Small Wars Journal

Ryan Crocker's advice on Afghanistan

Who better to ask than Ryan Crocker for advice on what to do about Afghanistan?

Crocker is a 37-year veteran of the Foreign Service and spent virtually his whole career in the Middle East and South Asia. He was U.S. Chief of Mission to six countries: Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. He is a Career Ambassador and was awarded the Medal of Freedom.

Does Crocker have the answer to Afghanistan? Well, no easy answer. In this essay for Newsweek, in which he recaps his career, Crocker says:

1) Don't expect what worked in Iraq to work in Afghanistan,

2) The Taliban and al Qaeda have strategic patience; the U.S. better get some, too.

3) The world, and the bad guys, won't allow the U.S. to walk away.

So no simple answer, even from Ryan Crocker. But his Newsweek essay is still worth reading.


Arvind Goswami (not verified)

Sun, 10/11/2009 - 10:20pm

Ryan Crocker has made very objective observation in his article published in Mewsweek. I wish he has also added few more details like US funds misused by Pakistan to lauch terrorist attack from Pakisatni soilon to India and Kashmir.Pakistan is obssessed with his ambition to teach a lesson to India and wipe out from the map of the world.Is US administartion unaware of the fact that even during its war on terrorism with close coopeartion with Paksitan was on, the same Paksiatn was selling nuclear secretas to not only North Korea but to Iran and Libiya. Those two nuclear scientist who were reported to have met OsmaBin Laden were allowed to get safe heaven in Mynamar. Now besides North Korea and Irandwas in in close cooepeartion with Paksiatnm even Mynamar is getting ready with Nuclear arms. Pakistan has not only misused entire US funds, it has created more enemies for USA.

SWJED (not verified)

Sun, 09/06/2009 - 3:53pm

Thanks for posting this Robert. I have great respect for Amb. Ryan Crocker and his sage advice. I worked AF issues for CENTCOM in the 80's and followed events afterwards off and on. This excerpt says a lot about perceptions concerning US staying power:

<i>... Look at the history. The tribal areas of northwest Pakistan have never been under the control of any authority outside those rugged hills, ever. For a decade we staged our effort against the Soviets out of the North-West Frontier, in the name of Islam. We organized it; the Pakistanis supported it; the Saudis funded it. Then we decided to move on. We went from being the most allied of allies to slapping sanctions on Islamabad after its nuclear tests. As the Pakistanis saw it, we pulled up stakes and left them with the monster we'd helped create. They didn't trust us...</i>