush, too? Anyway, I think you missed Steve’s point. He wasn’t commenting on whether Mao, Stalin or anyone else was a butcher.


  2. Don Bacon says:

    Mao was direct and easy to understand:
    “I voted for you during your last election.”


  3. JohnH says:

    Quoting Mao?!? What next? A discussion of America’s strategic interests in Afghanistan? And an elaboration of what’s at stake there?
    Surely not! Such a discussion would be tantamount to heresy.
    Much safer to quote Mao!


  4. Paul Norheim says:

    The biggest problem is the fact that Nadine and the teabaggers
    keep financing Maoism, subconsciously.


  5. Don Bacon says:

    Mao’s government is still with us and doing quite well. Stalin’s isn’t.


  6. Kathy Kadane says:

    Hard to care ‘what Mao said.’ Like quoting Stalin.


  7. Don Bacon says:

    Afghanistan: “The Study Group believes that the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan should aim at realistic and attainable objectives.”
    Let’s look at them.
    1) Emphasize Power-Sharing and Political Reconciliation. Afghanistan will not achieve a sustainable peace without broader support from the Afghan people themselves.
    The problem is that Karzai is corrupt and that, after nine years, there is no chance that he will either be replaced or gain popular support.
    2) Scale Back and Eventually Suspend Combat Operations in the South and Reduce the U.S. Military Footprint. Simultaneous to these efforts at achieving a new, more stable political equilibrium in the country, the U.S. should downsize and eventually discontinue combat operations in southern Afghanistan.
    This would require a major change in US policy which has been in effect during two administrations, which has been that any US military presence is conditioned-based, and the generals appraise the conditions. After nine years, the Taliban exercises control over wide parts of the country while the death toll of American soldiers in Afghanistan has reached its highest point since the war began almost nine years ago. Retreat under fire? Only surrender monkeys do that.
    3) Keep the Focus on Al Qaeda and Domestic Security. The U.S. should redirect some part of the savings from this troop reduction toward improved counter-terrorism efforts and protecting U.S. citizens from terrorist attacks
    There are few al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the primary fight is against Taliban.
    4) Promote Economic Development. Afghanistan is one of the world


  8. Andrey says:

    Mao said “You are not a real man; if you haven’t
    climbed the Great Wall.” – I agree


  9. Dan Kervick says:

    There is a typo in this paragraph, just before the five-point list of recommendations:
    “The more promising path for the U.S. in the Af/Pak region would reverse the recent escalation and move away from a counterinsurgency effort that is neither necessary nor likely to succeed. Instead, the U.S. should:
    We believe this strategy will best serve the interests of women in Afghanistan as well. The worst thing for women is for Afghanistan to remain paralyzed in a civil war in which there evolves no organically rooted support for their social advancement.”
    Otherwise, good summary.


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…..women putting men to shame….”
    Such a concept must be terribly confusing for Ms./Mr. Wiggie Whatever. I hope he/she/it finds him/her/it/self soon, so the proper half can be appropriately shamed.
    Oh shit, now even I’m confused.


  11. Don Bacon says:

    Steve, as I’m sure you well know, women putting men to shame (present company excepted) is not an unusual phenomenon, even outside of China.
    I previously blasted “A New Way Forward” in Afghanistan for proclaiming that the US shouldn’t abandon Afghanistan, when the US has in effect abandoned US citizens. Now seeing that Matthew Hoh is associated with it, and after reading his bio which I was impressed with, I will eagerly await the argument on why the US should not abandon Afghanistan.
    The New Way Forward seems to be a modified Biden Plan for Afghanistan, but it retains nation-building which in Afghanistan is futile. Let’s see.
    We should never forget (as foreign affairs junkies) that no effort in a foreign country should ever take precedence over the best interests of Americans.


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