"I know the record. Siam goes. Malaysia goes. Indonesia goes. What does 'go' mean?"
--Graham Greene, The Quiet American (1955)
I don't normally watch C-Span. It's a little too much like watching paint dry. While channel surfing this morning, however, I caught a few minutes of C-Span's coverage of Thursday's meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Dick Lugar was restating (but not necessarily endorsing) the main argument we're hearing these days for our military commitment to Afghanistan: We have to stabilize Afghanistan to ensure that Pakistan remains stable. Lugar went on to claim that Pakistan now seems fairly stable, suggesting that Pakistan would be OK regardless of what happens in Afghanistan.
Anyone hear the sound of toppling dominoes? All this is sounding depressingly familiar to those of us who were drilled in the domino theory that took us in to Vietnam.
A further historical irony here is how our bombings and our incursion into Cambodia did actually destabilize that country, setting the stage for the Khmer Rouge takeover. I have to wonder if the current plan to escalate the conflict in Afghanistan may not just make the situation worse. We could be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. By trying to keep Pakistan's government from falling, we could be creating the climate for that fall. --EFP