Arthur Herman is another great British historian that has left British institutional academic life for the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C., his criticism is usually balanced for one without executive cabinet experience. Most academics are hollow, those that seek a deeper more informed perspective find themselves pursuing careers in government if only to augment an inferior education. Let’s face it, experience matters.
Dr. Herman’s sources are obviously well informed about the status of American presence in the AfPak region. The news isn’t good. Al Qaeda operatives are undoing the Anbar Awakening that American’s secured in 2008. Sunni sheiks are now abandoning their pro American stance and going back to align themselves with Al Qaeda. Even Osama bin Ladin is holding court in North West Pakistan. If intelligence reports are accurate, Osama bin Ladin’s efforts to direct operational and tactical control reveal grand failure for the Americans.
An American failure in this region will embolden an ascendant Nuclear Iran. Remember, Pakistan is Sunni, Iranians are Shiites. Both are nuclear. Historical antecedents of American failure in Indochina cannot measure the impact of an American failure in Central Asia. The political dynamics of this region are vastly different from past Soviet hegemony. At least Soviet Russia was rational!
Where are the American missteps.
Counterinsurgencies are won from both Executive and Operational leadership. This has been sadly missing from the Obama administration. Comments throughout 2008 campaign trail reveal that Obama neither understood the region nor the issues involved, nor did he care to learn about them with his political ascendancy to the Oval office. This along with his long agonizing dithering posture last fall reveal a paralyzed Hamlet unfit for high office.
Where does this lead us?
Immediately after this fall election, the question will be whether the American people will rise to the political challenge of managing the ‘long war’ in this volatile intractable region as we did in Iraq 2006. Perhaps the most pressing challenge will come from a reluctant White House pinched to accept this very burden. God help the Republic!
Unless this White House pursues a winning long term strategy that includes the political machinations of both India and Pakistan relative to Afghanistan, winning here is about to get much harder.
Remember, our enemies throughout Islamic Central Asia have studied our success in Iraq and have adjusted their strategic and operational depth accordingly. Unless America ‘bugs-out’, this region can be turned toward American interest.