tv [untitled] April 17, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
you can describes the risks that i describe are acceptable risks and the cost is not worth payin payin paying. that is a reasonable position. you can also decide i overstate the risks. one should have a body of evidence to support that view, not a kind of bumper sticker. the dominos didn't fall in vietnam so let's go. absent dealing with those questions, what one has is a rather pure yal debate a little bit like children saying i'm tired and dad saying we have 50 miles to go. that is understandable. it's human, it's not intellectually enriching. so there are risks. the chance of success i think is quite low. there are a lot of reasons for that. we were asked what we can do
about it. and that is, of course, where years of diplomatic practice come from. i don't know how gloomy it is. my job is to figure out what it is we can do about it, even if that might be hopeless. i don't think it's quite hopeless here. but in considering, this we need to know where we are in the transition period. i agree with a great deal of what tony had to say about douzly reporting of what's happening. we are only now at the point where we are testing the theory. we have considerable military success in the south where our troops are. but we do not know whether the afghans can take that over. we know that our troops will have to is fight major battles in the east. we know that there's a plan to
do that with repositioning but we have not seen the results. i could go on, but what i'm really trying to say is this is a bit like finding your end of course and you're about to take the midterm and deciding to drop the cross before taking the midte midterm. we will over the course of this next year take that midterm and have a better basis to judge the transstrategy. i think given the level of risk i see it's important to use that year as best we can and then rejudge whether we really have possibilities here. yes about what it is we can do. there's always a lot we can do, but we swing rather wildly between very large expectations and deep depression when the world doesn't change
instantaneously. and when one looks at what we can do, i would say, by the way, this is unlikely. but the most important single thing we can sdo do is to steady down on our sbengs. because every player takes position to some degree on the united states. those who side with us, those who ous, those who are fighting us, those who are simply neutral and looking for their own survival. and the really right now is they have no bloody idea what we intend. this is true of president karzai who told me so. it's true of his most fervent critics who say they don't understand what we intend after 2015 but they have to survive. we have a transition policy beginning to come into focus. the fact remains at this point
our intentions post 2014 are not very dleer. our messaging is rather mixed. what does it mean for the pakistanis? they're looking at a strategic situation where they believe we will leave prematurely and the process we have undertaken will collapse and leave to civil war. what does this do? creates hedging behavior. you tighten your ties with the colleagues if if you're not going to run. you think there may be a civil
war whether you've got your colleagues as battalion or brigade commanders where they're stationed in the country and that takes precedence over professionalism because you're going to have to fight with them to survive. so there are hedging behaviors. you want to find with the taliban but you think you might be leaving? if you think negotiations are a rapid alternative to war, you suggest that your appetite for war isless than your opponent's. and you are simply raising the price or the propensity to simply wait you out. i'm not against negotiations but understand their parallel. so if there is is single thing that are homingly important for our chances of success, it's to define what you're going to put into it.
i was asked to say what could we do about it. i've bchb doing afghanistan for a number of years now. i went there for the for time in 1967 and i can tell you there's nobody who actually understands afghanistan in a comprehensive way, but the virtue of those who work on it for a long time, we can raise your confusion to a higher level of detail. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. i wanted to begin the discussion by highlights where ambassador new nan just left off. i went to kabul a few weeks back. it was after the koran burning after the shootings at the ministry of interior and kabul was on lockdown. a lot of my meetings were cancelled. the upside is that freed me up
to meet more afghans. and to a person, every afghan i met said exactly what ambassador newman just said that there is uncertainty. afghans want to know what we're going to do. the problem a number of them highlighted. fe we don't know how many u.s. forces are going to be there, which development projects are going to continue, how much money is going to be available, how with ke plan? the afghan people are going to be responsible for holding off the taliban or dealing with them somehow. they're gong to be responsible for running their government and holding up their economy. if they don't know what the commitment to the international community and the united states in particular that they can count on, that creates a sense of uncertainty that leads to widespread feelings of vulnerability. and a number of people told me this. the powerless and even a number
of powerful people within afghanistan feel themselves vulnerable. that leads to hedging behavior. both economically, we know that a lot of money is leaving afghanistan every day. it's been expatriated by people who think it's a safer investment elsewhere, that there are a number of powerful people. you know, a lot of the war lords may not have the large followings that they used to but there are still a lot of people collecting small arms and trying to build up the relationships that they think they might need just in case there might be a civil war. the problem with hedging behavior is that it very quickly become a self-fulfilling prof fi. i would like your opinion as to whether that's the more important consideration or whether it's more important to
help the afghans plan their own playbook? >> i'll take a shot at that. we already told the taliban, the main element of our playbook and that's when we are leaving. that's making the strategy extremely more difficult and starting everyone to start hedging years in advance of when they would otherwise have done so. i don't see a big down side to that, but i do see two big opportunities. the first is, as ambassador newman mentioned, the agreement with the afghan government about what we're going to do, where we're going to be, that will h especially stabilize the situation, not only internal with afghanistan but the pakistanis.
