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Thread: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

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    Senior Member bisley's Avatar
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    Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    We have spent 16 years, thousands of lives, and billions of dollars proving that the USA cannot teach democracy to a people who have not only never known freedom, but have never even expressed a desire for it. Most do not seem to even recognize it when they see it, much less be willing to die, to bring it to their children. There is no future in this, for us.

    But, what we can do is maintain outposts that can strike at our enemies, when they are plotting destruction on our home land. We can maintain bases of operation that are capable of destroying terrorist camps, within a radius of several hundred miles, and run operations that collect intelligence and can protect the locals who do want to be our friends. We can maintain air superiority and operate drones and maintain mobile ground forces that can rotate in and out on a regular basis.

    But, most of all, we can remove such resources as are needed to pay for such operations, and let the locals benefit from the commerce it generates. We could even encourage colonization of unoccupied areas. It could be our new frontier, and the Taliban could be our red Indians.

    Greed and corruption? Absolutely! But, that may be the best way to combat Islamic terrorism.

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    Senior Member centermass556's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    I agree with most all of what you say about nation building. It is something we, as a nation, have not been to successful with in other parts of the world. But, what does US presence look at. Think about it. Outposts and bases in Afghanistan and Iraq? How does that look for afghanistan. Afghanistan-physical-map-Copy.jpg

    Look at this physical map. Everything Inside that red loop is no mans land. Not that people don't live there, but it is extremely rural land filled with villages dotted along ridges and river valleys. Terrain is not in our favor. We will end up chasing the bad guys around those valleys and ridges just like we are doing now. The areas are far to remote and our force is way to small to generate a sphere of influence that would encourage growth and intelligence collections. We had bases and outposts scattered throughout Vietnam with troop levels around 540,000 in Jan 1968. That is more that 70,000 more Soldiers than we currently have on Active Duty today. To cover all of our threat board, we would have to grow the force to almost what it was in 1942, or very possibly 1943.

    This would also require an entire restructuring of the way we train in the military. Our current doctrine is a bastard child of Counter-Insurgency operations and 1980s-defeat the soviets- force on force-doctrine. We would have to start to understand culture immersion and begin to shift our focus to targeting and collections operations. Our entire force, from the enablers to the multipliers, all the way to the infantry would have to understand how to collect, process, and target threat actors in their AO.
    afghanistan_ethnic_mix.jpg

    How do we do that in area that looks like the ethnic mix above. Do we go back to assigning each division an area of Operation? The 101st only goes to the Pashtu region and the 82nd only goes to the Tajik region. The marines go to the Uzbek areas? When that happens, how do we continue to maintain a presence in Iraq, Philippines, Korea, Europe, and the differ areas of Africa? We have pretty smart folks in the Army, but we don't even expect SF groups to be experts in more than one AO. Sure 7th SFG is in South America and Afghanistan, but they are in Afghanistan in a kinetic capacity. We would have to divide the land forces in the very same manner the navy and SFGs are divided, and we are still way to small to do that and don't have the training.

    U.S._Active_Military_Personnel_1939-1945.jpg


    As I said in my other post, there is no win in Afghanistan.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."

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    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    I agree with Bisley. No reason to have boots on the ground in any of those craphole "nations". They are clan first nations, and nothing else really matters. Central government might have some small effect in the more densely populated areas, but not much elsewhere.

    Drones, surveillance and armed, can accomplish what we need, and if a few B1's go there before dinner....okay.

    We had a no fly zone over Iraq for years, and it worked pretty well. Our technology for taking out threats is proven, but we've not rebuilt a nation since WWII.

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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    That part of the world has been a battleground since the beginning of recorded history, and quite possibly before mankind learned to read and write. Arbitrarily drawn national borders mean little if anything when they seek to intermix groups of people whose cultural and/or ethnic affiliations are at odds with each other. About the best we can hope to accomplish is a never-ending game of whack-a-mole to keep the worst of the bad actors weak and disorganized so they can't pose much of a threat to us or our national interests.
    Jerry
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    Senior Member centermass556's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Linefinder View Post
    I agree with Bisley. No reason to have boots on the ground in any of those craphole "nations". They are clan first nations, and nothing else really matters. Central government might have some small effect in the more densely populated areas, but not much elsewhere.

