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Live Web Chat: Nicholas Thompson on Cold-War Lessons for Afghanistan (Tuesday, Noon ET)

In this week's New America/Politico Live Chat, Nicholas Thompson will be online to discuss the dueling views on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan -- and how foreign policies forged in the Cold War continue to shape today's debate.

Thompson is a Schwartz Fellow at New America, a Senior Editor at Wired magazine, and the author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War.

Update: This real-time, text-based online discussion has concluded. A full transcript is available below.

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Past Chats

Previous New America/Politico chats have their full transcripts archived:



It Whom to May Concern

According to coming live web chat about strategy in Afghanistan what is currently very actual. This is my point of view about same.

Have a nice day.

Exist the Strategy of Achievement in the Afghanistan

Which strategy in the fight against terrorism has which bring gradual success in the Afghanistan? Does single victory against the terrorism sufficient for the complete success or also required political and the economic stabilisation of Afghanistan? How enable economic growth in the Afghanistan? Was able believe members of Taliban which the most certainly after defeat will want live in the peace or their world-views same that sort of what has begun life in the community terror?

Such and similar questions have imposed per se yet before the beginning any military action by USA and allies. For the successful strategy which has presumed the excellent organisation, those being acquainted the home population, where of is still are determined part on the side Taliban regime, necessarily is acquainted also the ground configuration that what trap holds out same. Remembers the Lebanon and the tactics which has applied the Hezbollah in struggle against Israeli military forces, what mentions and in Israeli daily press. Accordingly, sets up question is there a possibility that now when Taliban have reinforced fortify its positions the just tactics which Hezbollah has applied in the struggle against Israeli strengths in the Lebanon. With regard to ground configuration, digging in the position that is to say digging of tunnel in hilly tablelands, would bring yet larger advantage to the terrorists, because could take effect also from the ambush or apply yet one option of terrorist style of warfares – the guerilla form, which is based on the achievement or on the construction method action „launch and run away.“ But, rapid and mobile small units with the specified backing, it can be solve the such type of warfare. What support would need carry out depends about strength of units on field. The air support can bring very fast and the fire-power and in this way will reduce the potential that Taliban inflict larger losses USA and allies, but would really also more effective exactly such backing? The artillery heavy backing bring almost to destruction same strength as well as out of the air, only efficiency of hit has targeted on larger distances still something less because of the hillyness of field of that out of the air.

That not possibly has filled the achievement, even and partial, in the Afghanistan without infantry forces – completely is clear. Progress through hilly parts is challenging and enough exhaustively, those beside weather conditions which provide Afghanistan can bring also to decrease morality the soldier, as that can be also casualties of fellow soldiers. Just this last has to be one of motive for progress those together with the triumphantly selected strategy has to be impulse more for the win over the Taliban regime in the Afghanistan.

Moreover, know that the terrorism most easily works through domestic population, or area which has been devastated from instalments, but the population lives in fear. Just such conditions very are good the base for easy and fast recruitment of new member of Taliban forces, which through the struggle in „ the holy war “will show on „ the right way “how properly have treated in the struggle against „ the large evil “– the West. If a bit better look, be seen that there is the conviction at same how the West has come that disturbs their peace, their laws how those religious so and lay, also cultural customs. All that explains that serves as for complete dysfunction their, primarily religious practices what clear in this way indicates that is domestic population still under strong influence of Taliban and their religious leaders, which primarily has all authority in the hands of those propagate spreading and launches „ jihad “or only authorised for such somewhat. However, such disinformation on account of the West only be part of anyway propaganda war which is well known code from of all kinds warfares, then this led by Taliban regime.

