Some Friday Links-How Will The West Hang Together?

A podcast from Via Media on the importance of Ukraine: ‘Sochi, Putin and Russia’s Ambitions

A brief summary:  Ukraine is caught between a domineering old lover and the warmth of his embrace, and a somewhat feckless new EU dating-circuit offering great membership benefits and opportunities.  Perhaps content to play both sides off one another, and deeply divided herself, Ukraine could use some U.S. diplomacy to help her lock-in longer-term commitments to the West while keeping her pride intact.

The game is afoot.

From Foreign Affairs: ‘After Disowning ISIS, al Qaeda is Back On Top:

‘In early February, al Qaeda’s central leadership announced that it had severed ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an affiliate in Iraq and Syria. This step came at some cost of reputation for al Qaeda, but it will serve al Qaeda’s interests far better than maintaining a relationship with an affiliate that subverted al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and damaged the terrorist group’s image. Now that ISIS is disowned, its own reputation is in peril, with potentially devastating consequences. In the weeks and months to come, the United States would be wise to use the rift between al Qaeda and ISIS to promote its own interests in Syria and Iraq.’

And are we undergoing a serious recalibration of American public sentiment towards its political leaders and institutions, including the military?

Is the military sacrosanct, and/or will there always be a kind of moderate liberal-Left suspicion of all things military even when it’s discharged to fulfill moderate liberal-Left goals like human-rights and democracy promotion above all else?

Tom Ricks at Foreign Policy: ‘Where Is The Tipping Point For America’s Trust In The Military, And Are We Near It?’

The implication appears to be that no one blames the military for failing to achieve distinct victory. It leads one to wonder just what the American people will blame the military for. 

There’s a lot of ‘greatness’ bloat all throughout our government, and which we all have a hand in.

From Tom Ricks: ‘Best Defense Comment Of The Day: Jim Gourley On Spelunking Through PTSD’

Full post here.

A Jim Gourley responds to a guest poster on Tom Ricks’ blog, and elaborates on PTSD:

‘I give all due respect to the shrinks and counselors. They’re doing their best. But with all due respect, their best is nothing but best guesses. Because this isn’t scientific. It’s spiritual.’

An eye-opening read.  As a civilian, I’ll only say “thank you for your service,” and leave it at that.  The people back home do think about you and your sacrifice, PTSD or not.

Thanks to a reader for the link.

Tom Ricks At Foreign Policy: ‘COIN At Yale’

Full post here.

‘My one problem with the article is that it assumes that the counterinsurgent desires peace, and that this is the goal of any counterinsurgency campaign. But I suspect that for many people, the central goal of the American COIN campaign in Iraq in 2007-08 was to extricate the U.S. military from Iraq in a way that didn’t look like the Americans were just running away. I think that if that was indeed the case then, whatever ultimately happens in Iraq, then the 2007-08 COIN campaign succeeded’

Comments are worth a read.

Related On This Site:  From Foreign Affairs: ‘Stephen Biddle and Max Boot Discuss U.S. Afghanistan Policy’

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Tom Ricks Via Foreign Policy: ‘American General Dies In Afghanistan; An American Lt. Col. Goes Off The Reservation

Full post here.

The General died of natural causes, and Ricks briefly address the Daniel Davis piece.

‘That said, friends of mine point out that the article is longer on charges than on specifics. Also, despite the breathless tone of the New York Times article about Davis, one friend points out that the officer is hardly a newcomer to dissent, having written opinion columns frequently for the Washington Times.’

Related On This Site: This blog is at least two years behind events in Afghanistan, if it’s on them at all. From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanStephen Biddle At Foreign Affairs: ‘Running Out Of Time For Afghan Governance Reform’

Repost-From Michael Yon: ‘The Battle For Kandahar’Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”Monday Quotations-Henry Kissinger

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