For John, BLUF: You can't save the whole world. Nothing to see here; just move along.
"Kerry pouts". In a Washington Post OpEd, Ms Jennifer Rubin shows some confusion as to who is a foreign policy realist (e.g., Senator McCain isn't) and who is not, but she does nail the situation when she talks about the hopes of the many in our foreign policy arena.
In a real sense the world view of the left — our enemies are just confused future friends who need to be told how their interests can really align with ours — is coming apart at the seams. The irony is that the Obama officials have fancied themselves as “realists.” The actual realists are John McCain and others who’ve been telling the administration for five years that its belief that most of the world’s problems result from cloddish U.S. action or misunderstanding or failure to talk earnestly with opponents is the stuff of never-never land.Just as Tip O'Neill told us that all politics is local, so most foreign affairs problems are local. And, as they are local, they are probably not something we can fix.
Here is an extract from a review of a new book on the war in Afghanistan, An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict 1978-2012.♠ This is a PhD thesis by Mike Martin, Captain, [British] Territorial Army (the Queen paid for it).
“Within the west,” says Martin, “we have this insurgency narrative. That there is a legitimate government in Afghanistan, supported by the international community, and we do good things like democracy, women’s rights and counter-narcotics. And on the other side of this binary narrative is the Taliban. And they do bad things like throw acid in girls’ faces.”Our enemies are possible future friends, but at this point they aren't confused. They think they know exactly what they are doing.
But Martin says if you speak to the Helmandis, they understand the war in completely different terms. “For them it’s a war between families and tribes and clans. And it’s over things like land, water, poppy-smuggling routes. Simple things like jealousy or how two cousins will fight over their inheritance of land from their grandfather.”
Hat tip to the Instapundit.
Regards — Cliff
♠ No Kindle version yet.