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August 05, 2010


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Dick: My recommended Afghan policy - consistent from the beginning, I think:
1. Look at Afghanistan as a question of how we protect teh Pakistani nukes. e.g. do not push the Taliban into Pakistan and escalate violence there. Work with the Pakistani government.
2. Reverse the Obama escalation. Revert to the "benign neglect" posture that Bush adopted.
3. Let the CIA and Special Forces work with friendly tribes to take out any Al Queda remnants.
4. Added feature because of what we have done: facilitate resettlement of people who have befriended us from hostile areas to friendly areas.
5. Don't worry about poppies, womens schools, etc. These are worthwhile things, but we cannot do everything.

Are you saying we should stay or get out? Pleaser clarify. It is not at all clear what you are recomending and why.

Some observations:
1. 80 Million Americans work for 8.9 million companies with 250 or less employees.
2. 28 Million Americans work for 48,000 large companies with more than 250 employees.
So, Small business job creation is not a myth.And, small businesses rapidly become large. Think of Google. Think of Microsoft. Think of Walmart. Think of Apple. Think of Fox News.
3. In 1947 26% of American GDP was manufacturing. That was a value of $63 Billion dollars. Manufacturing employed 14.3 Million Americans.
4. In 2007 at the start of the recession 11% of the GDP was manufacturing. That was a value of $1.5 Trillion. Up 2400% since 1947. Manufacturing employed 14.2 Million Americans. Basically the same number of people. America is still the number one manufacturing country in the world.
So it can be argued that the inflation and the technology that increased the value of the goods produced by 14 Million people 2400% from 1947 to 2007 is more likely responsible for the flatline in job creation than overseas cheap labor.
5. Meanwhile side by side with manufacturing in the US the services industries grew from $181 Billion in 1947 to $12.5 Trillion in 2007 and now employs 93 Million Americans. So the service industries did not replace manufacturing they supported it and developed parallel to it.
6. There are about 110M people in the American workforce. True unemployment is likely around 10-12%. So to get unemployment down to 5% we need to create about 7 million jobs. That is one worker per small business or 146 per big business. Which is more likely and easier? An interesting debate.
7. Since the recession began we have lost about 2.5 manufacturing jobs and about 6 million service jobs. Both are alarming but there is no reson that attempts to stimulate job growth should be slanted either way.
8. In the past 30 years we have allowed illegal immigration and amnesty to 30 Million people. And they hold millions of jobs. Likely more than 9 Million. And, contrary to some analysts claims they hold many state and local government jobs as well as those of contractors who are getting the stimulus money for road projects. Since most immigrants come to the US uneducated sooner or later they extract a price on society of the schools and the social services for their presence and their children. It is important that we understand the price we pay for open borders. The Arizona debate is not one we should take lightly. Today it is drug wars but sooner or later a terrorist attack will come from the South and the political price will be high for those who ignore the problem.
Many factors to contemplate when one tries to devise a strategy to stimulate job creation. What would you do?

Pretty interesting comments, Bo. Perhaps a more likely winning strategy in Iraq would have been to divide the country into three separate ones based on religions. But, we know that would have put tremendous pressure on Turkey and Iran to deal one way or another with the same groups in their countries. And, tht perhaps would have led to war with Iraq. But, this strategy may work in the long run if the entities can operate like states in a loose Federation eventually. The real question is can/will it remain together once we are gone? And, will the wealth that comes from the oil improve the economic lives of the people? With economic gain comes willingness to cooperate --perhaps. But, we have seen too often the wickedness of religious differences carried out in the name of God.
As for Afghanistan my advice was that we should not engage in Afghanistan in a major way unless we were prepared to:
1) Establish a real relationship with Pakistan to cooperate fully in the defeat of the Taliban in both nations. Allowing a safe haven was the downfall of the US in Vietnam and the Russians in Afghanistan. That relationship now seems to have been won based solely on money. Is the relationship real? Not likely. At best it seems we have a faction of the Pakistan government who support our efforts.
2) Be willing to wipe out the poppy crops and drug trade in Afghanistan and replace it with a long term economic substitute. It appears our soldiers help guard the poppy fields from the Taliban but I see little eradication of them. An economy based on poppy crops is not likely to turn into a long term Democracy.

So, with these conditions unmet I believe the US strategy should be to use special forces with drone support throughout the region (and the world) to kill Terrorist organizations where ever they camp out, train or threaten as we are doing in Yemen and Pakistan now. The US President must announce to the World that we will premptively strike whereever we see a threat develop and carry through when intelligence identifies it. Long term deployment of troops cannot be justified without the conditions to win being present.

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