Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 01, 2011

Who Really Runs Foreign Policy

Obama was elected as a democrat and as president foreign policy is his prerogative. Hillary Clinton is seen as a resolute secretary of state who also has some capable ambassadors. One thereby might assume that those two together would have a firm and decisive voice in U.S. foreign policy decisions.

But as this piece on the unwillingness of the U.S. to say sorry for the deadly attack on Pakistani soldiers makes clear, even day to day foreign policy is set by different powers.

The [United States ambassador to Pakistan], speaking by videoconference from Islamabad, said that anger in Pakistan had reached a fever pitch, and that the United States needed to move to defuse it as quickly as possible, the officials recounted.

Defense Department officials balked. While they did not deny some American culpability in the episode, they said expressions of remorse offered by senior department officials and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were enough, at least until the completion of a United States military investigation establishing what went wrong.

Some administration aides also worried that if Mr. Obama were to overrule the military and apologize to Pakistan, such a step could become fodder for his Republican opponents in the presidential campaign, according to several officials who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

On Wednesday, White House officials said Mr. Obama was unlikely to say anything further on the matter in the coming days.

So instead of the State Department it is the Pentagon that making the foreign policy decision and instead of the elected democrats the republican candidates are the most influential force in the adoption of these foreign policies with regards to Pakistan.

And even when it is in the genuine U.S. interest to regain some good will with Pakistan, as expressed by the ambassador, the man in the Oval Office, hell-bent to get reelected, is unwilling to spend some political capital on the issue and to make the right decision.

Posted by b on December 1, 2011 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

Comments
"if Mr. Obama were to overrule the military and apologize to Pakistan, such a step could become fodder for his Republican opponents"

So he is willing to leave US troops (the real cannon fodder) to face an angry Pakistan instead of apologising and giving fodder to the Republicans. Classy guy.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 1, 2011 2:00:11 PM | 1

They are doing what Israel invariably does, which is to not apologize for killing innocent people, especially when they are Muslim. Either the US and NATO intentionally killed the Pakistani soldiers as pay back for harboring bin Laden, or they fear that an apology will be seen as a sign of weakness, which is a commonly held belief among bullies and thugs. Whatever the case may be, the US is patterning itself after Israel.

Posted by: Cynthia | Dec 1, 2011 2:50:53 PM | 2

I agree with your operative observation regarding the failure of congress, which is why it is now down at 12% approval (RCP ave.), but "as president foreign policy is his prerogative" has no basis in the Constitution.
Pakistan and US strategic interests do not coincide in Afghanistan, in fact they conflict. General McChrystal assessed this over two years ago, before he was fired. So there will be no end of disagreements.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 1, 2011 3:29:50 PM | 3

The 'Deep State'.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 1, 2011 3:38:14 PM | 4

Imperium in Imperio, the State within ...

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 1, 2011 3:43:41 PM | 5

Pakistan (Islamic Republic MkII?) with a population of 180 million(+Nukes) ... and our Peace Prize Laureate Prez is not 'permitted' to apologize ...

In any case, the moment has passed ... one friend apologizes to another simply because, they are. Empires simply do not apologize or accede to their vassals or the, 'barbarian' states.

Given the unbelievably incompetantly arrogant and disdainfully dismissive way this has been handled it is unlikely anything less than a formal apology, reparations and independant prosecution and 'actual punishment' of those responsible for the latest 'incident' would mollify the Pakistanis ... the US will not.

Pakistan now knows America and the 'International community' are not its friends ...

Perception matters

The All Pakistan Cable Operators Association has placed a ban on international news channels including BBC world for spreading propaganda ...

COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has suspended 'chain of command' system to counter any aggression.

... there would be no need to follow the army’s command and chain system and any official or soldier, at any particular place, would be allowed to take a decision on his own without waiting for the orders from the top so that any aggression from outside would be matched.

“The army chief in the meeting declared that no foreign aggression would be allowed in future and all possible measures are being taken to defend the country,” the official said.

