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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.



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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
 
For the Help of Peachy

Wretchard has an excellent post on some of the strategic dilemmas facing the Obama Administration with its decision to escalate the Afghanistan War. The post covers some of the main themes that Wretchard has been writing about for the past year

1) As Obama seeks to escalate the war, he is also escalating the difficulties in supplying the troop presence int hat country. As the old maxim goes"amateurs study tactics while professionals study logistics."

The problem in Afgahnistan is that all routes into the country cross touble spots. To the west lies Iran, to the east lies Pakistan, and to the north lies countries who not only have a mixed record on human rights but also lies within Russia's historic sphere of influence. As the route across Pakistan becomes more problematic, Russia has put the squeeze on the northern route by bribing Kyrgzstan to close its main air base to Americans. This leaves Uzbekistan, with whom the Bush Administration cut ties with after its government killed hundreds of civilians. So to fight the "good war," Obama will have to start by cutting deals with some very bad people

2) Each of the three players mentioned above have other interests in regard to the United States that they can use their proxmity to Afghanistan to gain leverage. Russia and Pakistan have interests on its NATO border and with India respectively and Iran of course has its nuclear program and ties with terrorist groups. By escalating the war, Obama will give each of those powers an ability to levy a toll on the US for its good behavior.

3) After you add up the costs of the first two points along with the fact that the Taliban has the strategeic advantages of a local opium economy and an international border to shield them, you have to ask is this really worth it? To answer that depends on whether you think the center of gravity in the war against radical Islamic terrorists lies along the Pakitsan-Afgahnistan border or in the Arab heartland.

Well I'm sure Richard Holbrooke has it all figured out.