The what tactics then do need for the complete success in the Afghanistan? If views all possibilities of Taliban that possibility for the preponderance in favour of USA and allies, completely is clear that victory is not inquired, but sets up question only triumphant strategy which is the heart and soul all, how military so and civilian anti-terrorism actions. Therefore operations of requests determined and vigorous onsets in the presence of pedestrian unit which coupled with the artillery fire from a distance would bring the preponderance in favour of ally, and fast air overflights would input the complete devastation and the confusion in Taliban orders those so would pressure into the Taliban on starting place, which again leaves space for the progress allied strengths by fast impact towards hilly areas where surely exists Taliban bases. At the same time needs keep in mind that „ booby-traps “always there are, how in real so also in figurative shape.

Necessarily is with already mentioned, remark how is one of these days actual also one interesting conclusions, and this is desire that the president Barack Obama mortgages for the peace. That is also his, let it call that so, the presidential mission popularity that achieve all over the world then establishing of new diplomatic relations and the strengthening already existing, just is proof that, however how will be kept diplomatic talks with the terrorism? Terrorists nor does not wish will know each other option establishes dialogue in order to would achieve its political goals, because then would not be terrorists. Accordingly does not know the United Nations Convention about rights and liberties of freedom of human. Terrorism knows that option establishes the dialogue and steps forward because terrorism its habit destructively violence, which does well is known everybody which has had that bad luck experience same. Therefore how then will be kept diplomatic talks with terrorists? In the start is necessarily even such thought directly remove, then do not permit terrorists so-called „ buying the time.“

Necessarily eliminates any context phrase „ argues for the peace “ and „ the terrorism “, because the man of peace can't be in the fight against terrorism. Therefore from that way is not completely clear how the president Obama can be the man of peace, if his nation and further is yet to come terrorist threats and not just USA already and the Europe. Therefore, man of peace and prosperities – „yes“, but the terrorism of any kind does need resolutely to say – „no.“ As means to struggle in the Afghanistan at the end would be effective, with military victory necessarily achieves also the victory on political and the economic plan, those in this way will be realised complete stabilisation of Afghanistan and make possible economic and politically progress.

Zeljko Zlatar


Why after 7 years the most powerful military in the world is being defeated = not winning in an assymetric war of its own making? I know A'stan very well and my reason is the brutality of the American military which kills civilians by the thousands and never admits to it. Does the Pentagon admitted to all the civilian deaths wrought by its troops? The Waffen SS with American characteristics

Pashtoons in Afghanistan

its my pleasure to express my views or have question with think tanks of America, in the history we have seen in the cold war and as well it was observed how the great power of USSR has fall down and now we are watching very closely every move and every statement of the USA for Afghanistan and Pashtoons living in Pakistan,
(as we all are one and unite against terrorisim and extremisim so i will call u and me as WE)so i think we are going in the wrong direction we should come to the soft war and take these pashtoons in our soft hands and will show them that they are not doing good for them and for us so come and sit with us and discuss what do u want, than i know all the pashtoons will be with us and we will be able to controll the extremisim,
think again america its the time to choose the right nation for you and your missions

thanks and regards
Ghulam muhammad

Defense Industrial Complex

“In the councils of government,
-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 1961

Thank you for taking this question Mr. Thompson. In his 1961 farewell address, President Eisenhower warned, "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted the military-industrial complex.”

Sir, do you concur with the notion that the U.S. armed forces are constrained due to the undue influence of the defense industrial complex? For instance, given that they cannot land in Afghanistan's vast, mountainous terrain, is the acquisition of more helicopters (e.g. Cobra, Super Cobra, Blackhawk) sensible? Doesn't the military industrial complex benefit from selling heavy artillery that is useless when the enemy simply relies on mortars and machine guns? If such light artillery offers greater flexibility for the Taliban, does it not make sense to do the same, avoiding crashes in Afghanistan's mountainous areas? Does the military industrial complex not have an incentive to push for an ineffective fighting style in the modern arena of international conflict?

About sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan

Whether or not Obama's administration decides to send more troops to Afghanistan is going to create tension from the opposite side. Perhaps it's a good thing that Obama hasn't made any concrete decisions yet. It's not a decision that can be made overnight. Have you read Asia Chronicle? The site provides in-depth analyses on the situation in Afghanistan. Worth a read I think.