Apart from doing away with the command and chain system, some other important steps are also being taken such as reinforcement of troops on the Pakistani side of the border and also to increase the surveillance flights of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on the country’s border with Afghanistan.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 1, 2011 6:02:19 PM | 6

I view this outrage with some clinical detachment.

Historical evidence shows that when empires are in decline, (Rome, Islamic caliphates for examples) they start to make more and bigger mistakes. In addition, whatever critic speaks up, to correct such mistakes, tends not to live happily ever after.

Therefore one can expect more and more such actions from the US.

B, thank you for the link to the NYT piece - a perfect snapshop of this moment in time.


Posted by: Northern Night Owl | Dec 1, 2011 6:18:54 PM | 7

Happy hunting, b and ya'll...! ;-)

The Spy Files...

Today WikiLeaks began releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry.

Posted by: CTuttle | Dec 1, 2011 6:26:06 PM | 8

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Posted by: l | Dec 1, 2011 6:42:18 PM | 9

Delusions of Grandeur...?

Mayor Bloomberg: ‘I Have My Own Army’

“I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

Posted by: CTuttle | Dec 1, 2011 6:45:34 PM | 10

It will be a catastrophe if this aggression, and the refusal to say sorry, leads to a shooting war with Pakistan. It's too horrible to contemplate and might escalate into something none of us wants to see.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 1, 2011 7:10:13 PM | 11

I think the deep state was already at work when the U.S. bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo War. I think that unbelievable story about the CIA using out-of-date maps was a way to cover up the fact that the national security state had done the bombing without getting approval from the Clinton White House.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 1, 2011 7:29:29 PM | 12

This is an interesting topic but it's too (Karl) Rovian for my taste. This event, like the (most recent) "killing" of bin Laden, has been rendered artificially and deliberately opaque by the perpetrators.It seems a mistake to perceive it as anything other than fulfillment of his "We're History's actors" promise that "...and you, all of you will be left to just examine what we do."

America has an utterly corrupt, bought and paid for, Congress. Until someone investigates that obvious fact, energy expended on examining artificial mysteries is unlikely to bear fruit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 1, 2011 7:49:14 PM | 13

Yes, Outraged and lysias have it right. It's the Deep State. The Pres. just smiles for the camera with his loafer on the dead bodies.

Copeland, there's not going to be any shooting war with Pakistan. Pakistan knows where its bread is buttered. Neither Iran, Russia or China are going to give Pakistan the aid the U.S. does.....and Pakistan has come to rely too heavily on it. This will all blow over until the next one in six months to a year......and then it will be the same demands for apologies.....rinse and repeat. Perhaps Pakistan will think twice now about completing their portion of the Iran-Pakistan Pipeline.

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/10/24/Terrorism-haunts-Iran-Pakistan-pipeline/UPI-61471319464496/

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Washington is pressuring Islamabad to scrap an Iranian natural gas pipeline, though regional terrorist groups might be having more of an impact, a report says.

Pakistani energy officials in August said Islamabad may look to foreign investors to help pay for the construction of a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Iran. Pakistan is dealing with a lingering energy crisis because of gas shortages.

Gee, I wonder who's financing those dastardly terrorist groups that keep attacking the Pipeline construction? Also, who the hell would invest in this Pipeline deal....considering what we're talking about here? What would the Payback and IRR be on such an investment? Let me see....Payback = Never and IRR = 0%.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 1, 2011 7:59:28 PM | 14

"Neither Iran, Russia or China are going to give Pakistan the aid the U.S. does"

Not too sure about Iran, but Russia and China do appear to have one advantage over the USA i.e. their money is actually their's, and not simply something that has been borrowed from Someone Else.

Which means that going forward it might be a very good idea for regimes that are dependent upon "foreign aid" to consider switching their allegiance.

After all, one side is awash with cash, and on the other side the money well has just about run dry.

Which one to choose....
Which one to choose....

