Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hillier and Harper are both wrong

Yesterday I blogged about the "contradiction" between what General Hillier said regarding the length of the Afghan mission and what is the government line on its length. Of course, it was just politics as usual.

However, I believe that both of their lines are wrong. My guess is Canada will return home from Afghanistan before 2011, mainly because the NATO mission will end before then.

The reason is the Americans and the Iraqi insurgency.

It is widely expected that the new President of the United States will begin pulling troops out of Iraq very soon after being sworn into the White House. Everybody but George Bush knows that the Americans have lost the war in Iraq and they are going to want to cut their losses.

The fallout from that event is going to shape what happens in Afghanistan.

First, there is American public opinion. It is very likely that Americans will not be in any mood to continue fighting any kind of war in that region of the world for the foreseeable future so pressure will begin to mount on the new President to remove all American troops from Middle East and South Asian hotspots. That opinion will only be hardened by the other big event that will follow the US withdrawel from Iraq, the movement of Iraqi insurgents to Afghanistan.

There is a significant segment of the Iraqi insurgency that does not give a damn about Iraq. All it cares about is fighting the Americans and the other western militaries occupying Muslim countries. Once the American leave Iraq, these "soldiers of Islam" will move towards Afganistan to do there what they did in Iraq. Such a move will be facilitated by Iran, which will probably be looking for ways to punish the US for bombing them.

Once these battle hardened insurgents get to Afghanistan the war there will degenerate into the same situation we are currently seeing in Iraq. The American people will not tolerate any more casualties so if the Americans did not already remove their troops from Afghanistan soon after they removed them from Iraq, pressure would grow on the President to do so.

The War on Terror is a Bush war and the new President will not be as committed to it.

Once the US begins to remove its troops from Afghanistan, NATO will not be too far behind. My guess is the NATO withdrawal will begin late in 2009 and be completed by mid-2010.

Incidentally, President Karzai knows this, which is why he has begun talking to the Taliban. He knows what happens to Afghan leaders who are installed and supported by foreign troops after those foreign troops finally leave Afghanistan. He want to escape the same fate.


Blogger Susan said...

Great post, but do you think the world can survive complete chaos or complete fundamentalism in the Middle East. I think Bush and his boys have had the explicit agenda of destabilizing the Middle East to prevent the whole region from becoming unified against the US. But they have to stay there to keep the situation somewhat controlled. What choices will the new government have?

October 28, 2007 2:53 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

That is just it. They cannot control it and their belief that they can is what has lead us to this mess.

If the fundamentalists come to power they will have to govern and satisfy their people if they are to survive. That means they will follow the same route the current governments are taking. Sell oil and sell it to anybody who will pay the market price for it.

The only real worry I see is what could happen during any transition from the current regimes to new ones. The uncertainty of such a situation would cause a rather substantial spike in energy prices. However, I would point out such a spike will be the result of Western commodities traders and not the governments of the Middle Eastern countries.

October 28, 2007 9:57 PM  

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