Two "firsts" in Xi's visit to Japan2023-07-07
Palermo, a history scholar at the University of Southern California, points out that Obama's determination to increase resources for the war in Afghanistan means that the U.S. will have to pay more for the war in terms of lives and property.
Although U.S. President Barack Obama exactly when to formally announce the decision on adjusting U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan is still unknown, but four possible options have surfaced on the 11th. Regardless of how Obama ultimately choose from, increase troop strength and prolong the war have been finalized. This practice of moving against U.S. public opinion will certainly bring economic, military and political negative impacts, but also set off the huge challenges facing the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
Four options have surfaced
In the White House on the 11th held the eighth closed-door meeting of the U.S. national security team on adjusting the strategy towards Afghanistan, the military formally submitted to Obama to adjust the four options for the military force in Afghanistan.
The first option is to adopt in its entirety what McChrystal, the Supreme Commander of the United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has been calling for for months, namely, an increase of 40,000 troops on top of the current increase in the number of United States forces in Afghanistan to 68,000, and to invest heavily in the protection of 10 to 12 population centers in Afghanistan. This is known as the "McChrystal proposal".
The second option is to send an additional 30,000 to 35,000 United States troops to Afghanistan, while asking the NATO allies to provide another 5,000 to 10,000 people. According to the Washington Post and other media reports, this idea has received the full support of the U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates, and has become the military's preferred option, so it is known as the "Gates option". This is the option that is currently considered by American public opinion to be the most popular.
The third option, known as the "hybrid option", involves an increase of approximately 20,000 troops and proposes to conduct mobile counter-terrorism operations throughout the country while concentrating on key population centers in Afghanistan.
The fourth option advocates an increase of 10,000 to 15,000 troops, mainly for the training of the Afghan army, while narrowing the main mission of the United States forces in Afghanistan to fighting al-Qa'idah. This is known as the "minimalist option" because of the minimal investment of resources.
The White House said Obama has no clear preference for these options, and the final decision will still be made in "a few weeks".
Public opinion is of the view that all the above options are difficult to operate. The first option would be too large a troop increase and would require troops that could not be deployed in a short period of time and at too high a cost; the second option would require the active cooperation of the NATO allies, which would have many concerns about the increase in troop numbers; the third option would not be able to cover all the population centers in Afghanistan; and the fourth option would be too small in number of troops and would probably not be able to change the situation in the battlefield.
There's a reason why we're determined to increase our troops.
Palermo, a history scholar at the University of Southern California, points out that the above shows that Obama has decided to increase the investment of resources in the war against Afghanistan. This means that the United States will have to pay more for this war in terms of lives and property.
According to U.S. military estimates, the U.S. average of 1,000 additional personnel to Afghanistan, we need to increase spending by 1 billion U.S. dollars. U.S. officials admitted that military spending in the Obama administration's strategic assessment of Afghanistan is a "sensitive topic", because the United States is now "limited resources".
Meanwhile, since Obama's announcement at the beginning of the year of the 21,000-strong troop increase in Afghanistan, U.S. military casualties in Afghanistan have surged, and the record number of deaths in a single month has continued to hit a new high. Sanderson, a counter-terrorism expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the U.S. troop increase in Afghanistan will lead to an escalation in the intensity of the war, which will inevitably result in a continued increase in U.S. military casualties.
In this context, the United States public anti-war calls continue to rise. CNN 11 released survey results show that 58% of Americans against the war in Afghanistan. In the current Obama and the Democratic Party support rate is low political market, the troop increase is against public opinion and move, undoubtedly contains a huge political risk.
Analysts believe that Obama's preference for a troop increase despite this situation is influenced by three factors.
First, the basic judgment of the United States on the international counter-terrorism situation. After Obama came to power in January this year, he established a new strategic direction of "integrated counter-terrorism", but he still continues to regard Al-Qaida as the main threat to United States national security. Therefore, before achieving the goal of "destroying, disintegrating and routing" the Al-Qaida organization, he will not stop the military operations in Afghanistan and will increase the number of troops in order to control the situation.
Secondly, there are political factors. When Obama ran for president last year, he made a promise to shift the battlefield of counter-terrorism, calling the war in Iraq "the wrong war" and the war in Afghanistan "the war that must be fought". If he reduces or even abandons the military operation in Afghanistan, he is afraid of creating an unfavorable image of "halfway through the fight against terrorism".
Third, Obama does not have any military experience or background, so he relies on Republicans in national security matters and is reluctant to veto the opinions of senior generals. Counter-terrorism expert Nelson believes that if Obama to the front-line commanders of the request to increase the number of troops ignored, it will be a "politically dangerous move".
Counter-terrorism philosophy questioned
Because of the deep understanding of the significant benefits and harms of the troop increase, Obama is extremely cautious in the process of re-adjusting the strategy towards Afghanistan. From the end of August, McChrystal submitted a report on the situation in Afghanistan to date, Obama has not made up his mind.
However, some U.S. analysts have pointed out that, from all indications, the U.S. counter-terrorism concept has not yet departed from the "strength plus tactics" of the traditional model, and therefore it is difficult to say that there is much chance of victory. Foreign policy experts pointed out that the lessons of the Vietnam War has shown that this is only a kind of paper, in practice, often repeated defeats.
According to scholars such as Innocente, an expert at the Cato Institute, while a major troop surge might stabilize Afghanistan in the short term, "it would be a huge misperception to think that Afghans genuinely want protection from U.S. forces." On the contrary, prolonged occupation by foreign forces is the very trigger for unrest and conflict.
At the same time, if the purpose of the troop increase is to fundamentally stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, the United States does not have enough troops. According to the United States military's operational doctrine, about 620,000 to 770,000 troops are needed to ensure the physical security of all Afghan residents. Obviously neither the United States nor NATO can provide such a large military force. In this sense, no matter how many additional troops the United States this time, may be just "a drop in the bucket".
Analysts believe that due to the constraints of many factors, the United States currently has very limited options for its strategy towards Afghanistan, and the challenges remain, and thus it will be difficult to get out of the dilemma soon. ★