John Birmingham, the Australian author of World War 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 (Axis of Time trilogy), and Without Warning (1st of the ‘The Wave’ series) has set up blog entry over at Cheeseburger Gothic for discussion on both series…if you haven’t read any of these you really want to give them a go…a secondary theme of the AoT trilogy is a prescient (probably because it agrees with me) glimpse of one version of the next decade of so of the 21st century….
I see on the COIN blog today that Canadian forces are advocating a new approach in Afghanistan but as discussed by a number of members on the blog, this appears to be a desperation-driven attempt to accelerate the course of the campaign and it probably hasn’t been all that well considered. Trying to make the people the new bad guys is probably one of the more innovative approachs to COIN I have seen but will it fly? Like a brick…
From the COIN blog:
“In Afghanistan one of my close friends (an Afghan that would die to save me and almost did) let me know the difference in “their ways” of thinking. “If you just give me something I may be thankful, but I am not grateful. I think – look what I was able to get from you, not thankful of what you gave me. If you attached a price to what you gave me in favors or later chips to be used when you needed something, now we are communicating and building our relationship.” At first that bothered me but I then began to see through his eyes. If we take that to winning the “hearts and minds” we have missed the boat. It does nothing to give to these people as it does to have their own countrymen give, help, and make choices for themselves. We need to be the facilitators and not the handout.”
Think about it….
Actually I did think about it. Some 11 years later. I got that wrong.
It’s OK to be the hander-outerer but, in this example, success is tied to how you leverage the gift eg “We built you a road but soon we will want your assistance/information/to not support bandits….”