HYBRID DIPLOMACY

O diplomat of great nation Hybrid — contact: hybrid.diplomat «at» gmail.com

The China-Afghanistan-US Relationship

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As President Obama has set a deadline (I like deadlines; I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by) to withdraw troops from Afghanistan beginning in July 2011, analysts are beginning to examine the power vacuum that might exist in the region. Foreign Affairs magazine looks at the emerging Afghan-Chinese relationship HERE.

Astute readers will also recall Robert Kaplan’s piece regarding China-US interest convergence in Afghanistan back in October HERE.

Select Kaplan quote:

“Everyone keeps saying that America is not an empire, but our military finds itself in the sort of situation that was mighty familiar to empires like that of ancient Rome and 19th-century Britain: struggling in a far-off corner of the world to exact revenge, to put down the fires of rebellion, and to restore civilized order. Meanwhile, other rising and resurgent powers wait patiently in the wings, free-riding on the public good we offer. This is exactly how an empire declines, by allowing others to take advantage of its own exertions.

Of course, one could make an excellent case that an ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan is precisely what would lead to our decline, by demoralizing our military, signaling to our friends worldwide that we cannot be counted on and demonstrating that our enemies have greater resolve than we do. That is why we have no choice in Afghanistan but to add troops and continue to fight.

But as much as we hone our counterinsurgency skills and develop assets for the “long war,” history would suggest that over time we can more easily preserve our standing in the world by using naval and air power from a distance when intervening abroad. Afghanistan should be the very last place where we are a land-based meddler, caught up in internal Islamic conflict, helping the strategic ambitions of the Chinese and others.”

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Written by hybriddiplomat

April 14, 2010 at 01:42

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