Sunday, November 2, 2008

Two, Three, Many Grand Bargains?

Analysis by Jim Lobe

"WASHINGTON, Nov 1 (IPS) - As the United States waded ever deeper into the Indochinese quagmire in the early 1960s, the Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara called for "two, three, many Vietnams" to bog down the superpower in unwinnable Third World conflicts that would drain its treasury and overstretch its military.

While today's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not quite as costly -- at least as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) -- as then, Guevara's vision, echoed nearly 40 years later by Osama bin Laden, of an increasingly stressed hyperpower which now confronts its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression must weigh heavily on whichever candidate moves into the White House Jan. 20.

Indeed, even as both Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama talk about the urgency of sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan to cope with the growing Taliban threat -- potentially magnified manifold by the ongoing insurgency across the border in the tribal territories of nuclear-armed Pakistan -- the transition set to begin next Tuesday next Tuesday will offer the president-elect a critical window to contemplate possible exit strategies not only in southwest Asia, but westward to the Mediterranean, as well......"

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