Monday, October 16, 2006

Jamais vu

Stoppers have a limited palette: Vietnam, Stalingrad and one battle in Afghanistan. Every military action undertaken by the US and her allies now has to be compared to one or other of these events rather than, say, Sierra Leone.

There is actually no obvious historical analogy to contemporary Afghanistan. Saying "Hi, we're your friends, we're just going to burn your livelihood" would never have worked well at any time, anywhere on earth.

Iraq does have an obvious parallel, but it doesn't seem to have been made much. A state that is basically a post-war conglomerate of several different ethnic and religious regions, collapsing into appalling violence after the removal of a strongman? The former Yugoslavia springs to mind.

Buy the damn opium from the Pashtun farmers, and expedite the break-up of Iraq into its natural constituents.

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