Ivan Eland: NATO’s “victory” in Libya has sown many seeds of possible future calamity. But none is fraught with as much danger as providing a new “war on the cheap” model for Western nations that have fallen on hard economic times.
Ivan Eland: The problem is that the U.S. goal in Afghanistan—although President Obama has reduced it from George W. Bush’s instituting democracy to merely stabilizing the country—is still too ambitious.
Ivan Eland: With the justified firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his replacement with Iraq water-walker David Petraeus, it’s as if people are hoping for a second coming of Jesus in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the replacement may be similar to the second coming of the water-walking Joe Gibbs as coach of the Washington Redskins.
But isn’t there hope for Iraq and Afghanistan because opposition forces are divided and often unpopular? Not really. The problem in Iraq is that as U.S. forces draw down, the now reduced guerrilla war could turn into a civil war among the Sunni, Shi’ite, and Kurdish ethno-sectarian groups. In Afghanistan, Afghans regard the United States as a foreign occupier, are suspicious of the U.S. long-term military presence, do not support a surge in U.S. forces, do not think it will defeat the Taliban, and thus support negotiating with the insurgents.