Afghanistan revisited

Korean War Memorial

Korean War Memorial (Photo credit: Cocoabiscuit)

The US is training Afghan security forces so that our fighting men and women can be brought home. The Afghans are slated to be responsible for the security of their country. There are at least two problems.

The Afghan security force is larger than the country can afford to maintain.

Members of the Afghan security force are regularly, once or twice a week, killing or wounding their US or allied forces trainers. They are saying that they don’t want us in their country and our withdrawal can’t come soon enough.

Thinking back over recent US history, I can’t think of a single significant war that the US has won since WW2. The Korean war was a stalemate; Vietnam was a loss. Iraq was either a stalemate or a loss depending on how the future turns out. I expect to put Afghanistan in the loss column, stalemate would be an unexpected victory. Grenada and Panama don’t count because our opponents were way overmatched. There is something very wrong here with our leadership, both within the Pentagon and without, if we continue to wage war and haven’t won since 1945, 67 years ago.

On the plus side, we did win the Cold War, but it was waged without firing a shot. We are losing/have lost the war on drugs and the war on poverty. It’s too early to tell if we will win the Global War on Terror.

Break, broke, broken

English: Fareed Zakaria, American journalist a...

English: Fareed Zakaria, American journalist and author (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When things wear out or break, good maintenance practice is to fix or replace them. When an individual or nation is short of cash or credit (broke), then maintenance is deferred. The US is in that position now. Devoting too much of our resources to defense and a sizable portion of the rest to social programs, we are cash-strapped to invest in education, research and infrastructure that will grow our economy in the future.

We defeated the USSR in the Cold War, because we increased our defense spending to the point that they could not compete. Their economy cracked under the strain. We are headed in the same direction with China, but now we are the ones whose economy is showing the strains. If our economy grows at 2-3% per year and the Chinese economy grows at 9-10% per year, the simple laws of interest compounding ensure that they will have the capacity to grow all their expenditures, civilian and defense, at a faster rate than we can.

It is my belief that we must grow our economy faster if we wish to remain a superpower. We will never grow our economy as fast as China does, but according to Fareed Zakaria, China is about to experience slower growth, around 6%, due to the sheer size of their economy. Therefore, the parties in Washington must stop their bickering and put our economy on a sustainable path to recovery. We have a more educated work force than the Chinese do. We should encourage everyone’s participation in the economy to reap maximum benefits for them and for the US.