Biden Right on AfPak

BidenAriana Huffington has generated quite a bit of buzz for her unlikely-to-be-taken suggestion that Vice President Biden resign in protest if President Obama sends more troops to Afghanistan.   The cuteness of the suggestion has unfortunately overshadowed the opening paragraph in Holly Bailey and Evan Thomas’ Newsweek piece on “A Day in the Life of Joe Biden” (HTML title: “Joe Biden, White House Truth Teller”):

Joe Biden had a question. During a long Sunday meeting with President Obama and top national-security advisers on Sept. 13, the VP interjected, “Can I just clarify a factual point? How much will we spend this year on Afghanistan?” Someone provided the figure: $65 billion. “And how much will we spend on Pakistan?” Another figure was supplied: $2.25 billion. “Well, by my calculations that’s a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question. Al Qaeda is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we’re spending in Pakistan, we’re spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?” The White House Situation Room fell silent. But the questions had their desired effect: those gathered began putting more thought into Pakistan as the key theater in the region.

As I explain in my New Atlanticist essay “Strategic Balance in AfPak,” Biden’s got a point.

AP Photo

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I think it would be better if Obama resigned if Biden didn’t change his mind.

  2. […] From Newsweek (h/t James Joyner) […]

  3. BC says:

    Unfortunately, Biden’s question is lame. If you stop protecting the vacuum (Afghanistan), the radical edge will fill it. The real questions are, if we could invest more heavily in Pakistan could we better control the lunatic fringe, and how can we do that without being ripped off blind.

  4. Christopher says:

    James, I sure am glad you aren’t in power, because you are an idiot. And I sure am sorry Biden has whatever power he might have, because he is just as much of an idiot.

    But I do agree it would be honorable for Biden to resign. They both ran as pacifists, and now they are sending more troops in. I’m glad they are doing it, but Obama and Biden ran as LIARS!!!

  5. UlyssesUnbound says:

    James, I sure am glad you aren’t in power, because you are an idiot. And I sure am sorry Biden has whatever power he might have, because he is just as much of an idiot.

    It’s why I keep coming back to OTB. Thoughtful, constructive criticism from the commentariot.

    Seriously, are you trying to pull a Triumph, and just not being quite clever enough?

  6. BC says:

    Thoughts in the silent room after Biden posed his question.

    “God, what an idiot!”
    “Thank goodness Obama is president and not this guy.”
    “Why am I working with these people? Damn, someone has to be the adult.”
    “Patience, patience, count to ten.”

    I’ll let you place the quotes with the people present.

  7. Furhead says:

    They both ran as pacifists, and now they are sending more troops in. I’m glad they are doing it, but Obama and Biden ran as LIARS!!!

    Wow, Christopher, could your post be any more wrong?

    Obama said repeatedly that he would put more troops and resources in Afghanistan, and less in Iraq, and that’s EXACTLY what he has already done. This isn’t a lie or even a half-truth. Not that they haven’t lied or mislead about other subjects, but you’ve completely barked up the wrong tree. You might want to reconsider your comments towards JJ and apply them to yourself.

  8. anjin-san says:

    They both ran as pacifists

    Are you as big of an idiot as you seem to be? Based on this, I would think tying your own shoes would be a huge challenge for you…