afghans have a reasonable prospect of what assistance is going to be available to them. the continuing commitment of the countries that are currently fighting in afghanistan, to tep them see it through, that, too, would really stabilize. and i very much hope that the obama administration will take advantage of those two big opportunities and it seems to me that they are. we all know the numbers. this is not going to be a year when the congress is going to spend more money than the president requested. it's going to be cut again. we're going into chicago having already decided we are not going
to spend anything like the money that's called for in the plannings. those are civil aid programs. the problem is the spending has become from military spending not aid. it was 6% of the department of defense spending over a ten-year period. and this is tt last year we can have a major impact on transition. as i pointed out earlier, virtually cut the amount of money we plan to spend next year
on the afghan national security forces in half in the budget requested. that money poors into the afghan economy. it probably puts more into the u.s. economy than the u.s. aid budget by a factor of 2 to 3. we are going to go to 4.4 billion, the future planning figure where a year ago, we were planning to spend about 80% of that money, we're now talking 25%. now, going into chicago and getting more pledges is going to be like the bond conference. and if you look at the world bank report, which is the only thing we have, there is no u.s. economic transition plan for afghanistan.
the world bank report talks about what's going to happen with or without chicago. you can see that and the issues are raised in the department of defense report. some of these facts, as ron points out are who picks the facts. we have three reports on this kwar that matter. and i would suggest it's about time we start reading them. because we only have one fiscal year to make this transition and we' already made most of the decisions. >> there one source has to do with numbers another has to do with politics in afghanistan, the government and so on. we would like your thoughts on those. >> the original question was
whether making plait book clearer would be an advantage. tony talked about how dismal the playbook is. and with the usual deference that i have for my colleague, i agree the playbook is not real good. and frankly, i think our choice of numbers is really too low. even what we are going to do, if it is understood and publicized does have value within the political system, which we're talking about was your official starting point, what people expect us to do.
the broad expectation is 2014. you would have a big argument about whether that army is sufficient and also have an argument about how much of our dollars pours into the afghan economy. an awful lot of that has gone into equipment. and a lot of what has gone into the economy has been construction of facilities which we would have not have been continuing anyway. but besides the army of salaries -- so i still come out that tos important to have greater clarity about what we are doing. whether or not that policy is totally adequate to the transition, but the second point i would make is it's kind of an operational one. but signing the strategic partnership agreement is going to have a one or two-day half
life. people forget documents very quickly. ff we really want to use the greater clarity that has the afghan army out of chicago. if you get a degree of clarity, whether adequate or not, there may be an operational question about if this is a policy issue. it is a policy issue. if you don't do it, you lose the effect of your document. on governance, sorry to take so long to wind up to your question here. we are now in a position where
we have enormous suspicion between us and president karzai. and some of that suspicion is because we don't like the way they do things. a great deal of that suspicion has always been caused by us, by our complete mishandling of him and by the misperception of our motives. i guess i'm harder on our stupidities than theirs. but the fact is we're now dealing with the situation with a great deal of mistrust. and we have a situation where we don't have clarity about whether we will stay. this means our leverage for domestic and governance change is fairly low. i wish it was fair. it is not.
once you've handed over sovereignty, you don't have the ability to make that size change anymore. should someone bring them forward to 2013 or 2014, if you did that, that's a great political deal with the parliament. can we push more into the provinces? there's an argument for doing it. those things are worth looking at, but i think one has to recognize the amount of influence we have is for marginal change over govr nance in the next year or two. >> please wait for the microphone to arrive. and identify yourself and please keep your question very brief. we don't have very much time left and we would like to maximize the amount of time for discussion.
let's start with this gentleman here. >> i have two brief questions. i found it instructive that nobody had mentioned nato. my first question is what do you think the impact of afghanistan is going to be on nato, given that european publics are even more disposed against a war than the majority of america is. and second, about pakistan, what do we do? i think one of the many nuts of the problem is that going back to musharraf when he was chief of staff and president, the pakistanis have always disagreed with our strategy in afghanistan. they have argued from the very beginning consistently it was not going to work so why should they support a strategy they think was go i think to fail and that's been their view collectively for the last five or six years. what do we do to turn that around? or is there really nothing we can do and no matter what we
think, pakistan is going to get worse until it gets better. >> thank you very much. question two is at the tabl. >> thank you. my name is debbie smith. a run an ngo kids with disabilities in afghanistan and kabul. my question is for corey, in regards to your comments on the increase of boots on the ground, vis-a-vis state department assets, it's been my observation watching things in -- >> make the question very brief, please. >> yes, i'm sorry. that we have approached it from more of a top down as far as development instead of bottom up. i'm wondering if you could just speak to that? >> and the final question back by the back door, please. >> thank you. i first wanted to thank you for your comment about how the military does everything right and all the rest of the government is -- does everything horribly. >> please identify yourself,
sir. >> no, just joking. my question is, how can we engage militarily, or is it even possible to engage militarily in a cooperative manner when diplomatic channels tend to close up or tensions tend to increase? is that even possible? should our military leaders actually continue to push engagements despite military -- or diplomatic tensions? or is it just inevitable for the military engagements to suffer when diplomatic engagements suffer? >> thanks very much. why don't we begin with corey. >> i'll take them in reverse order. first, i think that -- >> we have three minutes each. i'm sorry. >> chinese military to military relations with the united states are a great illustration of the fact that when the political relationship is difficult, actually, the quiet low-key cooperation we have in military
channels is actually quite advant oijous and even more important. i, myself, am quite critical of the extent to come which we are reliant on senior military people to perform fundamentally diplomatic functions. my favorite example is sending the chief of staff of the army to iraq to talk to the iraqi political leaders about that stalemate. that sends a terrible signal about american diplomacy that we are overreliant on combat boots rather than wing tips or at least good black shoes. for what needs to be done diplomatically which takes me to your point. i think you are exactly right. it seems to me that we are not thinking clearly or strategically about how to do development assistance well. and it is shocking given that we live in a country with the most tumultuous productive economy in the world. that we focus on top-down things, in part because they're easy.