    Drones, surveillance and armed, can accomplish what we need, and if a few B1's go there before dinner....okay.

    We had a no fly zone over Iraq for years, and it worked pretty well. Our technology for taking out threats is proven, but we've not rebuilt a nation since WWII.

    Mike
    This is kind of a huge misconception with drones. They are not great detection devices. Imagine tying to find a 3X5 card on a football field, while hovering above it looking through a soup can...

    they are awesome for when we know where something is, but if we are looking for it, then they are not all that great.

    Enforcing a no fly zone is something completely different than looking for and neutralizing a human threat.

    I think Jerry is correct in his assessment.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."

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    Senior Member Diver43's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by centermass556 View Post
    I agree with most all of what you say about nation building. It is something we, as a nation, have not been to successful with in other parts of the world. But, what does US presence look at. Think about it. Outposts and bases in Afghanistan and Iraq? How does that look for afghanistan. Afghanistan-physical-map-Copy.jpg

    Look at this physical map. Everything Inside that red loop is no mans land. Not that people don't live there, but it is extremely rural land filled with villages dotted along ridges and river valleys. Terrain is not in our favor. We will end up chasing the bad guys around those valleys and ridges just like we are doing now. The areas are far to remote and our force is way to small to generate a sphere of influence that would encourage growth and intelligence collections. We had bases and outposts scattered throughout Vietnam with troop levels around 540,000 in Jan 1968. That is more that 70,000 more Soldiers than we currently have on Active Duty today. To cover all of our threat board, we would have to grow the force to almost what it was in 1942, or very possibly 1943.

    This would also require an entire restructuring of the way we train in the military. Our current doctrine is a bastard child of Counter-Insurgency operations and 1980s-defeat the soviets- force on force-doctrine. We would have to start to understand culture immersion and begin to shift our focus to targeting and collections operations. Our entire force, from the enablers to the multipliers, all the way to the infantry would have to understand how to collect, process, and target threat actors in their AO.
    afghanistan_ethnic_mix.jpg

    How do we do that in area that looks like the ethnic mix above. Do we go back to assigning each division an area of Operation? The 101st only goes to the Pashtu region and the 82nd only goes to the Tajik region. The marines go to the Uzbek areas? When that happens, how do we continue to maintain a presence in Iraq, Philippines, Korea, Europe, and the differ areas of Africa? We have pretty smart folks in the Army, but we don't even expect SF groups to be experts in more than one AO. Sure 7th SFG is in South America and Afghanistan, but they are in Afghanistan in a kinetic capacity. We would have to divide the land forces in the very same manner the navy and SFGs are divided, and we are still way to small to do that and don't have the training.

    U.S._Active_Military_Personnel_1939-1945.jpg


    As I said in my other post, there is no win in Afghanistan.
    Bravo MSG, Now if we can only get the weenie wuss staff officers and leaders to grasp the facts.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5

