America’s crafty little exit strategy.
The week's news at a glance.
Simon JenkinsThe Guardian
The Pentagon must be laughing fit to bust, said Simon Jenkins in the London Guardian. Everyone mistakenly assumed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld must have changed his mind on nation-building. After all, his country initiated two wars in basket-case countries, and the only way out of either Afghanistan or Iraq is to build local institutions that can maintain order. Only it turns out theres another exit strategy: Find some stooge ally to throw up a smoke screen and get out. In Afghanistan, Britain is that stooge. The U.S. is drawing down. And were sending 4,800 troops on a supposed peacekeeping mission to wipe out the worlds most lucrative opium trade and bring democracy, stability, and protection to southern Afghanistan. The wrinkle is that southern Afghanistan is the very area where the Taliban is resurgent. If our boys get stuck in a renewed hot war there, too bad for them. NATO and Britain have been suckered to the miserable task of covering Americas retreat. And the same thing could easily happen in Iraq. Its not fair to blame the Pentagon onlyour own Ministry of Defense is the willing partner. The default mode of American foreign policy is isolation and of British policy continued intervention. That makes Britain the perfect fall guy.