Maybe it’s just because it’s Thursday, which always seems to be a slow news day, but I find myself doing a lot of waiting today.
So, for example, I’m waiting to hear what President Obama’s response to Gen. McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan will be. Will President Obama continue to support the general’s counter-insurgency strategy, certainly the strategy he was appointed to pursue? Will he backtrack and pursue a counter-terrorism strategy? Will he begin the process of withdrawing from Afghanistan? Will he split the difference and give the general part of what he requested without articulating any strategy?
I’m waiting to see if, as Robert Kagan suggested in the Washington Post this morning, engagement is an end to itself or a means to an end. Iran has produced its meager counter-offer, which seems very unlikely to end or even slow Iran’s nuclear weapons development, if any. Is an Iranian bomb truly unacceptable, as both Presidents Bush and Obama have asserted? And what does that mean?
I’m waiting to see what the Congress produces in the way of healthcare reform and energy bills. I have little doubt that they’ll produce something that they’ll call healthcare reform and energy bills but I don’t have a great deal of confidence that the healthcare bill will have much reform or the energy bill much energy.
I’m waiting to see if the Obama Administration has a plan for turning the economy around. So far they’ve taken an expensive handful of temporary measures but not shown much of a vision for America’s economic future. If they’re expecting the economy to turn around on its own, why interfere with stimulus packages and bailouts?
I’m waiting to see if there’s a plan for putting the financial system back on a solid footing. Banks aren’t lending; most of the banks that were in the red are still in the red; the toxic assets are still sitting there, more toxic than assets. Will there be TARP III?
Maybe I’m just too impatient.
Maybe it’s just Thursday.
Point of clarification. Embarrassing as I read this stuff every day, but memory fails sometimes. Was McChrystal asked to specifically provide a COIN strategy or asked for a broader view of how to achieve the admin’s goals in Afghanistan? Did he not make some evaluation of a CT approach?
When President Obama appointed Gen. McChrystal, McChrystal’s views were well known. He favored a counter-insurgency strategy. When you hire Jacques Pepin to cook a dinner, you don’t expect chicken chow mein. The additional complication is that the administration stood mute on its goals in Afghanistan. The only definition of victory I’ve seen is the one proposed by Gen. McChrystal.
I think that might be backwards. Obama announced his AfPac strategy in March 27, 2009, which was specifically a COIN mission, accompanied by a commitment of 21k additional troops. The strategy is essentially to secure the South and East portions of the country while building the Afghan government’s ability to do so on it’s own. McChrystal’s subsequent appointment was heralded as “new leadership and fresh thinking” from one whom brings “a unique skill set in counterinsurgency to these issues.” (Sec. Gates)
McChrystal’s first assignment was to conduct an assessment of the situation, review current operations and propose revisions to tactics, strategy and overall operations. His report paints a dire picture and proposes more intensive COIN operations to complete the mission set out in Obama’s March of ’09 strategic announcement.
Do you think the once the health care bill is passed, the potential for job creation
in the health field just might be the ticket to help with the unemployment down the road?