Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Echoes of Vietnam

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John Judis hears echoes of Vietnam. In a follow-up post he puts the fundamental contradiction at the heart of Obama’s Afghanistan strategy more succinctly:

Its objective of “breaking the momentum” rather than defeating the Taliban suggests to me that it has resigned itself to a messy, pre-modern pre-democratic, partially-Tribal, partially Islamic fundamentalist Afghanistan in which, nonetheless, al Qaeda does not have a refuge. That is really its objective and it is not consistent with a policy that actively promotes democracy and human rights. It may also be the best that the U.S. can hope for. Prior efforts at “nation-building” in underdeveloped countries ravaged by civil war, e.g. South Vietnam, have not proven successful. But my point in my own previous post about echoes of Vietnam is that without some kind of nation building in the next two years, Obama will not have created the conditions for America to begin withdrawing his troops. Instead, the U.S. will find itself (as it did in Vietnam) back in Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.

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