Sometimes it is the small, unreported events that provide interesting signs of a larger agenda in play.
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]
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.
Few appreciate the depth and destructive consequences of Pakistan’s decades-long program to “Islamize” every aspect of the society in every remote corner of the country.
Regarding a new strategy for Afghanistan, even Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States says that a tougher approach needs to be adopted toward his country:
While Washington D.C. frets over military stalemate and troop levels, American policy in Afghanistan and South Asia is about to be overtaken by events, which potentially could render the U.S. strategically irrelevant for a generation or more.