Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Education and Opinion

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic leaders, DOCA Members, we have just put up lots of very good op-eds on the Education and Opinion part of our homepage [see: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/]. Notable among them are:

Missile Defense

•A piece by Sec Gates on the changes the Administration has made to missile defense plans in Europe http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/opinion/20gates.html?em.

•A piece from the Wall Street Journal critical of the Administration's missile defense plans in Europe http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204518504574418563346840666.html?mod=googlenews_wsj


•A piece by GEN David Petraeus that posits that Afghanistan is hard … but do-able http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6839220.ece

•One by Senators Lindsey Graham, Joseph Lieberman, and John McCain urging the Administration to not "muddle through." http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574404753110979442.html

•And one by Frederick Kagan, Kimberly Kagan, and James Dubik that argues that Afghan forces aren't yet a substitute for our own. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091103625.html


•A piece by Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi and Austin Bay which argues that the while US forces may depart Iraq by Dec 2011, the Iraqi Air Force will not be ready to do the job until 2016 at best, or more probably 2018 or 2020. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574404643254697058.html

•One by Thomas Friedman which talks about Iraq's nescient institutions. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/opinion/13friedman.html

•A piece by Andres Oppenheimer that questions Venezuela's ties to Iran. http://www.miamiherald.com/421/story/1242157.html


•A piece by Amb Chester Crocker that posits that we confuse engagement as a strategy … when it is really a process. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/14/opinion/14crocker.html

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association


gogosian2061 said...

["TYPOs CORRECTED"] = MIKE et al = All good links. For me, especially, on Sept. 17th White House and the Pentagon/MDA's BMD 'architecture changes' recommended. There seems a lack of authoritative "Inside the DC Beltway" expertise for those of us no longer in the Pentagon loop[s]. I watched the C-SPAN2 hearings of Sept. 23th before Senate Armed Services Committee; but had the impression that NO[!] Senators were "buying the product" being pitched for sale by the Obama Administration witnesses, however! Initially I just wrote this off as an 'early warning signal' of an independent streak to surface later on the healthcare debate - and that was confirmed by Senate Finance COmmittee rejecion of both 'single payer' amendments offered by Senators SCHUMER [D-NY] & ROCKEFELLER [D-WVa]! Yet on DoD ISSUES, HOWEVER, question remains: where is HIGH FRONTIER on the BMD timely issue? Are they no longer in Alexandria? There is a web site, plus phone & fax listings (with recording) - but NO REAL PEOPLE on the shared web site with the Jamestown [on the moon?] Foundation. SO - "WHATSUP"?

Enrico Valentia said...

Ambassador Crocker establishes differences between various forms or usages of the term “engagement.” Crocker fine tunes distinctions between “’engagement’ [as] one of the trickiest terms in the policy lexicon” and engagement as a term used by the Obama administration “to contrast its approach with its predecessor’s resistance to talking with adversaries and troublemakers."

Striving for clarification, Crocker asserts that “engagement in statecraft is not about sweet talk,” and he lists many things that engagement is not.

Reminiscing, Crocker states that “diplomatic engagement is proven to work -- in the right circumstances,” and he lists venues in which “American diplomats have used it [engagement] to change the calculations and behavior of regimes. …”

Crocker asserts: “Engagement is a process, not a destination.” In other words, engagement is not an accomplishment in and of itself, that is, engagement does not, necessarily, bring a happy conclusion. To establish warnings of negative results that may arise from “engagement,” Crocker enumerates several risks that total at least five in number. I shall, arbitrarily, number the risks about which he warns:
1. Domestic opponents will intentionally distort the purposes of engagement.
2. Each side may try to impose preconditions for agreeing to meet and talk – and ultimately negotiate.
3. The rogue regime may claim that engagement confers legitimacy.
4. A successful engagement strategy may leave the target regime in place and even strengthened.
5. [Engagement] may succeed. If we succeed in changing the position of the other country’s decision-makers, we then must decide whether we will take yes for an answer and reciprocate their moves with steps of our own.

The fifth and, as Crocker describes it, “the greatest risk of engagement” centers on the possibility that “if talk is fruitful, a negotiation will begin about taking reciprocal steps down a jointly defined road. Engagement diplomacy forces us to make choices. Perhaps this is what frightens its critics the most.”

A paraphrased question arises in Crocker’s concluding paragraph. This question is: “What [are] we … willing to offer in return for the changed behavior we seek”?

We have no idea what the Obama administration is REALLY requiring of these rogue nations, and, perhaps, neither do they.