Monday, October 12, 2009

The McChrystal Doctrine: India and Afghanistan

There are two factors General McChrystal is pushing for when it comes to India and Afghanistan. And the factors he is pushing for, put the Taliban in a win win situation.

First to his comments on India and Afghanistan.


Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian.

Now you would think that McChrystal would welcome a nation like India setting up a working relationship with the Afghan government.

But that is not what is taking place. McChrystal had this to say.

Increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India.

When you stop and think about the plan that McChrsytal wants, conservatives should carefully analyze what McChrytsal is suggesting here.

He has stated that he thinks the Taliban in Afghanistan should be part of the political process.

With his comments on integrating the Taliban into the political process, you have to ask how realistic is that when you consider who the Taliban are.

If the Taliban want to be part of the political process, why are they fighting?

This idea that we can change the hearts and minds of the Taliban is fool-hardy and an excellent article was written by Col. Snodgrass on the very topic.

There is one more fatal structural flaw in the counterinsurgency strategy that was relevant to our failure in Vietnam, but is even more relevant in Afghanistan. The underlying premise of counterinsurgency rests on the unproven assumption that the indigenous personnel can be "taught" to be democratic, honest, and efficient by US counterinsurgency forces. This unproven assumption is based on another faulty assumption: That insurgents are motivated by a desire for Western or "modern" democratic and capitalistic values. US counterinsurgent thinkers and warriors have not grasped that these values are the antitheses of what motivates the Taliban and their recruits.

In Afghanistan the problem is not nation building of a failed Afghan government, it is instead Sharia-Islam and Islamic Jihad. The 66-page report from General Stanley McChrystal mistakenly continues the politically correct position regarding Shariah-Islam that was erroneously adopted by President George Bush. This erroneous position is that Islamic Jihadists are misinterpreting the Qur'an by promoting violence in the name of Islam. According to the McChrystal report, this theological error by the Taliban is their Achilles' heel that can be attacked by convincing the Afghani tribesmen that the Taliban's interpretation of the Qur'an is wrong!

On the contrary, the Taliban and villagers who are rallying to the Taliban are not fighting because Afghanistan has a failed government. Afghanistan has always had a failed government. The Taliban are fighting and winning because they are convincing Afghanis that Shariah instructs them to kill or subdue the infidels -- native Afghani non-believers (that is, non-Sharia practicing Muslims) and "kafir" foreigners. McChrystal's report accepts the horribly flawed sociological analytical framework that 7th century Afghani tribesmen are fighting because they don't have a Jeffersonian democracy and clean water.

On the contrary, these 7th century tribesmen are fighting to preserve 1200 year old traditions underscored by an Islamic legal doctrine - Shariah -- that demands nothing less than total submission. Any war strategy that fails to recognize that Islamic Jihad derived from classical and quite authoritative Shariah is the enemy's doctrinal template and therefore their motivation is bound to fail, just as the Vietnam strategy that did not recognize the centrality of the DRV, caused the failure in that war.

The idea that the Taliban will work with the native infidels in Afghanistan as Col. Snodgrass points out, should be debated greatly.

Moreover, arguably, with India in country and developing relationships with the Afghan government, stability in the region can be achieved by the U.S. having an ally like India in the region and then focus can be put on Pakistan and the corruption within that country.

For too long, Pakistan through the ISI, has been complicit with the Taliban. You could argue that Pakistan has its own death wish and wants to spread it through the region.

However, when it comes down to India being in Afghanistan, the motto of both Pakistan and India becomes "if my enemy is the enemy of my enemy, then they are my ally."

Two different headlines to articles makes this point.

Attack on Indian Embassy aimed to foil India-Afghanistan friendship: Rao

Pakistan Taliban Raid on Army HQ May Speed Strike

Now with the next headline, the issue is with India completely reversing itself on dealing with the Taliban and the change can be directly attributed to McChrystal's policy on integrating the Taliban into Afghanistan's political process and his comments on India being there.

India supports reconciliation with Taliban

For the last eight years, since the Taliban fled from Kabul in November 2001, India has staunchly opposed a dialogue with any section of it.

India’s position has remained: there is no purpose in talking to the Taliban; there is no such thing as a moderate Taliban.

But now there is a shift. In New Delhi today, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, addressing an international seminar on Afghanistan, declared that India would support the process of “reintegrating individuals with the national mainstream”, code for dialogue with the moderate Taliban who agree to renounce violence.

If McChrystal thinks he can achieve peace through having the Taliban join the political process and have American troops drop their body armor and go through the Afghan towns and cities, shaking hands, then let him lead the way for six months without the body armor.

If you want to call out a target rich environment for terrorist, it doesn't get any louder than what McChrystal is prescribing through what I call the "McCain surge."

What McChrystal is suggesting is; the McCain version of torture and quite frankly, you don't win wars against the enemy by adopting the McChrystal/McCain method when it comes fighting terrorists.


sai said...

India is the only Democracy in the troubled region. India has invested $1.5 billion dollars for development work in Afghanistan.

India's role in Afghanistan is more important as it promotes Democracy in Afghanistan. USA should help India to promote stability and democracy in Afghanistan.

Joy said...

Afghanistan is a lost cause for US now. Its already too late for US to change course now that Taliban is deeply entrenched in Afghanistan and Pakistan. US allied with the wrong side(Pakistan) and lost the war. Reconcilliation with Taliban is a quick and easy way for US to get out of Afghanistan. India was US to get out of Afghanistan and hance cut of US support of Pakistan. Hence India supports US reconciliiation with Taliban, just to make it easy for US to make the exit. Once US is off the scene, India will get involved big time in Afghanistan and will be doing a clean up job alone with help from Russia, Iran and Tajikistan, India's traditional allies. It will be a better outcome when India gains more control over Afghanistan rather then the current US-Pak coalition.

Tom said...

Joy, I agree that India should stay but I question McChrystal and his comments on India being there exacerbating the problem.

The change in attitude by India puts India in the position of supporting McChrystal's plan, a plan that will not work.