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 1, 2011 8:15:32 PM | 15

Agree, @13. Getting caught up in the intricacies of any particular "reality" event they have prepared is like stepping in quick sand. Look at how people have obsessed over the JFK Assassination and 911. It has consumed them to the point it's all they know and see. It becomes a jail cell, of sorts.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 1, 2011 8:17:11 PM | 16

Taliban may have lured NATO into attacking pakistan troops

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/Taliban-may-have-lured-Nato-into-attacking-Pak/Article1-775817.aspx

Posted by: nikon | Dec 1, 2011 8:48:55 PM | 17

The hoax of US Aid to Pakistan

http://rupeenews.com/2011/06/the-hoax-of-us-aid-to-pakistan/

Posted by: nikon | Dec 1, 2011 8:52:18 PM | 18

@ Nikon

Your 17 is out of date purposefully 'fed' misdirection and obsfucation.

How, pray tell, does the Taliban 'magically' minutely direct US SF commanders, US ground support aircraft and exert command influence on US higher HQ to mount sustained targetted attacks on verified known Pakistani regular Army positions inside Pakistan over a 2 hour period ? Beyond ludicrous.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 1, 2011 9:13:47 PM | 19

@18, if it's a hoax, it's easy enough to say thanks, but no thanks, and yet, Pakistan hasn't done that. Some influential people in Pakistan, namely the Military and Intelligence Brass, are making out from this aid, otherwise, it would have been rebuked long ago.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 1, 2011 9:29:51 PM | 20

Who Really Runs Foreign Policy?

AIPAC

Posted by: easy e | Dec 1, 2011 11:07:22 PM | 21

Further to #13.
The Israel Lobby and the Creation of an American Dictatorship
http://thepassionateattachment.com/2011/11/30/the-israel-lobby-and-the-creation-of-an-american-dictatorship/

The WRMEA facts and numbers in this brief opinion piece about Carl Levin and John McCain, should disturb any truthseeker - profoundly.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 1, 2011 11:11:43 PM | 22

b - Are are utterly naive? No. Or perhaps, careful? But that is dishonest. Republicans? Really. I am disappointed. Our secretary of state resolute? She was. There are credible appraisals out there on the Clintons, and dead Iraqi children. You have seen them. The numbers far surpass Bush 2. Please, no Democrats good and Republicans bad. You know better.

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 1, 2011 11:58:23 PM | 23

It is very hard to believe that US did not know this was Pakistan Army soldiers. Possible but very unlikely. In which case this was a deliberate attack. I can think of two reasons: 1. US was doing some covert operation and did not want Pakistan to find out about it (similar to why Israel destroyed the USS Liberty), 2. it was to send a 'message' to some faction of the Pakistan military to bully them (similar to the bombing of, if memory serves me right, the Mahdi Army earlier this year to bully them into supporting continued US military presence. In that case the attempt apparently backfired).

The civilian govt in Pakistan in the most corrupt ever and simply is playing the event to extract more money out of USA. But there is rumblings in Pakistan that the movement of Imran Khan is really gathering steam. If that does happen all this will really backfire in US losing all leverage with Pakistan as Mr Khan has publically voiced strong opposition to the US 'aid' as well as to the US dictated policies the current government if following including the tacit permission to carry out drone bombing raids. The next few months should make things clear.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Dec 2, 2011 12:25:18 AM | 24

Unconfirmed and may be false, baseless boasting, or something else entirely. Perhaps somebody can comment further. There have been stories that the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was storing parts of a US stealth fighter that was shot down - (surprise!) not so stealthy. So -- bomb sent into that exact part of the Chinese embassy where the US Stealth plane parts were being stored.

What Wikipedia says is here --

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._bombing_of_the_Chinese_embassy_in_Belgrade

Posted by: Northern Night Owl | Dec 2, 2011 7:38:09 AM | 25

Pakistan wants those responsible for attack punished
Washington has been categorically told to “stop treating Pakistan as a client state”, said a Pakistani diplomat

ISLAMABAD, Dec 1: Setting terms for renewal of ties with the United States, Pakistan has sought ‘punishment’ for and an ‘apology’ from those responsible for Saturday’s deadly Nato attack on two of its border posts.

Comments by Gen Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an interview with ITV News that there was “absolutely” nothing to apologise are likely to further inflame the situation.

