U.S. Army Spc. Joseph Gonzalez, left, provides security as fellow team members walk down a dirt road in Bala Boluk, Afghanistan, Jan. 2, 2013. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Matthew Stroup
Strategic Horizons: U.S. Must Learn the Real ‘Lessons’ of Afghanistan -- Steven Metz, WPR
Last week's meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai felt like a last desperate attempt to salvage a crumbling marriage: With the relationship clearly dying, the two sides quibbled over the pace of U.S. disengagement and the extent of future American aid and assistance.
But as U.S. involvement in Afghanistan winds down, Americans should already be thinking about what they can learn from their longest war. U.S. national security strategy, as I explained in my book “Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy,” is shaped by the lessons drawn, rightly or wrongly, from previous conflicts, wars and crises. Hence the U.S. reaction to future security challenges will reflect what it concludes about the Afghanistan conflict. It is imperative to get this right.
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My Comment: I am somewhat sympathetic to Steven Metz's analysis. No one likes foreigners coming in and dictating what one's country's policies should be. If given a choice .... being ruled by an inept government from one's tribal/cultural group is far more preferable than being ruled by an inept government from a foreign group. As to Afghanistan, the U.S. should have made the choice a year or two after the fall of the Taliban to leave the country. The choice was not made .... and we are now stuck with this perception among the Afghans that the corruption and ineptness of the Central government is the fault of the foreigners .... hence the rise of the Taliban. Is it too late to save Afghanistan .... I do not know. But I do know that we have overextended our stay .... and now is the time to leave.