Afghanistan - Yesterday, I watched file footage of General McChrystal at his confirmation hearing. In it he clearly said that he intended to wage a "comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign." (paraphrasing). I hadn't heard that before. Well, he was honest. I mistook him for someone else with different intentions. Did the president and David Jones not know what he intended to do? Did they not talk to him before giving him the job? Did they not see that he would demand more troops? Implicit in his stated intention is the task of creating a new and grand Afghanistan that will be a stout hearted ally of the United States in our quest to make the world an unsafe place for takfiri jihadi folk. As I have said before, this is an enormous task, an enormously expensive task that will take a long time. The American people will grow weary of the whole thing before transformation of Afghanistan is achieved. They will demand an end in one way or another and we will then leave. General McChrystal's "strategy review" is an interesting thing. Since McChrystal already knew what he intended to do before he left for overseas to take command, what are the conferees strategizing about? I suppose that it must be "the plan," in other words, how much to ask for and how fast. McChrystal evidently assembled a group of COIN enthusiasts and a few strategery groupies from the think tanks to help him think this through. They have decided that all out COIN (nation building) is the answer. Surprise!!! He is going to ask for more troops? Of course he is. What else could he possibly do, given his intentions?
The Economy- It seems to me quite possible that the economy will not be what it was, not for a long time, maybe never. Our worship of "free trade" has caused us to export our manufacturing base while importing hundreds of billions of dollars in finished goods that we have been paying for with the credit derived from borrowing dollars from some of the countries to which we exported our capacity for making things other than numbers stored in computers. Translation? We are really a lot poorer than most people yet understand. There may well be a "bounce" back out of this recession. That will be driven by an illusion of well-being, but the underlying reality will still be there and it will catch up with us. It would seem that Ross Perot was not so crazy when he talked about that "sucking sound" as jobs flowed out of the US in pursuit of "comparative advantage." Will we still like "free trade" if it makes most of us poor?
2012 - People like Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour may have more of a future than one might have thought a while back, but what sane person will want the job? pl