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Thread: Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month

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    Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month

    From Reuters:

    Pakistan's closure of supply routes to the Afghan war is costing American taxpayers $100 million a month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday, as he recommended possibly setting conditions on future U.S. aid to Islamabad.

    Panetta's decision to disclose what had been a closely guarded figure at the Pentagon appeared to be another sign of frustration with Pakistan and will do little to generate sympathy for that country in Congress, which is wrestling with ways to scale back the U.S. budget deficit.
    Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month | Reuters

    IMO, the U.S. should deduct the monthly costs being imposed on it by Pakistan's conduct from its annual assistance to Pakistan. Currently, the U.S. provides $1.5 billion per year in assistance to Pakistan. Pakistan has become a generally unreliable and often openly hostile entity. Its cooperation in areas of interest to the U.S. has become minimal to the extent that, in my view, a fundamental reassessment of the bilateral relationship should be undertaken by the U.S. even beyond the issue of Pakistan's conduct vis-a-vis military supply lines.

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    Re: Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    From Reuters:



    Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month | Reuters

    IMO, the U.S. should deduct the monthly costs being imposed on it by Pakistan's conduct from its annual assistance to Pakistan. Currently, the U.S. provides $1.5 billion per year in assistance to Pakistan. Pakistan has become a generally unreliable and often openly hostile entity. Its cooperation in areas of interest to the U.S. has become minimal to the extent that, in my view, a fundamental reassessment of the bilateral relationship should be undertaken by the U.S. even beyond the issue of Pakistan's conduct vis-a-vis military supply lines.
    We should not be giving Pakistan ANYTHING at this point. They have proven they are the problem.

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    Re: Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month

    Why the U.S. taxpayers should give ANY money to Pakistan is beyond me, and if put to an OPEN vote would fail. Congress, as usual, doles this BORROWED money out in some "omnibus" massive spending bill that nobody debates or even cares to question, except MAYBE Ron Paul. We wonder why Iran is so dead set on getting nuclear weapons, yet once ANY country gets them we, the sheeple, start paying them to play nice, even if they do not.

    The entire "war on terror" is a joke, we pretend that a handfull of "independent" morons are waging this Jihad, yet simply ignore the OPEN assistance from MANY nations (like Pakistan and Afghanistan) that permit them to raise funds and set up shop within their borders, and instead pretend that they are "helping us" fight them. Pakistan, and its corrupt and USELESS gov't, that gave sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden, is our friend and trusted partner, Afganistan's corrupt and USELESS gov't is our friend and we, the sheeple, allow this nonsense to pass as U.S. foreign policy without a peep, send our tax money to prop up these foreign morons and send our troops to protect them so that "worse bad guys" will not get power?

    Perhaps letting the "worse bad guys" get in power, then fighting a REAL war (using the help of ALL of our allies, even Israel, that we also waste lots of money on), crushing the entire nation and its means of production, would work just a tad better. If the most powerful military on the planet can not get beyond a statemate, against an enemy that has no air force, no navy and a "rag tag", at best army, in over a decade of "fighting", then we have a VERY bad battle plan. USA, USA, USA...
    Last edited by ttwtt78640; 06-19-12 at 09:50 AM.
    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself.
    Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

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    Re: Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month

    Quote Originally Posted by ttwtt78640 View Post
    If the most powerful military on the planet can not get beyond a statemate, against an enemy that has no air force, no navy and a "rag tag", at best army, in over a decade of "fighting", then we have a VERY bad battle plan. USA, USA, USA...
    The indecisive outcome in Afghanistan does not reflect a lack of power. IMO, it very much reflects what has become an Achilles Heel of sorts for the U.S. military: a lack of strategic planning capacity. The lack of strategic capacity arises from many factors, including an unwillingness or inability to pay attention to the details of a country's history, dynamics, institutional setting, and, in general, its overall context. As a result, the U.S. military is capable of powerful opening moves. It can sweep governments from power. One witnessed that in Iraq and in Afghanistan, where Saddam Hussein and the Taliban regime were toppled quite easily. Lacking a strategic vision that anticipates likely developments for which history provides an invaluable roadmap (sectarian differences in Iraq that were held in check by Hussein's dictatorship and sectarian/decentralized context of Afghanistan), the initial gains of the opening move are largely squandered in the middle game so to speak. The result is a muddled outcome. Quite frankly, the results that were attained in Iraq and are highly likely to be attained in Afghanistan are far less than what was possible. Given the resources (financial, manpower, time) and opportunity costs involved, the outcomes are far from satisfactory.

    Going forward, U.S. military leaders need to make an honest and searching effort to address their lack of strategic capacity. Otherwise, the United States's vast power will continue to be used very inefficiently. The costs of such inefficient application of power are high (financial, manpower, reputation, eroded capacity for diplomacy).

