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Doc Madhu on “Sweet Strategery of Strategic Depth”

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Onparkstreet, a.k.a. Dr. Madhu has a post I rather liked on Pakistan’s maniacal quest for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan, over at Chicago Boyz:

The Super Sweet Strategery of Strategic Depth

Pakistan’s beliefs in the value of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan were influenced by two factors. The support it received from the U.S. in waging an armed response against the Soviet occupation triggered the belief. The success of that endeavour with no apparent costs to itself, gave Islamabad the illusion of being able to play a major role in the geo-politics of Central Asia. This more than anything else led to the belief that Afghanistan provided the strategic leverage Pakistan had long been seeking. The energy-rich Muslim states of Central Asia beckoned both Pakistan and the energy-seeking multi-nationals. Iran’s standing up to western pressures was proving an obstacle to long-term plans for energy extraction from the region. Afghanistan offered both shorter energy routing and political control through Pakistan.

V. R. Raghavan (The Hindu, 2001)

Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, “wants a reliable proxy that has territorial control of the P2K area,” Mr. Dressler adds. This desire is the result of Pakistan’s historic conflict with India. “If India comes across the border, Pakistan can fall back into Afghanistan and drive them out. It’s about strategic depth vis-à-vis India. As long as that continues to be a driving concern, Pakistan’s support for the Haqqani network will continue.”

The Christian Science Monitor (via Small Wars Journal)

A highly plausible future scenario indeed (regarding the second quoted item). In the event that the Indians decide on a massive ground invasion into Pakistan and march sturdily through the landscape of jihadi-networks and scattering Pakistani troops – with nary a nuke in sight and the US sitting idly by – it sounds like a winner of strategy. The supply lines to the Indians will, of course, be Bollywood unicorns pooping ammunition and some sort of MREs.

On the other hand, serious people seem to take Pakistani strategic depth worries seriously. The Indians are forever being told that they must take Pakistani fears of regional encroachment into account so that the United States (ISAF) may have a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan that is stable. Although….

Read the rest here.

The key to understanding Pakistan is that it does not really function like a state in the Westphalian sense, nor do it’s rulers want it to do so, the state merely being a vehicle for their own personal and class aggrandizement. Nor are the official borders of Pakistan the same as the borders that exist in elite Pakistani imaginations. Nor is Pakistan an ally of the United States in any sense that most normal people would use the term “alliance”, as allies are rarely the epicenter of one’s enemies in a shooting war. It is as if in 1944, as we jointly prepared for Operation Overlord, the British were raising volunteer Scottish Waffen SS divisions to kill American troops on the beaches of Normandy.

Strategy works within the confines of reality, strategy does not confine reality. We give Pakistan billions of dollars in military aid annually, and they use some of it to fund and train Taliban who have killed Americans, every year, for the last ten years, and continue to do so while their leadership is safely ensconced in Peshwar, Quetta and Rawalpindi.

Every year.

Think about that as you sign your 1040.

If we our leaders can’t recognize admit in public who America’s enemies really are, how can we win a war?

Our relationship with Pakistan is strategically toxic.


Monday, October 20th, 2008

Spent much of the day, laboring on Sliderocket for a major presentation at work. Have to say, I think it blows Powerpoint all to hell in terms of visual quality. I was a private Beta user but now it’s public, so if you do a lot of slides, check it out. Not sure if Sliderocket is compatible yet with Web 2.0 slideware platforms like Slideshare but as this presentation will be proprietary, I do not care.

Throw Another Book on the Pile….

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

A while back, Dr. Tom Barnett   shared his reading bibliography for writing Book III. Since then, I’ve seen book posts by Brad at Potbanger’s, HistoryGuy99 at HG’s World and at The Strategist. All well worth taking a look at and moreover, they have all inspired me to set my newest additions into Slideshare, a picture being worth a thousand words.

SlideShare | View | Upload your own

Friday, October 19th, 2007


From Robert Coram’s biography BOYD, courtesy of DNI:

“Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction.“Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted
and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and toyourself. And your work might make a difference.”

He paused and stared into the officer’s eyes and heart. “To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do. Which way will you go?”

Leadership is not management, though the latter is a skill that has it’s time and place. Ultimately, leadership is about service and example, pointing the way moreso than teaching and meeting challenges in the place where wisdom joins with determination. The leader is a person whose words carry far because they are wings lifted by the winds of action.

Friday, August 10th, 2007


I think Dave Davison spends his time combing Slideshare for their conceptually-rich top 1 % the way most of us surf through youtube

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