Does Dr Fox understand the Comprehensive Approach ?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by dergeneral, May 23, 2010.

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  1. The Defence Secretary is getting a pasting in the media for having appeared to suggest that we're only in Afghanistan to fight. The journos are having a field day contrasting his remarks with those of Hague and whoever the DFID bloke is. Quoting from the Independent online:

    "A shift in UK government policy was outlined by Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, on Friday, when he said that Britain was not a "global policeman", that he would like to see troops return "as soon as possible", and that Britain needs to "reset expectations and timelines". He added: "We are not in Afghanistan for the sake of the education policy of a broken, 13th-century country. We are there to see our global interests are not threatened."

    The comments are a clear statement of intent, according to General Sir Hugh Beach, former deputy commander of British land forces. "Words like 'timelines' and 'expectations' – if that isn't a clear message that we're planning to get out early then I don't know what would be."

    Lord Bramall, a former chief of the defence staff, said: "I think it is the beginning of the end, but it is a question of how long it takes. The Americans are talking about a review and a possible run-down in about a year. If they start withdrawing, we'll consider we're in the clear to do the same."

    But it is premature to talk about withdrawal until there is military success, according to Colonel Bob Stewart. "Once we have mastery of the situation, then we can start thinking about an endgame, but we're not there yet."

    Mr Fox, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, arrived in Afghanistan yesterday for talks with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, and General Stanley McChrystal.

    Speaking yesterday, Mr Fox clarified his earlier remarks: "What I was pointing out is that the primary reason for sending our armed forces to Afghanistan was one of national security... But, clearly, if we are to make the long-term gains that will provide the stability to maintain the momentum when our armed forces eventually hand over to Afghan forces, we will require a long period of development in concert with the international authorities, the NGOs and our and other countries' aid programmes." He refused to set a timescale, but added: "When you're looking at one of the poorest countries in the world, the help it will require will be over a very long period indeed."

    So - is he right ? Or badly briefed ? Or displaying a horribly simplistic view of the role of the military that sounds the death knell of us even trying to pursue the comprehensive approach ? (What hope getting the FCO and DFID to work with us if this is the Defence Secretary's attitude....?)
  2. We're in Afghanistan for the same reason as we went to Iraq, B'Liar wanted to impress Bush by waving his dick around with him.

    Vanity wars fought for a discredited President and PM's vanity.

    If it was about defeating Al Qaeda, we'd have attacked Pakistan.
  3. Is he right?

    Depends upon whether you believe the way to defend UK national interests and security is in Afghanistan.

    However, what the media and most others seem to have missed completely is that the policy aim and the strategy of achieving that aim are two different things; one works to achieve the other. Moreover, Liam Fox stated the role of the troops in Afghanistan was not to blah blah blah (remember was speaking on behalf of the Armed Forces), that is not the same as the role of the UK is to blah blah blah.

    Journalists trying to find a story where there isn't one methinks. Followed by readers and watchers too lazy to think through the actual words and accept the media interpretation on face value.
  4. Whitecity - good point. Hope you're right. But do we really think he understands the distinction ?
  5. Do you think he wants the Armed Forces to become geometry and natural science teachers to the Afghan young?
  6. "So - is he right ? Or badly briefed ? Or displaying a horribly simplistic view of the role of the military that sounds the death knell of us even trying to pursue the comprehensive approach ? (What hope getting the FCO and DFID to work with us if this is the Defence Secretary's attitude....?)!

    Given the evidence so far it doesn't matter what the Defence Secretary says, FCO and DFID don't work.
  7. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    has the comprehensive approach ever worked, anywhere
  8. Wouldn't it be more correct in that case to say we went to Iraq for the same reason we went to Afghan?
  9. Germany. Post WW2 Marshall Plan. And similar efforts in Japan too. :wink:
  10. No.
  11. Both of which were restoring goverment and infrastructure. Afghanistan is a new build. I am not convinced that we have got the leadership, skills or the will to sort our own country's economy and public services out, so why do we think we can do it in a feudal society, during a period of war and before the next general election?

    From a UK military point of view, we CAN cotinue to build the ANA and ANP, if they are strong enough to hold the ring as their country develops then may becthe Afghans have a chance.
  12. Is there rally such a thing as an Afghan though? By which I mean somebody that lends their loyalty to the nation above their tribe. If the majority don't think that way then I doubt it possible for Afghanistan to become a stable state.
  13. Trouble is, they are holding the ring around a corrupt, criminal and complicit government, despised by the people, with no popular support anywhere, save for what they have bought, the very situation that gave rise to the taliban in the first place.

    ANA are reasonable, ANP/NDS are the criminal arm of the KARZAI mafia, who is widely regarded as Chief Thief.

    Without addressing that, the rest is converting live rounds to empty cases, and HQ ISAF has no stomach nor political mandate to even open the door.
  14. I would hardly call Germany or Japan part of the comprehensive approach. Both were very much under the auspices of a military government and control during the restructuring process. Especially Japan with MacArthur's influence on the constitution writing. Couple this with serveral million men in theatre or able to be moved to theatre its just not really a 'comprehensive' approach. Its just military nation state rebuilding with civillian elements.

    Crticially, Japan and Germany were very much defeated by total war, their populations not only had no choice other than to comply - They WANTED to.

    Arguably the neo-comprehensivism is born from civillian desire for control, overstating their auspices and competencies vs. the vital military components and equalling a clusterfuck. The comprehensive approach legitimises the civilianisation of warfare which up to now has hardly been a roaring success.

  15. Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

    We have not crushed the Afghans under our heel and broken their resolve, nor can we politically in this day and age.