Saturday, April 21, 2007

Rory Stewart on The Agenda

If you haven't heard Rory Stewart speak, do yourself a favour and watch or listen to Steve Paikin's interview with him on The Agenda.


CanuckJack said...

Interesting that Rory feels we should be spending all our time in Afghanistan working on solving the everyday problems like garbage and not be "chasing taliban in a counter insurgency effort that we're never going to win". These two ideas are not mutually exclusive, were it not for the NATO troops enforcing security there would be no safety for the NGOs to go in and do their work. And yet he does acknowledge that fact so I'm not entirely sure I understand the man at all...

Interesting fellow though and I was very surprised to hear him talk about how pulling out of a southern Iraqi province led to an improvement of the situation there. That is definitely great to hear; however, I'm not convinced that because it worked there that a complete pullout of American troops is warranted. The overall situation if far to complex and there's too much at stake here. If the US pulls out and the country falls into a massive civil war no amount of garbage collecting NGOs is going to be able to repair the situation.

Obviously this problem is very complex, so I'll stop pretending that I understand it now.

John said...

Stewart: Coalition pretends to control Iraq... The mission was a failure... [would've been] even if we got those things [don't abolish army, Baath Party, etc.] right.

Intuitively, that makes sense to me. Iraq was a cobbled-together country long before the U.S. invaded. A natural end to Hussein's regime probably would've been bloody anyway. In the end, I think Iraq's neighbours will determine its future, in the same way that they determined Palestine's half a century ago.

On Afghanistan, I wouldn't want the sentiment "Bring back the Russians; at least they built bridges" to be prevalent as the NATO mission finishes up. And I honestly can't see that being the case: didn't Canadians build a major highway recently?

As for the counter-insurgency battle, I don't know enough to say whether we can win it (or should even be trying). I will say that intelligence-led operations against training camps and the like make a lot of sense to me. Allowing these groups to operate with impunity in Sudan and Afghanistan in the 1990s was a mistake.