By Anthony H. Cordesman – Special to CNN
The United States needs to look beyond the latest incident and focus on the broader patterns in U.S. and Afghan relations. It needs to realize that its current strategy is becoming a façade that can only make things worse, and it needs to make a hard choice: Admit that the United States is headed toward an exit strategy or recast current U.S. efforts in cooperation with our allies so that we provide a real transition strategy based on credible goals, credible resources, and doing things the Afghan way.
We need to face the fact that the tragic killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier only highlights the growing problem the United States faces in creating any kind of strategy for Afghanistan that can survive engagement with reality. FULL POST
By Anthony H. Cordesman - Special to CNN
We may have to use force against Iran. It may provoke clashes or a conflict in the Gulf, or it may refuse any realistic diplomatic solution to its growing capabilities to produce nuclear weapons. If there is anything we should have learned from 10 years of two wars, however, it is that the cautions that senior officers like Admiral Mullen and General Dempsey have given about the risks of war are all too accurate. War is the perfect recipe for unpredictable and uncontrollable events, and the primary law of war is the law of unintended consequences.
We do not need another economic crisis triggered by the shock of a massive rise in oil prices or what in the worst case could be several weeks in which the Gulf could not export oil through the Strait of Hormuz. We do need a slow battle of attrition in the Gulf, and we need to be truly careful about what Iran might do if Israel or the U.S. launches a preventive attack. FULL POST