Thursday, April 30, 2009

Learning from the Dutch military

Doubts about the imminent disappearance of U.S. hegemony? How's about this headline for a harbinger? The Wall Street Journal says, "U.S. Takes Dutch Military as Role Model..." Hey, aren't they and the English the example case given for how hegemonic decline happens?

All right, admittedly the Clarion Content is being a little bit facetious, but Afghanistan is called the Graveyard of Empire. The article in the Journal is about the aid workers embedded with the Dutch military and their natural inclination toward development that accompanies their military presence. The Journal quotes Colonel Gert-Jan Kooij, chief of operations for the Royal Netherlands Army's 13th Mechanized Brigade, "We need to provide defense, but the priority is on development and diplomacy." According to the State Department, there are ten U.S. military personnel to every one U.S. civilian working for the U.S. government in Afghanistan.

Yet for too long, the focus has remained on adding more troops. The Clarion Content does not believe the further arming of the Pakistani military as a proxy is an answer either.

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