Sunday, July 23, 2017

Commentary on Afghan Conflict

"Old Wine in a New Bottle". Michael Kugelman writes about Trump's Afghanistan strategy. Says a troop surge of advisors that isn't tied to a broader overall strategy is folly. He recommends four major steps going forward. Kugelman is the Asia program deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center. "Trump's Afghanistan Strategy Is Simply Old Wine in a New Bottle", The National Interest, July 16, 2017.

Podcast on China's Role. The huge neighbor to the east of Afghanistan and Pakistan would like to see some stability in the region. So it is attempting to (behind the scenes) broker an agreement between the two nations (AfPak). But its not working too well. Listen to a 40-minute podcast where some observers comment on the topic - Abubakar Siddique of Gandhara Blog, Sune Engle Rasmussen of The Guardian, and Hameed Hakimi of the Chatham House think tank. See "Gandhara Podcast: China and Afghanistan, Pakistan Cooperation", Gandhara, July 19, 2017.

So What's the Plan? Everyone is waiting for the Trump administration to roll out the new 'Afghan war strategy' . . . waiting, waiting, waiting . . . . Fred Kaplan explains what's going on behind the scenes in "Making Afghanistan Great Again", Slate Magazine, July 2017.

Amnesty for War Criminals. A mixed result. Amnesty is a long-accepted practice to end conflicts and solidify peace agreements. Afghanistan is a good (or bad) example of the use of amnesty to bring warring or hostile organizations together to forge a government. But it is a problematic solution. Read more in "Afghanistan: Choosing Peace Over Justice", by Neha Dwivedi, The Diplomat, July 20, 2017.

Contracted Private Army to Fix Afghanistan? Streve Bannon and Jared Kushner, trusted advisors of Trump's White House, recently floated an idea of using a contracted military force to solve Afghanistan's never-ending conflict. They met with the head of DynCorp (Stephen Feinberg) and the former head of Blackwater (Erik Prince) for discussions on this topic. Sean McFate, as senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council - and former military contractor - tells us why this may not be a really good idea in "The Blackwater 2.0 Plan for Afghanistan", The Atlantic Council, July 17, 2017.

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