Every national security decision should be made without emotion and based on probability and proportionality.
Lawrence Sellin | All Articles
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Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of “Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution “. He receives email at [email protected]
On January 1, 2018, The Daily Caller published information -- later confirmed in two separate reports, here and here -- about a plan for a Chinese military base on the Jiwani peninsula in Pakistan, near Gwadar, a sea port critical to the success of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Within months of their defeat, during the summer of 2002, the Taliban began infiltrating back into Afghanistan from their safe havens in Pakistan. Despite the presence of U.S. and NATO troops for sixteen years and billions of dollars in investment, the Taliban control or influence at least fifty percent of Afghanistan.
Sometimes it is the small, unreported events that provide interesting signs of a larger agenda in play.
In June 2017, nearly two dozen Chinese, protected by a Pakistani security detail conducted surveys and took soil samples in areas west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar near the Iranian border, suggesting the possibility of a major new construction project, according to on-the-ground sources.
In a mid-December op-ed at The Daily Caller, I questioned what appeared to be signs of Chinese militarization of Pakistan, in particular, and in the Indian Ocean, in general.
According to a December 12, 2017 Urdu-language news site report, during a high-level meeting presumably between Chinese and Pakistani officials held on the last day of the November Chinese Economic Summit in Hong Kong, China offered to train Pakistani security forces to protect both the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Pakistan and the Chinese nationals working on them. That follows a September 17, 2017 official CPEC announcement, whereby China would “assist” Pakistan in “capacity building” of “civil armed forces.”
There is a reason why we are still struggling in Afghanistan. We are fighting the wrong war, using the wrong strategy, under conditions that make it virtually impossible to win.
One day while working for a multinational corporation in Europe, I began receiving emails about what I will call Project Blue. I had never heard of Project Blue. I then contacted one of my colleagues to enlighten me about Project Blue. Known for her straightforward manner, she said it was much the same as Project Red, but Project Red wasn’t working, so they changed the name.
In a brief four minutes during a June 2017 PBS interview, retired Gen. David Petraeus, unconsciously revealed just how convoluted the thinking behind U.S. strategy in Afghanistan truly is.
It was not your typical Taliban improvised explosive device.
The common thread in the growth of Islamic extremism in Pakistan is its four decade official policy to harness Sunni militancy to suppress ethnic separatism and religious diversity domestically and advance its regional interests, particularly against Hindu India, Shia Iran and the perceived threat posed by Pashtun nationalism in Afghanistan.
Since its inception, religion has been used politically, as a unifying force, as a pretext for conquest and as a means to suppress dissent. It is the same for pseudo-religions like fascism and communism.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aims to connect Asia through land-based and maritime economic zones. CPEC is an infrastructure project, the backbone of which is a transportation network connecting China to the Pakistani seaports of Gwadar and Karachi located on the Arabian Sea.
Ironically, Pakistan’s opposition to U.S. and NATO efforts to stabilize Afghanistan through its support of the Taliban and Haqqani insurgents would lead to greater regional instability and, perhaps, create an existential threat to Pakistan itself should Western forces withdraw.
The U.S. is actually fighting Pakistan in Afghanistan and, ultimately, the outcome will be determined by the Chinese.
That astute observation is not mine, but Indrani Bagchi’s writing for the Indian Economic Times:
Up until now his advisors have offered President Trump two choices for failure in Afghanistan, one quick, withdrawal, and one slow, a continuation of the failed strategy of the last sixteen years.
Stated simply, one gigantic, transnational jihadi region in South Asia will come to exist.