also because gloriously, we have the experience of ngos and religious organizations and, you know, the big, beautiful mess of american civil society has in the last 15 years moved into development assistance in an enormous way. and it's been great for the world. but we haven't rethought the question of, what do we need to do as a government in development assistance. should we actually ambassador newman has talked quite thoughtfully about this subject and you might want to talk to him afterwards. but there's a lot we ought to be rethinking about what does the government need to do at a time when remittances and civil society and private philanthropy is doing so much in this space. harlan, to your point -- >> 20 seconds. >> so i won't talk to the nato piece but the pakistani piece. they do not have a positive strategy themselves for either their own success or success of what they want to achieve in
afghanistan. working with them in a constructive way to nudge them towards things that the afghans might actually want, that the pakistanis also want and finding a basis for cooperation with india is an extraordinarily difficult task but it's the fundamental one. >> thank you very much. tony? >> well, very quickly, i think in the case of nato, and this is the thing we all need to remember, nato countries have populations which have already discounted afghanistan as a good part of america has. we have forgot ben what happened in vietnam, but while there are real rinks, what minimize the risk is that people already saw as a war that didn't matter when we left. and that greatly reduced the impact it had internationally. the real problem, i think in nato now is whether nato europe is going to actually ever implement any of the current strategy in terms of its more
limited power projection capabilities and what coherent structure will exist there? the afghan war is not the test of nato. europe is. the case of pakistan, i think, we need to be realistic. without getting into it, i think that the agency's study of pakistan probably is realistic. pakistan today is what pakistan will be in 2014. it is not quite a failed state, but it is a failed government. and its attitudes on the afghan war are not ones we can change through negotiation. it will be a major problem, and the sanctuaries will remain. in terms of the whole problem of top-down engagement and the rest, the fact is, i think when we talk about military diplomacy and civil diplomacy, what i see in the u.s. and pakistani teams
are actually very good mixes of civil and military diplomacy, but whatever you do in negotiation, you can't do more than the people you negotiate with will allow you to do. and the problem isn't that we had the wrong strategies or the wrong methods of negotiation. we will do a little better with pakistan because military to military and civil dialogue but not much. and finally, on the whole aid issue, understand that our prt structure already during 2013 will implode down to five entities undefined but no more than five. the allied prts will probably go at least as quickly. that means that some time by the end of 2013, the number of operational aid workers in the field for governments will be
somewhat like one-third of what they are now and the whole surge will disappear. how much money they'll have is anybody's guess. that's going to put more and more of a burden on the ngos, if the ngos can stay. but the thing that's being forgotten here is that the contract security forces that many people depended on will be gone. and the replacement for the contract security forces are one of the undebated failures of the development of afghan security forces. the system isn't working. and it isn't going to work in the foreseeable future. >> thank you dr. cordesman. >> i'm going to take your challenge for three minutes. on the -- i we think need both top-down and bottom-up. recognize two things. bottom-up as vital as it is, is very, very difficult to scale up
quickly. it -- the success of most small projects is that they are done carefully. you can't massively expand them. and we are an impatient folk usually asking for very fast results that pushes us to both top down and it pushes us to often demand speed and metrics highly unrealistic and then to blame the project implementation when that fails. i don't think i know enough about nato to say something useful about that. i can speculate but it's not worth having. on pakistan, one cannot possibly answer that question in the two minutes and five seconds i have left, but i would say that we -- first of all if we had greater clarity about what we were going to do, we would have somewhat more chance of influencing the strategic perceptions of pakistan. without that clarity, we give up the greatest single lever we
would have to change their understanding of the world they have to live in and deal with. secondly, we alternate between -- we want a strategic relationship and we're mad. mad as in angry, not as in other potentials. that alterination is confusing. and it serves little purpose. and one needs to understand that both elements of pressure and of reward are going to have to operate rather continuously. i don't think we do that. on this last question, which is a very complex one about military engagement as civilians, when it's -- if you are talking about negotiations, then i think the answer is these are parallel tracks. you do both simultaneously. prime minister rabina fond of quoting on this one asked