Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Just how wrong can Joe Biden be?

The estimable Rajiv Chandrasekaran points out that VP Biden recently said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, on Tues. Dec. 15, about  the American approach in Afghanistan that, “This is not a COIN strategy.” This is going to be a surprise to General McChrystal, who thinks it is. What a hot tranny mess! The fact of the ...

575105_091228_903211342.jpg
575105_091228_903211342.jpg

The estimable Rajiv Chandrasekaran points out that VP Biden recently said on MSNBC's Morning Joe, on Tues. Dec. 15, about  the American approach in Afghanistan that, "This is not a COIN strategy."

This is going to be a surprise to General McChrystal, who thinks it is.

The estimable Rajiv Chandrasekaran points out that VP Biden recently said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, on Tues. Dec. 15, about  the American approach in Afghanistan that, “This is not a COIN strategy.”

This is going to be a surprise to General McChrystal, who thinks it is.

What a hot tranny mess! The fact of the matter is that, pretty much as usual, Biden doesn’t know what he is talking about. He has some vague notion of counterinsurgency as a massive, nation-wide effort. But word on the street is that he has been dozing during the briefings: In fact, McChrystal and his boss, the once-prominent Gen. David Petraeus, have explicitly said that the revamped approach is focused on only about 40 percent of Afghanistan, and that even within that area, outlying areas won’t be handled in a troop-intensive, classic counterinsurgency manner, but rather with focused counter-terror raids.

Request to NSC: Will someone over there have the VP and his posse get a brief  on counterinsurgency from the Special Operators on the Joint Staff before he shoots off his mouth again? I mean, do him a favor. 

Long-term benefit: I have long been struck at how consistently good Joe Biden and John Kerry have been as counterindicators of what their party, and their nation, should do. Age doesn’t always bring wisdom — sometimes it just brings seniority.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

A propaganda poster from the 1960s shows Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
A propaganda poster from the 1960s shows Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

Xi’s Great Leap Backward

Beijing is running out of recipes for its looming jobs crisis—and reviving Mao-era policies.

A textile worker at the Maxport factory in Hanoi on Sept. 21, 2021.
A textile worker at the Maxport factory in Hanoi on Sept. 21, 2021.

Companies Are Fleeing China for Friendlier Shores

“Friendshoring” is the new trend as geopolitics bites.

German children stand atop building rubble in Berlin in 1948.
German children stand atop building rubble in Berlin in 1948.

Why Superpower Crises Are a Good Thing

A new era of tensions will focus minds and break logjams, as Cold War history shows.

Vacationers sit on a beach in Greece.
Vacationers sit on a beach in Greece.

The Mediterranean as We Know It Is Vanishing

From Saint-Tropez to Amalfi, the region’s most attractive tourist destinations are also its most vulnerable.