I link it because it strikes me as being really right and incisive ('brief' in the way only an email typed on a Treo thumbboard can be). Tom's in full geostrategist mode, moving past the current crisis in the Middle East, confidently asserting inevitabilities.
Yeah, we need China to resolve NKorea, and we need their help getting into a workable position with Iran, and THEN we need them to help us stabilize Africa.
A few excerpts:
- One of best strategic questions of day is: What gets America to Africa fastest?
- Today there is a USSR-like minor (Iran) and major (China). Iran's lock-in (which gets more pricey each day this admin bungles the Big Bang) moves the Long War from ME to Africa. China's lock-in both secures Asia for posterity (we finally win Vietnam, letting China's hypercapitalism run the "domino" board for us) and allies us with most potentially useful ally for Africa. China is incentivized (resources), experienced (their peacekeepers, I wager, with more cumulative experience in Africa) and it's more realistic (squeamish, they are not).
- Signs are good:
--rising, celebrity-driven humanitarian interest
--fight is popping up already in Africa
--Army and Marines mentally readying selves for shift (see new COIN doctrine)
--China knows this is all inevitable on some level and 5th Generation types want this dialogue
--global econ very bright and Africa in general doing well.
But again, key is getting ducks lined up, and that means settling with Iran in SWA to enable/force shift south and allying with China so that we have critical mass of resources to bear.
Absent both, to American people Africa for foreseeable future looks like too much on top of too much. Yes, there will be some mil-mil cooperation, but these are drops in the ocean, just like all the Gates-Bono-Sachs stuff.
Until U.S. redefines Africa as strategically important in Long War, none of these efforts will prove critical. But once we do, all things become possible.
Everything short of these masterstrokes are essentially hospice oriented. Rehab requires real commitment. Utlimately, China will make some of this happen on its own, but that will take decades.