McCaffrey’s View of the Future

From SWJ via Zenpundit, if you haven’t seen it already you might want to take a look at the following slide containing some observations of the future from Gen. Barry McCaffrey.

Gen. McCaffrey's View of the Future

You may get a little increased resolution by clicking on the graphic.

I think that most of the predictions are pretty solid, indeed, even prosaic. However, there are a few items that I take a bit of exception to.

For example, I think that the U. S. needs to exert some pretty strenuous measures to tamp down the burgeoning feud between Russia and the United States which, in my view, has been allowed to fester through a nasty combination of Russian nationalism and American indifference. Russia and the United States are the world’s premier nuclear powers. The other nuclear powers—the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan,putatively Israel, and even Iran should it, as both Gen. McCaffrey and I believe likely, enter the nuclear club—don’t have anything like the nuclear capabilities of either of our two countries and, consequently, at least tolerable relations between the two countries is of premier importance for the good of the world.

This statement also brought me up short:

North Korea will come apart. We must facilitate a soft landing for this dangerous regional nuclear power.

What in the world can we do (other than staying the heck out of the way) to “facilitate a soft landing” that China, Russia, and South Korea aren’t in a much better position than we to facilitate? A soft landing for North Korea is well within the vital national interests of China, for a host of reasons including national prestige and avoiding a stream of desparate North Korean refugees from streaming into already strained areas of China, and South Korea, since the two countries are, realistically speaking, a single country divided by a DMZ.

I note in passing that Gen. McCaffrey seems to predict an additional 34,000 U. S. casualties in Iraq as well as an additional expenditure of an additional $432 billion over the next three years. Cheery thought.

His observation on Pakistan is also cheering:

The situation in Pakistan is unstable. Our position in Afghanistan would be untenable without Pakistani support.

As I’ve said before I believe that “Pakistani support” is a fan dance and our position in Afghanistan has always been untenable.

I think he’s unnecessarily pessimistic about both Cuba and Venezuela. However, if the entirety of Latin America continues its drift away from proven methods for increasing economic growth and prosperity, the whole region could become a security, economic, humanitarian, and environmental nightmare.

I think he’s about right on Iran. I think Iran will have nuclear weapons within the next couple of years and neither the U. S. nor Israel will do much about it.

Your own analysis and predictions would be welcome in the comments.

4 comments… add one
  • What is the relationship between #1 and the rest of them? If the US economy has a severe recession (like 1973-75 or 1980-82), would this change things? What about a more severe event, sufficient to end the post-WWII global economic regime?

  • A very good question. I think that if whatever economic downturn the U. S. has is very severe it will have significant adverse effects on other countries, particularly China. A significant downturn in the Chinese economy could make things very, very dicey.

  • Dave,

    The primary motivators of South Korean and Chinese policy toward North Korea are preventing regime collapse. Both countries are perfectly willing to dump aid with little regard to how it’s used and I think they will work hard to support the North should collapse be imminent.

    As far as Pakistan goes, what McCaffrey means is that the mission in Afghanistan is dependent on Pakistan, mainly because our supply lines run into Pakistan. The US government understands the fragility of Pakistan right now, which explains the negotiations currently going on to open up Russia and the central Asian states as supply routes. So if the new Pakistani government decides to give us the middle finger we’ll still be able to operate in Afghanistan. It remains to be seen what price Putin/Medvedev will extract in return.

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