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    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Teach View Post
    That part of the world has been a battleground since the beginning of recorded history, and quite possibly before mankind learned to read and write. Arbitrarily drawn national borders mean little if anything when they seek to intermix groups of people whose cultural and/or ethnic affiliations are at odds with each other. About the best we can hope to accomplish is a never-ending game of whack-a-mole to keep the worst of the bad actors weak and disorganized so they can't pose much of a threat to us or our national interests.
    Jerry
    This. To change a nation you must change their culture. To change a culture would take generations, not 20 years of cheerleading and assistance. And even if we stuck it out for generations, there'd be enough who didn't like the change, and would work to return things to how they were the second we left.
    We love freedom and capitalism. Some places don't, or can't handle such. And some places don't want too. So...why spend my tax dollars on a third world crap hole on people who don't want our help? There's no reason to.
    Just let them eat nuts and berries and drink stagnant water. Let them fight each other with AK47s that were hammered out of reclaimed shovels. At least until the point where they get uppity and try and harm us or our neighbors. Then we squash them like dog crap on the bottom of our boots, and let the never ending cycle repeat itself.
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    Senior Member Diver43's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by cpj View Post
    This. To change a nation you must change their culture. To change a culture would take generations, not 20 years of cheerleading and assistance. And even if we stuck it out for generations, there'd be enough who didn't like the change, and would work to return things to how they were the second we left.
    We love freedom and capitalism. Some places don't, or can't handle such. And some places don't want too. So...why spend my tax dollars on a third world crap hole on people who don't want our help? There's no reason to.
    Just let them eat nuts and berries and drink stagnant water. Let them fight each other with AK47s that were hammered out of reclaimed shovels. At least until the point where they get uppity and try and harm us or our neighbors. Then we squash them like dog crap on the bottom of our boots, and let the never ending cycle repeat itself.
    I can't/won't say who, but a high ranking flag officer once said that the only way to win over there is to kill everyone over 15 and teach them about freedom and peace.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5

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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    The high school in Nashville where I spent my final year of teaching before I retired had something like 43 ethnic groups represented in the student body, many of them refugees from various crapholes all over the globe. Some of those "students" were veterans of combat in Iraq (Kurds) and Somalia. Those kids were downright scary, even in their mid-teens. I learned very quickly not to trust any of them, and to be on my guard at all times. Some of the younger teachers, especially the ladies, were downright terrified of many of their students. Once a kid gets indoctrinated from birth in the prejudices of his clan, nothing we can do is likely to change that mindset, even when they live here- - - - -good luck doing it on their home turf!
    Jerry
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    Senior Member bisley's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by centermass556 View Post
    ...As I said in my other post, there is no win in Afghanistan.
    I think that has been proven by everyone who has tried it.

    But, on the other hand, if we exit completely, what do we have? Within a year, we would be facing the same thing we had before we ever sent forces there - strong enemy forces in a remote location that we have no ability to strike quickly and effectively.

    As long as they express a desire to attack our citizens in their home towns, don't we have an obligation to maintain a capability to destroy their training camps and infrastructure? What is the correct answer, here?

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    Senior Member centermass556's Avatar
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    At this point, I would be open to bringing the extremist leaders to the table and giving them the country in exchange for them not attacking the west.
    I think we have beat that hornet's nest enough that we can do that. The Taliban and AQ from Afghanistan haven't claimed an attack in years.
    That will free us up to get into the Levant. There is enough stability in the surrounding area we can force a when if we make the Arabs own up to fixing an Arab problem, there will be a win there. And ISIS will not agree to staying in the Levant. As it is they have spread to Afghan, North Africa, the caucus, and other places.


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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    I thought I already posted this, but apparently not so I'll try again.

    The situation is a very complicated one, far more complicated than merely "No boots" or "Turn it over to ISIS." 9/11 happened when we had virtually no troops in Afghanistan/Pakistan, and it was ISIS the Taliban that gave countenance to that tragedy. Nor will withdrawal into fortified positions work, IMO, as it didn't work for the French in Vietnam.

    I don't know the solution, and I'm not sure anyone does at this point. What I do suggest is the situation is complex and probably can't be solved with simple solutions.

    Now that Syria and NoKo are swapping nuclear spit, that adds to the complexity of the solution...if there is one short of all-out eventual war.
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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Syria?- - - - -Maybe you meant to say Iran?

    Jerry
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Yep...Iran. Brain freeze.
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    Senior Member centermass556's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene L View Post
    I thought I already posted this, but apparently not so I'll try again.

    The situation is a very complicated one, far more complicated than merely "No boots" or "Turn it over to ISIS." 9/11 happened when we had virtually no troops in Afghanistan/Pakistan, and it was ISIS the Taliban that gave countenance to that tragedy. Nor will withdrawal into fortified positions work, IMO, as it didn't work for the French in Vietnam.

    I don't know the solution, and I'm not sure anyone does at this point. What I do suggest is the situation is complex and probably can't be solved with simple solutions.

