Echoes from the past
Much of Gordon Brown’s speech on Friday was predictable. I am surprised, however, that he used the phrase “Afghanisation”, echoing Nixon’s “Vietnamisation”.
I watched the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s speech from my office in Kabul. Much of it was predictable, although the language was strong, keeping up the pressure on President Karzai, which has come in recent days from President Obama, and UN Representative Kai Eide.
I think his suggestion that a figure “of international stature” should lead a new anti-corruption agency is likely to ruffle feathers in Kabul. He proposes that the new supremo be given the title of “adviser”, but this will be portrayed by some people here as foreigners again meddling in Afghan internal affairs.
It was no surprise that Mr Brown also talked once again about handing over more security responsibilities to the Afghan authorities. I am surprised however that he used the phrase “Afghanisation”, echoing Nixon’s “Vietnamisation”.
So much has been written this year examining the comparisons between the situation now in Afghanistan, and the war in Vietnam forty-odd years ago.
However, a fascinating new paper in the US defense journal Military Review has caught my eye, called “Refighting the Last War”.