The military has proposed a set of five options to be exercised in case Washington refuses to accept its mistake, apologise and punish those responsible. The options remain a closely guarded secret, but military sources say some of them are quite extreme.

“We have very few options left with us and we clearly understand their implications,” a Pakistani general said, without elaborating what was being considered.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 2, 2011 8:59:42 AM | 26

Outraged, you have to admit that Public Statements are highly crafted with a particular audience and intent in mind. It's like code, and should never be taken at face value. Obviously, if Pakistan is to maintain any semblance of Street Cred it has to publicly pretend to not be the Quisling it is and thus these empty statements. All the major players know the true score and don't pay any attention to the coded rhetoric.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 2, 2011 9:16:38 AM | 27

Who Really Runs Foreign Policy?

The malignant 1%ers, though their sycophants in the U.S. government. Obama being the latest example of their control.

Posted by: ben | Dec 2, 2011 9:56:56 AM | 28

@ Morocco Bama

Coded rhetoric ?

Pakistan has so far given every indication of meaning exactly what its stated, quite forthright and direct.

The supply routes and border remain closed. The Afghan war has less than two months viable logistics supplies remaining. There will be no miracle airlift of supplies as for Berlin in '48 if the situ continues. Afghanistan is a landlocked, isolated country, the 'Graveyard of empires ...'. Look at the map, its not only a critical issue of logistical supply, its also an issue of how to actually egress, ie get out, and at what cost. Afghanistan and NATO supply routes - interactive

It is fundamentally against Russian own interests not to take advantage of the situation. Similarly for Iran and China($30bn in real infrastructure projects). The US can demand and pressure Pakistan not buy natural gas from its neighbour Iran purely to service US self interest, however the reality is, where does Pakistan otherwise obtain it, from Shangri-La ?

The Pakistan government and military are probably so far doing the 'minimum' required to avoid country wide chaos and ultimately being 'lynched'(politically and/or physically). Precluding the general population, serving lower ranking officers and soldiers are barely in check.

There is no such thing as AFPAK. The MSM 'story' and doublespeak re Pakistan as a whole has been and is a sad, sad joke.

US contempt, arrogance and open dismissive disdain cloaked in 'coded rhetoric' is driving Pakistan into the bosom of Iran, China and Russia, contrary to US own interests. In a wider sense, regional and other nations taking note.

What would the US reaction have been with the roles reversed ?

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 2, 2011 10:51:12 AM | 29

It's gonna cost a bit: Military looks at supply routes away from Pakistan

In 2011, the average cost of all Northern Distribution Network truck and rail routes between April and September was $12,367 per 20-foot container unit, or TEU, according to U.S. Transportation Command. The cost was $14,410 per TEU for northern distribution routes that included ocean commercial transport. Meanwhile, the cost was about $6,700 per TEU on the Pakistan route, TRANSCOM reported.
There are also restrictions Russia puts on military weapon systems. Those have to come by air now. And the NDN route takes much longer than anything that comes through Pakistan. If Pakistan keeps the logistic line closed, that war will become much more expensive, fuel stores in Afghanistan will fall short and some operations will have to stop.

Risking this is nuts, but that's obviously usual when politics meet real life.

Posted by: b | Dec 2, 2011 10:52:41 AM | 30

if Mr. Obama were to overrule the military

as the commander and chief he is supposed to rule over the military.

Posted by: annie | Dec 2, 2011 10:57:00 AM | 31

Nato plans push in eastern Afghanistan to quell Pakistan-based insurgents

Nato commanders are planning a substantial offensive in eastern Afghanistan aimed at insurgent groups based in Pakistan, involving an escalation of aerial attacks on insurgent sanctuaries, and have not ruled out cross-border raids with ground troops.
...
The move is likely to add to the already tense atmosphere following the recent border post attack by Nato helicopters that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. On Thursday, Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, ordered his troops to return fire if they came under attack again by its ally.