    At the same time, the nation's civilian leaders need to make a much stronger effort to assure that foreign policy tools (including but not limited to the use of force) are applied in a fashion consistent with the nation's interests and in a fashion likely to produce the best outcomes. That means limiting the use of force to situations where critical interests and allies are threatened and where no other practical alternatives exist. It also means greater reliance on non-military tools.

    In addition, Congress should probably subject military plans for major operations to a review by a panel of eminent retired military leaders and leading civilian strategists prior to granting approval for those operations. At a minimum, the exercise should be aimed at identifying the contingencies that are too frequently being missed and requesting that those contingencies be addressed prior to Congressional approval for the operation. Clearly, the Pentagon would resent such an exercise. However, such scrutiny has become necessary on account of the Pentagon's repeated episodes of bad planning. Those failures are not isolated circumstances. An added level of scrutiny is justified, even if it hurts feelings. The nation's interests and ability to use power in a fashion that sustains those interests must take priority.

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    Re: Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month

    I don't believe the fundamental problem is so much a lack of strategic planning capacity in the US military as it is a dysfunctional political culture in the United States generally. No amount of planning by the military can compensate for the fact that it has now become entirely legitimate in America's political culture to use foreign military conflicts to achieve domestic partisan political advantage. This happened during the Second Iraq War. There's nothing the military can do about this state of affairs.

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    Re: Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month

    Pakistan closed the supply line because we screwed up and killed 24 of their soldiers. The 1.5 billion dollars a year we pay in aid money is actually a bribe so the Pakistani government overlooks incursions into their territory. Its childish to whine about the consequences of our own failure, especially when they could have been much worse than merely closing the supply line.

    The bigger issue is the destabilizing of Pakistan that happens every time an incident like this occurs. Its getting very hard to justify whatever our theoretical goals are in Afganistan versus the reality of civil unrest combined with nuclear weapons.

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    Re: Pakistan route cut-off costs U.S. $100 million a month

    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Di Salvo View Post
    I don't believe the fundamental problem is so much a lack of strategic planning capacity in the US military as it is a dysfunctional political culture in the United States generally. No amount of planning by the military can compensate for the fact that it has now become entirely legitimate in America's political culture to use foreign military conflicts to achieve domestic partisan political advantage. This happened during the Second Iraq War. There's nothing the military can do about this state of affairs.
    I believe it is a combination of both. That realistic scenarios raised by, among others, as General Zinni (whose Desert Crossing simulation correctly assessed Iraq's potential for instability following a removal of Saddam Hussein), don't get incorporated in the military planning is a major problem. It indicates, at a minimum, that the current military leadership's probabalistic assessments are biased toward ideal cases. That the guerrilla warfare of the Taliban was not anticipated in Afghanistan (despite Afghanistan's history of uprisings in the earlier Soviet and British invasions) and decentralized tribal structure was all but ignored in focusing on the Karzai regime, suggests that the military was not aware of the range of scenarios possible in Afghanistan. History provides a sense of perspective, a sense of constraints, and a sense of possibilities. One wonders whether today's dazzling military technology has blinded the leadership to history's lessons or perhaps even led some to assume that such lessons are irrelevant. They aren't. In the end, the outcome in Iraq should have been better than it was.

    In Afghanistan, when NATO departs, the departure will be played up as a "victory." The ugly reality will be that that situation was not victory and was not defeat. It will probably be marginally better than the circumstances that led to the Soviet departure, but in this case no superpower was aiding the other side. If another superpower or even great power had been aiding the Taliban, one cannot assume that the U.S./NATO expedition would have fared any better than the Soviets did. That's not very comforting.

    Prospective foes will see through the hollow rhetoric of victory, as will rising powers. That will make deterrence and other national security challenges even more demanding, especially in an era of fiscal constraint that lies ahead. The lesson they will take away is that any opponent need only survive the tenacious early onslaught of the U.S. military. After that, there will be time and opportunity to regroup and regain ground, because the U.S. middle game is anything but formidable. Moreover, as the U.S. has a democratic government, the public will eventually put pressure on the elected officials for a change in course once the marginal benefits of sustaining the military effort relative to marginal costs rapidly disappear.

    I'm concerned about the strategic deficiencies and suboptimal outcomes that have resulted, because power matters. Arguably, power is probably more important than ever today, because deterrence is essential to limiting the risks posed by non-state actors who typically are less risk-averse than nation-states.

    Finally, I strongly agree with you about the dysfunctional political culture. Things have evolved to the point where expediency and ideology take precedence over the long-term and problem-solving. I believe S&P correctly diagnosed the political problem in its downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. Since then, there has been little indication of improvement.

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