Kinda, Sorta Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (October 4th, 2009)

Daughters and Mothers

I was unable to sit easy and write on this morning’s first airing of Meet the Press.  Instead, at this hour, late in the evening, I’ll do my best to lay down some odds and ends thoughts–without, now, looking at David Gregory’s blog on the day’s talking points.

David Gregory’s opening dubbed lede freaks me out a little bit; it’s a sort of high pitched, squealing suggestion that attention must be paid.

Susan Rice is hedging, sure, but she should take some hedgehog hedging lessons from the other fiery Rice.  David Gregory is getting in some forceful questions.  In fact, Susan Rice has enabled David Gregory to be in a position to revisit the questions he asked in the first instance.  What would Condi do?

The round-table promises more sheer entertainment than Susan Rice’s arguments have delivered.

David Brooks argument about the Obama administration’s view–that looks like its spinning defeat, and on that I agree–is, on the whole, convincing.  The Obama administration does seem to have left room for the Taliban to come back to Afghanistan, while insisting that Al Qaeda would not necessarily also return to stage attacks against U.S interests.

Rachel Maddow just said the smartest thing that’s been said on Meet the Press all day.  She said something along the lines of: “Yes. Gen. McChrystal’s recommendation is to attend to counterinsurgency strategy and theory that appeals to liberals and democrats who believe that policy and government action works to fix problems in the world.   But that has no bearing on how to go about actually protecting a population that we’ve tried to engage for  nine years.

I disagree with Mike Murphy; Rory Stewart has offered a third way. Triple down for a few years and then go into what may well be a good way to begin the process to obtain good governance, from the bottom up.

E.J. Dionne: we want to defeat Al Qaeda, and is that not what President Obama is talking about in Afghanistan?

David Brooks: What we want to do is to stabilize Pakistan by defeating the Taliban and requiring that our partners in Pakistan hold their side of whatever bargain we establish.  But, if we refocus exclusively on Al Qaeda, we may lose on this bet.   The Taliban is a cross-border Pashtun movement that can come back into Afghanistan and also capture Pakistani nuclear weapons if we reshuffle our and essentially let the Taliban be.

Rachel Maddow: counterinsurgency doctrine maintains that third party countries are at a serious disadvantage to deal with the issues that need attention; Afghanistan needs to deal with the counterinsurgency strategy that McChrystal us proposing.

My former professor, Stephen Holmes, currently at NYU School of Law, has written an engaging and thoroughly challenging piece about Gen. McChrystal’s Af/Pak strategy.  I’ll soon post some thoughts on it.

~ by Faheem Haider on October 5, 2009.

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