Realpolitiks of Bergdahl

Across the world and especially in America there’s a great deal of both outrage and confusion over Obama choosing to exchange five very high-level Taliban commanders in Gitmo for the deserter and probable defector, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. What I believe that most people don’t understand is that there was a well thought out political reason for Obama deciding to make this deal with the Devil.

Obama wasn’t negotiating with terrorists. He was legitimizing the Taliban as an enemy power with national / governmental standing – and the Taliban know this.

You Have The Watches. We Have The Time

The celebrations raging across the Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan aren’t just because of release of the prisoners; they’re because of what the prisoners’ release signifies. It’s a very geopolitically significant victory for the Taliban and is the harbinger of an even greater victory for them – Afghanistan.

Obama has chosen to surrender Afghanistan by the end of this year, knowing that President Hamid Karzai’s government won’t survive more than 2 years after that. Taking this very noticeable step in recognizing and legitimizing the Taliban was a necessary step towards his goal since the Taliban will shortly be once again Afghanistan’s titular government.

NOTE: Any and all central governments in Afghanistan at titular in nature. Terrain and tribal structures conspire to make many areas essentially autonomous.

On top of that, I’m sure Obama wants as orderly as possible withdrawal of our troops, preferably with a coincidental reduction in Taliban attacks. Making both a significant concession to the Taliban and a first step towards “rapprochement” with them greatly increases the chances of this happening and his avoiding a repeat of our flight from Vietnam.

That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my opinion of the realpolitiks of Obama’s trading 5 Taliban senior commanders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | |

7 Responses to “Realpolitiks of Bergdahl”

  1. Moe Says:

    Mostly we agree – you say Obama is ‘surrendering’ but that ascribes too vile a motive. I do however agree with you that it’s a matter of real-politik not just because we ARE leaving and avoiding a Hanoi style withdrawal is very much to be desired. But also, slim as it is, if there’s a chance of stability in Afghanistan, only a coalition can provide that.

    Probably Afghanistan ends up going the way it always has gone. Laughing at all who try to tame or modernize it.

    By the way, why oh why oh why do I still have to sign in for a comment?

  2. jonolan Says:

    I don’t honesty see where surrendering ascribes a vile motive, Moe. It’s what’s happening. We came; we saw; we kicked a Hell of a lot of Ass…and it all came to naught.

    One thing though, Moe – Coalitions are the LEAST stable of governments, especially when there are third-party aggressors, which describes the whole of northern Afghanistan.

    Finally, I have no idea why you have to sign in. Nobody else seems to have to. They just put name, email, and http.

  3. Moe Says:

    A lot of that is true but this is Afghanistan. It always comes to naught, so better to get the frack out – 14 years is pretty good evidence of that.

    You may have already this – it’s right up your alley – a history of Afghanistan “from Soviet invasion to 9/10/2001”, called “Ghost Wars” by Steve Coll. Published in 2004. It’s hefty but a terrifically engaging read.

    And this time, my name, e and url were there as soon as I hit repy. Maybe they expire periodically and I have to relog in? No big deal, just sayin’.

  4. jonolan Says:

    Yeah, I can’t disagree with that. Afghanistan was doomed to be another Vietnam as soon as we decided that Pakistan would play the role of Cambodia and Laos. Even if hadn’t done that, the nature of Pakistan made it unlikely that we’d succeed in permanently removing the Taliban.

  5. Alan Scott Says:

    I believe in not letting President Obama off the hook. The man says too many things that later on are not true or are unrealistic. We are leaving Afghanistan in defeat. If that was what Obama promised then okay. That was not what the President said.

    Afghanistan was the right war and he was going to win it. Here is what he said on 3/27/09. ” I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Queda in Pakistan and Afghanistan and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That’s the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: We will defeat you. ”

    Or do we play semantics and argue it is only the Taliban who are winning. Al queda is gone so Obama really did keep his word?

    Obama has a record. It is not hard to catch him in contradictions.

  6. Moe Says:

    jonolan – Cambodia: excellent analogy. And that sure won the war for us, didn’t it.

  7. jonolan Says:


    It’s not about letting Obama off the hook. He’s been given that particular hand-out far too much already. It’s just about pointing out what I think is really behind the Bergdahl trade or, at least, the sudden, illegal making of it.


    Yep. That’s how I saw from day 0 – day 0 being the moment when we decided to put a government in place instead of merely punishing the Taliban. I could see Vietnam 2.0 written all over it.

    I’ve just kept quiet about it and about anything that wasn’t positive about Afghanistan until now because it’s treason – even if not by law – to speak ill of a war when we have boots on the ground. Indeed, it may still be too soon and I’m a little uncomfortable with what I’ve written.

Leave a Reply