Fredrick W. Kagan along with Fouad Ajami and Bernard Lewis were the primary ideological agents that gave fortitude to the Bush administrations push to surge in 2006 under Dr. David Petraeus. Kagan’s expertise in asymmetrical warfare is incomparable to any living American. His recent chastisement of team Obama’s turn away from counter-insurgency operations in the AfPak theatre to favor counter-terrorism tactics betrays the very political and cultural acumen required for competent statesmen.
Dr. Kagan reveals that “success against al Qaeda depends on success in Afghanistan; which in turn requires success in Pakistan.”
The key to the whole region is Pakistan, and Islamabad and Rawalpindi will not betray their own political objectives to seek ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan by seeking to de-stablize any regime in Kabul that is aligned with New Dehli.
Team Obama ignores to significant developments at its own peril: both counterinsurgency and counterterrorism activities are only tactics, they are not strategies. Both seek to contain sectarian violence to effect political and cultural change that is viable to birth political institutions. Secondly, as the recent helicopter crash in northeastern Afghanistan demonstrates, pursuing counter-terrorism tactics along is insufficient, for an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) or other cheap IED (improvised explosive devices) can halt any American initiative. We simply cannot leave the heavy slog that is counterinsurgency, for it provides the required political advantages that permit adequate governance. Our problem is time! We’re just impatient at imperialist agendas.
Operation ANACONDA pursued al Qaeda throughout the mountainous region of Afghanistan from 2002, making militant insurgents seek refuge in western Pakistan. With such refuge they built an alliance with the Haqqani network to pursue their political aims at de-stablizing both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
As of this writing, al Qaeda can only seek to hit Kabul with minimum political impact, but is reach and political damage is far greater in Pakistan, where the American imperium has no hold on the population and where our go-it-alone policy with CIA drone strikes is only aggravating the population against American objectives.
What we need are the political and strategic wiles of Petraeus, now that he’s at the helm at CIA we might just get a political footing on the very intractable issue that is our coalition partner in Islamabad.