Panetta, in Afghanistan, Lashes Out at Pakistan
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  • vanderleun

    I would think that, like Biden, it is very difficult to tell anything about “policy” from the glottal eructations of Panetta. As I am sure most are aware, we are not really dealing with the A-Team when we are dealing with the classic gopher that is Panetta. Briefly put his talent is to be either the Schlamiel or the Schlamazel depending on what his puppeteers need, or what he thinks they need, at any given point.

    Panetta could be the poster child for “The Treason of the Clerks,” except for the fact that he’s not an intellectual heavyweight by any means.

    All this stuff is so much blather in the general holding action that passes for Foreign Policy and Military Strategic Thinking in 2012.

  • rkka

    “Could the US be about to invite Russia back into Afghanistan as part of the plan to keep the Taliban out?”

    Given the Russophobia of the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite and Punditocracy, arms supplies to the “Glorious Afghan Freedom Fighters – The Moral Equivalents of our Founding Fathers” would follow a US handover to Russia as night follows day.

    And Putin knows it.

  • Mrs. Davis

    Time to start using that drone base in Rajasthan.

  • Kenny

    Amazing — a cheap political hack like Panetta is Defense Secretary.

    No wonder our foreign policy is so mess up.

    And don’t forget who is Sec. of State. In a just world, that battle axe would be doing federal time for perjury, the White Water scam, and Cattlegate instead of hoofing around the world in her pant suits pretending to be a statesman.

    Good Lord, the Russians, Chinese, Arabs and the rest must be laughing themselves silly behind closed doors at the clowns we send out to represent us in the world, don’t you think, Mr. Mead?

  • Bobo from Texas

    More “smart diplomacy” from the Hope&Change! administration.

  • Steve S.

    Sec. Panetta argues that that if Afghanistan and Pakistan are left to themselves, everything so far expended and sacrificed for the war on terror will be undone. Meanwhile, we continue with the plans to abandon it all, and also to sequester $500 billion from DoD.

    The disconnect of the Obama administration from reality is near total. Obama cannot distinguish between being President of the United States vs. president of the senior class.

  • “Russia, China, India and Iran all hate the thought of what Pakistan wants to do in Afghanistan. Can this bond of common interests form a coalition that with help from the United States prevent the radicals and terrorists from repeating the Taliban’s original victory in Afghanistan?”

    So I’m moved to hope anyway – with the right degree, diligence and sensitivity of persuasion on the part of the US. Meanwhile I remain one of those children who never quite grasped from the get-go just HOW, as things stood, we were ever going to manage a serious, deep, longhaul Afghan occupation. How, that is, WITHOUT the steady input and investment of Russia, India and, yes, Iran (a rather different country back then, if you remember – and who’s to KNOW it couldn’t have become still MORE different with the right nurturance and encouragement? “What?! BLAST your effeminacy, boy! Diplomacy is a [granite-jawed] MAN’s work!”)). As opposed to a unilateral reliance on old reliable Pakistan as springboard and supply-base.

  • Eurydice

    That would be pretty darned fascinating, wouldn’t it? China’s already worried about US-India ties and Russia wants to get back onto the world stage.

    It’s interesting to imagine how any of this would get done in our political clown-car environment. Maybe there’s a super-secret inner circle of Democrats and Republicans who are willing to actually speak to one another?

  • Toward the end of the Vietnam conflict I remember I was concerned that the South Vietnamese regime might be too corrupt to justify the US continuing to spend money keeping the North Vietnamese out. Even at the time however I felt that we abandoned an ally which was sincerely anticommunist is a less than honorable way. I always patronize the Vietnamese businesses I encounter because I know very well they were started here in the West by people forced or who chose at great risk to flee. Like with any historical situation there are parallels and discontinuities too numerous to detail. I’ll restrict myself to two. Karzai resembles Diem in striking ways. On the other hand, there is no westernized element like the Roman Catholic population of South Vietnam in Afghanistan.

  • bob sykes

    Whatever Panetta’s personal failings, he is Secretary of Defense, and he is on an official visit. Moreover, his comments have not been “clarified” by the White House or the Secretary of State. There is a real threat to Pakistan in his comments. Whether the current Administration has the will to carry out the threat remains to be seen.

    American foreign policy reflects the needs of the American State and not the needs of the individual President. That is why the policy changes so little from one presidency to the next. New Presidents often find themselves eating their words.

  • Norm Hapke

    This fragment needs a verb and object:
    It’s not clear to Via Meadia and may not be clear to the White House just how committed to keeping the Haqqani network and the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan as the US leaves.

    As Ralph Peters has said, it’s nice to know that when we leave and the poppy crops start growing absent our interdiction, the main ‘beneficiaries’ of the drug are Iran and Russia. Maybe they’ll stop being adversaries and free riders.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Norm Hapke: good catch. An intern’s peaceful Sunday with the family has been brought suddenly and decisively to an end.

  • BD

    What is the evidence that Pakistan’s plans for post-withdrawal Afghanistan is opposed by Iran?

    A rare error by the WRM team.

    Iran’s primary goal is, and will always be, to wage war on the US and Israel and make common cause with the enemies of both. They’ve done it before with both the Taliban and al Qaeda despite cultural, ethnic and religious differences that most analysts always say are anathema to Iran and these groups. The facts have indicated this is rubbish.

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