NATOs Open Secret: ‘Transition’ is a really an ‘Exit Strategy’

November 17, 2010

NATO is busy this week ,developing euphemisms to describe its defeat and retreat. NATO calls it “transition”. NATO doesn’t want to call it “Exit Strategy“. The Exit strategy now called “Transitions” and will reduce the ISAF footprint in Afghanistan. Just a few weeks ago, Richard Holbrooke was promising the Afghan, the Pakistanis and the world that the US would never withdraw from Afghanistan. This is total and absolute contradiction to Bob Woodward’s book which describes President Obama’s firm commitment to end the war.

The mechanics of are being defined by NATO. An alliance that could not win the war is now trying to tell the world that it can plan for a “Transition” and can dictate an “Exit Strategy”? The Treaty that has lost control of 90% of the area in Afghanistan has no credibility. While the Taliban rule the Afghanistan, the US and NATO wants to force the Pakistan Army to fight its wars in Waziristan.

The NATO alliance’s first major assignment has been a colossal failure. The European alliance has been unable to bring the Afghans under European control. After a decade of war and gore–NATO realizes that it is stuck in a quagmire and that there is no way out of this cul de sac–except a U-Turn.

Reading the denials from the US officials reminds one of the statements ringing from Saigon. Tall claims from McNamara informed the world that the defense of Vietnam was in the national interests of the USA. Similar claims of US interests are dying on the vine in Afghanistan. As the choppers left the rooftops the world saw a superpower defeated, never to return back to Southeast Asia.

The Reuters story is a case study of wordsmithing and euphemisms that cannot change the realities on the ground.

The NATO summit in Lisbon this weekend will mark a turning point in the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan as it lays out a roadmap to end combat operations by 2014, the top U.S. envoy to the region said on Monday.

But that won’t spell the end of the international presence in Afghanistan, said U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke.

“From Lisbon on, we will be on a transition strategy with a target date of the end of 2014 for Afghanistan taking over responsibility for leading the security,” he told reporters in the Pakistani capital.

“We have a transition strategy. We do not have an exit strategy.”

He stressed that 2014 would not be a repeat of 1989, when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan in defeat and the West turned its back on its former proxy battleground, leaving it a cauldron of Islamic militancy and civil war. The Taliban emerged from this stew as did Osama bin Laden.

“This does not mean international force will leave completely, and it definitely doesn’t mean we’re going to repeat 1989 when the U.S. turned its back on Afghanistan as soon as the Soviets left.”

Many in Pakistan and Afghanistan still point to the abandonment as the United States’ original sin and the cause of many of the region’s problems.

“What happened in 1989 was a straight line to 9/11, and from 9/11 to where we are today,” the U.S. envoy said. “It is the most extraordinary story of unintended consequences I think in American foreign policy history.”

July 2011 would mark the beginning of the withdrawal as planned, he said. U.S. President Barack Obama set next summer as his starting point for the drawdown of U.S. combat personnel following a surge of 30,000 troops he ordered last year.

“One thing you can be sure of is that there will be some drawdown by July of next year,” Holbrooke said. (Reuters) –

There is an elephant present in the horizon. President Obama told the Indian leadership: “Like your neighbors in Southeast Asia, we want India to not only ‘look East’, we want India to ‘engage East’ – because it will increase the security and prosperity of all our nations.” Obama seemed to be pushing Bharat towards a “Look East Policy. No similar statement asked Bharat to engage in Central Asia or Afghanistan. While the US has implicitly acquiesced to the Pakistani demand that Afghanistan be considered as zone of influence for Pakistan, the US also asked Bharat to engage in economic development of Afghanistan as long as it is part of a joint effort with the US. The US wanted Bharat to toe America’s line on Iran and Myanmar.

The next three years will witness the alliances in Afghanistan (ISAF and NATO) planning for an orderly withdrawal and saving the lives of its soldiers. While the politicians continue to force Pakistan into a perpetual war in Afghanistan, the US soldiers will be holding their own and trying to lie low so that they can get out alive from the “Graveyard of Empires”.


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