While drawing down forces in Helmand and Kandahar, the US will step up its presence in eastern provinces bordering Pakistan, bringing the long-festering issue of insurgent sanctuaries in the Pakistani tribal areas to a head. The message being given to the Pakistani military is that if it cannot or will not eliminate the havens, US forces will attempt the job themselves.

Posted by: b | Dec 2, 2011 11:14:04 AM | 32

b @32, it's a declaration of war against Pakistan

a military coup seems necessary, or Pakistan will suffer Yugoslavia's fate (drug dealers worldwide will celebrate)

it was a long time that wars weren't declared so openly and officially

"Us aid", real or promised, in this context, aims at paralysing political reaction and at dividing the military; war against an ally: brilliant idea, really

Posted by: claudio | Dec 2, 2011 11:24:22 AM | 33

Some points from b's timely Stars n stripes link.

The nature of goods transported also could complicate any efforts to redirect supplies.

The coded language actually means Russia effectively does NOT permit weapons or combat supplies via the NDN.

Lt. Col. Dan Wilson, who commands the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment less than 10 miles from the Pakistan border in northeastern Kunar province, said his troops are accustomed to conserving food and fuel.

Take note ... are already 'accustomed to conserving food and fuel', when the Pakistan border was open. That's very telling re the extent of in country logistical reserves ...

But if the border gates remain closed for several weeks, Wilson said, “Fuel is probably going to become an issue.”

Why ? Because vehicle fuel and AVGAS comes via Pakistan, well it used to. Try conducting operations without sufficient fuel. Try servicing in country logistics support and re-supply without sufficient military transport fuel. More importantly the forces in Afghanistan are critically dependant on in country air transport of all types, and most importantly air-mobile operations given the nature of the terrain and climate. Further, air as opposed to vehicle mobility is preferred as a force protection measure to reduce casualties from IED's.

Net result, no fuel and AVGAS via Pakistan will result in reduced combat force mobility, reduced operational initiative and tempo particularly air mobility and air support, further constrain and exacerbate in country logistics and indirectly result in an increase casualties.

Bulk fuel is extremely hazardous, expensive and grossly inefficient to transport by air. Any supplies that now have to come by air displace weapons ordnance and ammunition. A vicious cycle and a forewarned interesting 'pickle', to say the least, and there will be many commanders in a cold sweat as long as this situ continues.

However, no Apology permitted from the Prez and not even an interim investigation 'report' til 23rd December ... a nice Christmas present for the NATO troops indeed.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 2, 2011 11:32:53 AM | 34

... have not ruled out cross-border raids with ground troops.

The aim of the offensive over the next two years ...

The message being given to the Pakistani military is that if it cannot or will not eliminate the havens, US forces will attempt the job themselves.

Western officials had been encouraged by the fact that a blitz of drone strikes ... had produced few civilian casualties and no reaction from the Pakistanis. Consequently, an increase in cross-border raids by special forces – and even the withdrawal of the Pakistani army to create a free-fire zone – have not been excluded.

These statements at this time are almost beyond belief, comprehension.

If this is the new operational focus they will be declaring War on Pakistan. Beejeezus, didn't we learn anything from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (which didn't have Nukes by the way).

In such a scenario Pakistan will forcefully and formally call upon SCO ... China, Iran and the 'stans will pressure Russia(not really necessary) and their member states forced to respond. Again, take a look at a regional map.

In light of these statements highly probable the 'incident' of the 26th was deliberate, with the policy objective of forcing Pakistans submission or to provoke an ill-considered 'cassus belli' response as a pretext, not that empire has ever really needed one ...

How do they intend to conduct these operations once Russia cuts the NDN, let alone actually continue to 'exist' in Afghanistan ? Lunacy.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 2, 2011 12:03:25 PM | 35

Our View: Strategic supply lines

No country can sustain a foreign war of any duration without sustaining strategic supply lines, both for lethal materials (bombs, bullets, etc.) and nonlethal ones (food, fuel, etc.).

There is great public pressure in Pakistan to not support the United States-NATO effort against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

... gives Pakistan pause to reconsider its alignment with Western interests in Central Asia.

In so many words, the strategic calculus for Pakistan in Central Asia seems to be changing.