    Now that Syria and NoKo are swapping nuclear spit, that adds to the complexity of the solution...if there is one short of all-out eventual war.

    I don't understand most of this.

    9/11 was orchestrated by AQ

    ISIS wasn't conceived until ~2008, depending on when you pick up the time line after abu al Zarqawi .

    The Vietnamese analogy is flawed. The US back French were trying to maintain a colonial presence after WWII, in a a country that vastly supported the Viet Minh.

    I think I understand the complexity of the situation, even if I don't understand all the strings in the knot. Or rather that the situation is complex. The majority of my professional and academic career has revolved around that region. The Taliban want the country. After kicking the snot out of them and most AQ affiliates we have come across, I think we can convince them keep all their gAmes in their own sand box.

    I'm not saying that withdrawal is the right solution, it seems to be the best one. At this point in the Afghan campaign, we simply seem to be tilting windmills.

    The issues with Iran and NK are independent of the Afghan campaign.


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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    What, exactly, is worth fighting for in Afghanistan, besides a huge number of fields of opium poppies and the heroin produced from them? Is Agent Orange as effective against poppies as it was on jungle foliage in Viet Nam?
    Jerry
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    Senior Member early's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    I thought it was the location that gave the region significance?
    Last edited by early; 08-27-2017 at 02:05 AM.
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    Senior Member centermass556's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by early View Post
    I thought it was the location that gave the region significance?
    To which region inside the CENTCOM AOR do you refer to?


    If you look at the map you can see how big of a Area it is. The Afghanistan region is not the same as of Syria and Iraq. It has a different culture with different peoples. The only thing that is similar is the Religion.
    centcom-aor-map.jpg
    Teach is right, there is nothing inside of Afghan that is worth being there for. Rumors circulate about there being a wealth of minerals in the country, but I doubt there is any real truth to that. Well, there is Lapis. But, I don't think it is as valuable as it once was.
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    Senior Member early's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Why we're there and why Russia was there remain an enigma to me then.
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by early View Post
    Why we're there and why Russia was there remain an enigma to me then.
    Trying to guess why Russia wants something will make your head hurt. As to Afghanistan and Russia being there during the Cold War, that was easy. The Russians had set up a puppet government there, and the government started getting their butts kicked, so Russia sent in troops to help settle things down, and kicked a hornet's nest. After trying to pacify the place, they gave up and left. And their pacification methods were brutal by any standards you care to use. The U.S. got involved aiding the Kurds and others in fighting Russia, and then left them high and dry; not one of our better moments for sure. Basically a proxy war with Russia using the Afghans as the cannon fodder. The Cold War years were just nasty all around.

    Here's a long Wiki article that does a half decent job of explaining the Russian involvement, and our involvement in Afghanistan during the Cold War, and some other info before and after that time. It's complicated as calculus.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet%E2%80%93Afghan_War
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by centermass556 View Post
    To which region inside the CENTCOM AOR do you refer to?


    If you look at the map you can see how big of a Area it is. The Afghanistan region is not the same as of Syria and Iraq. It has a different culture with different peoples. The only thing that is similar is the Religion.
    centcom-aor-map.jpg



    Accept in history mate.
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    Senior Member bisley's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Teach View Post
    What, exactly, is worth fighting for in Afghanistan, besides a huge number of fields of opium poppies and the heroin produced from them? Is Agent Orange as effective against poppies as it was on jungle foliage in Viet Nam?
    Jerry
    Minerals, of all kinds - an estimated one trillion dollars worth. Enough to finance a well-defined military mission, which could include destruction of the poppy fields.

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    Senior Member centermass556's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shush View Post


    Accept in history mate.

    Nope even in history. That graphic is from the Timurid Empire.

    Tamerlane gained control of that piece of the mongol Empire and expanded it west. He fancied himself the heir of Ghangis Khan. Perhaps the only thing the Turks have done for Europe is stop Tamerlane's march east. And, Tamerlane's attack on the Ottomans prevented the Ottomans from taking Constantinople.

    To say the empire had one culture and peoples would be like saying Persians became Greek after being conquered by Alexander.


