Obama’s Afghanistan Plan: Same as the Old Plan?

President Obama’s new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan has won the backhanded praise of Hamid Karzai, who termed it “better than we were expecting.”  Gordon Brown has lauded the plan as well and called for NATO to do more.  Even the neocons are happy with Max Boot pronouncing it “pretty much all that supporters of the war effort could have asked for, and probably pretty similar to what a President McCain would have decided on.”

Yet, it remains unclear what precisely is “new” about the new plan.

In my New Atlanticist piece fleshing out this question, “Obama’s Afghanstan Plan: What’s So New About It?” I examine the things that seems to have people enthusiastic about the announcement and find very little to distinguish it from the policies of the Bush administration.

Hell, we still don’t have an exit strategy.

FILED UNDER: National Security, World Politics, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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. Dave Schuler says:

    Like President Obama himself, people are seeing in the “new plan” what they want to see. Pat Lang, for example, sees much the sort of counter-insurgency activity that he’s been urging. I think that the plan emphasizes counter-terrorism and regional cooperation at the expense of counter-insurgency and nation building.

    In my own view the plan is still far too ambitious. In particular, as I suggested in my post below, I think that gaining anything resembling genuine cooperation from Pakistan is delusional.

    Well, you say, without Pakistan’s cooperation we can’t be terribly successful in either counter-terrorism activities. Exactly.




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  2. Steve Hynd says:

    I think that gaining anything resembling genuine cooperation from Pakistan is delusional.

    Agreed, Dave.

    Regards, Steve




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  3. Bithead says:

    I said before the inauguration that Obama would be sticking to George Bush’s policies in the area. I wrote it the time that when it happened I would consider it nothing short of Bush’s vindication.

    Funny how these things keep happening.




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  4. Franklin says:

    Bush couldn’t possibly be vindicated as he started the quagmire about which we speak.

    As for firefighting after the major errors were already committed, yup I agree that Obama is unfortunately only tweaking at this point. Maybe a little less concentration on pointless nation-building, but that’s it.




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  5. Bithead says:

    LOL… Franklin, I gotta hand it to you; Your devotion to the DNC talking points is unquestionable.




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  6. anjin-san says:

    I said before the inauguration that Obama would be sticking to George Bush’s policies in the area. I wrote it the time that when it happened I would consider it nothing short of Bush’s vindication

    And the many Bush policies that Obama has flushed down the toilet? Vindication?

    Unlike bushies, Obama is no driven by idiology. If a policy makes sense, he will stick with it. If someone like Gates is was doing a good job, he kept him on. The Bush admin made a pretty solid late game comeback in Iraq. We still should not have ever have gone in, but they did clean up a fair amount of the mess they made. They were moving in the right direction in Afghanistan after the early cluster____k.

    No doubt this is very confusing to Bit and the rest of the bushies. But then they are easily confused.




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