Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 02:43 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 02:43 | SYDNEY

Perpetual war


Sam Roggeveen


7 January 2010 09:26

This essay in The New Republic on 'the cult of counterinsurgency' (thanks to Scott for the link) is worth your time. It shines a light on the role of a relatively young Washington think tank, the Center for a New American Security, in building a constituency within the Obama White House for a reinforced military effort in Afghanistan. CNAS's efforts, it seems, have helped give counterinsurgency doctrine a centre-left sheen:

(CNAS's) prominence, in turn, has effectively hitched the Democratic wagon to the ambitious ideals of counterinsurgency, with some liberals even arguing that the doctrine--with its emphasis on protecting and improving the lives of civilians--is thoughtful, humane, and, therefore, inherently progressive.

The piece ends with a dark warning to the Democratic Party of the consequences if the Afghan surge fails, but the consequences of success are also worth noting. If the Obama-Petreaus surge leads to progress in Afghanistan similar to that which Bush achieved in Iraq in 2007, the US will have both its major political parties fully invested in the counterinsurgency doctrine.

When the next candidate for counterinsurgency and military-led nation-building emerges (Yemen, anyone?), where will the voices of military restraint come from?