Less than one-third of the supplies needed to support the war in Afghanistan come directly by air. Recall that Afghanistan is a landlocked country with no ports to directly receive war materials by sea. Lose one or both of those land/air strategic routes of supply, and NATO and American forces must withdraw quickly from Afghanistan.

A 10-year war that only achieves a stalemate leads to many different geopolitical concerns, and nations change their minds over time in such cases. This is one more reason to get out of Afghanistan now rather than prolong a conflict that is no longer in America’s best interest.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 2, 2011 12:36:32 PM | 36

Deep State - I prefer Submerged State. It is shadowy, quasi-invisible, it moves in strange shapeless ways in the murky depths. I like that expression because it applies to ordinary ppl’s views (why those taxes? why arrest...?) and stresses unpredictability, mystery, rather than secrecy.

The French have a nice expression, gestion à la petite semaine, - literally, management over a short week, meaning dealing with both humdrum matters and crises in an ad hoc, immediate way, without any long term plan, without a literal road map, marketing plan, policy position, step-by-step achieve the aims chart, etc.

At some point, in some situations, such behavior and attitudes become the characteristic of the top point man or woman, in whatever position they hold, which may be quite lowly but with clout all the same. A good example is some artistic milieus, like the French luxury trade, where gurus and their trusted deputies take on the spot decisions in function of omens or personal impulses of any kind. Then they sink or swim (Yves St. Laurent, Galliano..) That may seem to be silly trivia, a way-out comparison, but I mean it to point to the fact that what happens in the ‘market’ such as selling lux clothes is one thing while foreign policy implies a completely different organization.

....I’ll stop this quirky rambling here right now.... ;)

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 2, 2011 2:26:08 PM | 37

I will say it once again, everyone must be very careful what they wish for here. If Pakistan, Russia and China corner U.S. Troops and significant casualties are experienced as a result, what exactly do you think the response would be? It would force a Military Coup in the U.S., and the ensuing Military Dictatorship would level the area with a vengeance heretofore unseen from the U.S......meaning there would be no more pussyfooting subterfuge and attack by drone. There would be an all-out Blitzkrieg. I don't think Pakistan, China and Russia are that stupid....but you never know, it's possible. If it gets to that point, we all lose, and there will be no winners besides the cockroaches.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 2, 2011 2:37:49 PM | 38

MB, you mean surrender is the best defense? in another post I thought you were stating that resistance is futile (you disagreed with that interpretation, I must add), now you take your argument a step further

of course, your scenario of Russian and Chinese troops in Pakistan shows a lot of imagination, probably none of thought of it, let alone wish for it

Posted by: claudio | Dec 2, 2011 5:17:22 PM | 39

ops... should have been: "probably none of us thought of it"

Posted by: claudio | Dec 2, 2011 5:19:14 PM | 40

I don't have any real difficulty, b, in agreeing with you that it's the Department of Defense which decides.

However the case of Iraq doesn't correspond. The generals wanted to stay. It is the politicians who decided to depart.

It may be that there are more layers here than one imagines. The Secretary of Defense may think one thing, and the generals another.

Tnere has been difficulty in imposing this decision, because it suggests that the US has lost in Iraq. That is right, because the US has really lost in Iraq, although it never lost a battle.

You won't get US generals to accept that.

Politics may have succeeded in Iraq, but b's basic point is true: US foreign policy is decided by the military aspect.

You could argue that the Brits were the same in India. If there was a political problem, they sent a column, and the natives were simply massacred. Evidently, from time to time, as in 1842, it was the British troops who were massacred.

Today you can't do that. But I wonder whether US foreign policy today is not a relic of that idea.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 2, 2011 5:29:29 PM | 41

@ Morocco Bama

...everyone must be very careful what they wish for here

Wish for ? Childish, ridiculous.

If Pakistan, Russia and China corner U.S. Troops and significant casualties are experienced as a result

Why would they corner and directly conventionally attack US forces ? The US chooses to corner its own forces and then make incomprehensible threats given the situation. There are a myriad of ways for nations to exert pressure and apply force short of direct conventional conflict between regular military ...

