The Best Defense

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 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

The Best Defense

2010: The real test year for Obama?

Proven provider John McCreary predicts that next year will provide the real test of the Obama administration's foreign policy:

Yemen-US-al Qaida: Yemeni casualty reports are that the US missile attack in Abyan Province killed one senior al Qaida leader and suicide bombing planner plus a dozen of his followers, but the commander of al Qaida in Yemen escaped.  Four al Qaida are wounded and in custody from the US missile attack on the training camp in Aden Province.

The attacks might give pause to the terrorist web posters and cause some analysts to rethink their assessment of the strength and determination of the US Administration. The NightWatch view remains that what comes next will be the true measure of the Administration, now that the year of attempted reconciliation initiatives is ending with little to show for it.

If the missile attacks are any indication, North Korea, Iran and others need to pay closer attention and not close the ledger just yet.

I think he is right. We'll have a good sense by the end of the year where post-American Afghanistan and Iraq are going. Pakistan may provide some fireworks. Iran and North Korea will have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.