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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    You name it whatever you like.
    It's their history to call it.
    Quote Originally Posted by cjp View Post
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Forget everything I posted above except that it's a complicated issue. My 72 year old mind was fogged.

    It's a huge area all right. I don't know about minerals, but if we destroyed the opium poppies, we'd cripple the government and cause a lot of unrest in Europe, IMO.
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by shush View Post
    You name it whatever you like.
    It's their history to call it.
    Yeah, but it doesn't make it correct...Tamir Shah, as the Afghans and Persians call him, or Tamerlane in the west, wasn't even Afghani. He was born in what is present day Uzebekistan. Afghanistan wasn't even a country during the period of that map and until about the mid 1300s was split between three Mongol provinces - The Chagatai Khanate, the Sultanate of Delhi, and the Ilkanate. When the mongol provinces began to fall apart, Tamir conquered the weak ones to include portions of the Golden Horde. If would have been successful in his campaign to china, that map would probably extend to Tibet. Maybe further. Tamir initially placed his capital in Kabul. Everyone seems to that. Maybe because it is well guarded by mountain passes.

    But again by the logic of that graphic,

    macedonianempirelarge.jpg
    Afghanistan - 324 B.C. because one of the Greek Capitals of the new territory was in Kabul.
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by tennmike View Post
    Trying to guess why Russia wants something will make your head hurt. As to Afghanistan and Russia being there during the Cold War, that was easy. The Russians had set up a puppet government there, and the government started getting their butts kicked, so Russia sent in troops to help settle things down, and kicked a hornet's nest. After trying to pacify the place, they gave up and left. And their pacification methods were brutal by any standards you care to use. The U.S. got involved aiding the Kurds and others in fighting Russia, and then left them high and dry; not one of our better moments for sure. Basically a proxy war with Russia using the Afghans as the cannon fodder. The Cold War years were just nasty all around.

    Here's a long Wiki article that does a half decent job of explaining the Russian involvement, and our involvement in Afghanistan during the Cold War, and some other info before and after that time. It's complicated as calculus.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet%E2%80%93Afghan_War
    A bloody convoluted cluster mess alright.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.

  28. #28
    Senior Member centermass556's Avatar
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Back to the original topic...more or less...

    My biggest fear/concern/whatever is my sons and daughters fighting in the same war I did for a country that doesn't mean squat and really couldn't care less about the sacrifice made there trying to better that country.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."

  29. #29
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    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    Politicians- - - - -and dictators in particular, play checkers. History plays chess. Take a look at this series of maps that traces the history of the region over a couple of millennia.

    https://www.vox.com/a/maps-explain-the-middle-east

    It is the height of arrogance and folly for any individual country- - - -the United States, Russia, Britain, Iran, Greece, Italy, or anybody else to believe they can have more than a fleeting bit of influence over an area that has known nothing but warfare and conquest over the span of centuries!
    Jerry
    Last edited by Teach; 08-27-2017 at 05:20 PM.
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    Senior Member bisley's Avatar
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    8,754

    Re: Nation building - No/ US presence -Yes

    My cynical suggestions about keeping bases in Afghanistan and removing some of their untapped resources to pay for it was not meant to suggest that it could win a war, or build a responsible nation. It would simply force the militants there to re-focus their efforts from attacking non-combatants thousands of miles away who couldn't hurt them toward a clear threat to their own claims of sovereignty. Absolutely yes - we would be heavily criticized for it by our own leftists, and much of the world for 'exploiting' the locals, and they wouldn't be entirely wrong.

    But, it would probably accomplish the main mission - ending or at least setting back any major terrorist effort against our own homeland. Basically, it would be a form of asymmetrical warfare that would counter their own asymmetrical warfare against us. They would be diverted from their preferred mission, in order to save their own natural resources, and we would be financing our own mission to prevent terrorism by extracting payment from our enemy's natural resources. The 'common folk' of Afghanistan would not be significantly damaged, because they are not making a living from those resources, anyway. In fact, we might actually improve their situation, by employing some of them.

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