... ensuing Military Dictatorship would level the area with a vengeance ... all-out Blitzkrieg ...

Is there not already a pseudo military-corporate dictatorship, going back decades ? The mask is merely allowed to slip more and more as the circumstances change and time passes ...

The US would risk armaggedon if pressured over an accelerated exit from the Hindu Kush, an exit it has already declared, I think not. Blitzkrieg with what against whom, where, how and without consequence ?

The danger lies in unjustified escalation, the risk of miscalculation, the lethal mix of hubris, fate and raw bad luck in a powder keg.

The empire is clearly in decline, diminishing economic and political power, raw military power on the wane which it knows not how to use except in the most brutish fashion whilst it can.

Regarding the 'incident', what would the US reaction have been with the roles reversed ?

"THE WILD beasts of Italy have their caves to retire to, but the brave men who spill their blood in her cause have nothing left but air and light. Without houses, without settled habitations, they wander from place to place with their wives and children; and their generals do but mock them when, at the head of their armies, they exhort their men to fight for their sepulchers and the gods of their hearths, for among such numbers perhaps there is not one Roman who has an altar that has belonged to his ancestors or a sepulcher in which their ashes rest. The private soldiers fight and die to advance the wealth and luxury of the great, and they are called masters of the world, without having a sod to call their own."

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 2, 2011 5:46:09 PM | 42

@ Alexno

Very true. Different power centres and interests behind the facade of Obama and elected office, vying for control on any particular interest. The current power plays remind me of the inherent structural infighting in the Nazi elite and state organs, below der fuehrer(not a relative figurehead).

Reviewing the British empire and the British East India Companies actions and experiences does illucidate. Ruthless, brutish military conduct indeed, then and within limits, now.

US military only ever risks conflict against a weaker, less capable foe, somewhat cowardly and thuggish, in order not to risk a 'win'. Convincingly defeated by Vietnamese and Iraqi nationalists ... and now the turn of the Afghanis ?

How dare the people of Pakistan not submit to blatant aggression and threats, dare to act in their own nations interests and not comply as a vassal of empire should. How dare they, indeed.

Such 'Full Spectrum Military Dominance' (not) and no risk free ability to exploit it (before they lose the financial ability to sustain it), how terribly frustrated they must be ... imagine the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs bedecked in dress uniform, stomping his feet, throwing a temper tantrum on the floor of the 'War Room' :)

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 2, 2011 6:18:33 PM | 43

@ 32.
Re: NATO plans push in eastern Afghanistan to quell Pakistan-based insurgents

The problem I have with that headline is that it's the Yankees who are the insurgents, based on the strict meaning of the word 'insurgent'.
Americas fake wars are all about invading foreign countries to kill people who don't want them there. Describing those people as "insurgents" is flagrant think-tank inspired abuse of language.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 2, 2011 8:30:31 PM | 44

@44

Re: NATO plans push in eastern Afghanistan to quell Pakistan-based insurgents


plus they are "insurgents" they fund with other "secret" hands, though not all of the West's secret hands share the same opinion

"France, it seems probable, made surveillance equipment available to Libya with full knowledge of what it would be used for: unlike the U.K., it had reason to fear the LIFG. In the wake of the Afghan jihad, LIFG cadre had fought in alliance with Algerian jihadists, who also targeted France. Paris had little patience with the U.K.'s opportunistic love affair with Islamism which, French intelligence used to say, had turned one of the world's great cities into a hub for religious extremists they called Londonistan."

http://www.thehindu.com/news/article2681926.ece

Are western secret services out of control completely? I guess, they are.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 3, 2011 5:27:07 AM | 45

Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?

Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath

An online copy at scribd

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 7, 2011 1:32:24 PM | 46

Great to see that MOA is still self-impressed and prideful in its mistakes on understanding US Govt activitiy.

"Spending political capital" to make the "right decision" huh?

Wow. You must be a policy wonk!

Posted by: Karl | Dec 9, 2011 2:56:59 PM | 47

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