The first is here, at Armchair Generalist, and does a competent job airing the issue of "strategic competence" and the effect of its dearth at the National Security Council level. The referenced CBAS study is well worth the time reading, as well.
And over at DNI, Bill Lind, whose geopolitical acumen I respect almost as deeply as I detest his sociological views, takes to task those who continue to insist that "we CAN win! in Afghanistan" without really understanding, or explaining, how this "win" occurs in a fragmented and corrupt Third World not-even-failed-because-to-fail-you-have-to-have-tried-to-be-a "state".
His nut grafs sum this up pretty well:
"The American senior leadership thus needs to undertake a serious and competent analysis of political and moral surfaces and gaps both in our opponent’s positions and in our own. Neither can be accomplished with blinders on. Both must be brutally honest.My reading? We have neither the willingness nor the perspicacity to perform the analysis he suggests. Which, in turn, suggests that we may be looking at an escalation in the short term and his "war of exhaustion" in the medium term.
It is just possible that such an analysis might offer a roadmap for political and moral maneuver, which is what we require if we are to escape the war of exhaustion. There is, of course, no guarantee; the complexity of a Fourth Generation environment may mean the task is beyond our ability. We may also discover that we can identify some surfaces and gaps yet lack the capability to exploit the gaps. This occurs not infrequently in purely military wars of maneuver.
I think nonetheless that this may be the most promising way forward. If it fails to identify political and moral gaps we can exploit with some hope of success, then logically it leads to the conclusion that we cannot escape a war of exhaustion and its inevitable outcome, our defeat. That too is useful, in that it should lead us to cut our losses and withdraw as soon as possible."
What happens in the long term? You know my opinion - I think this fiddling about in Asia has a real potential to be our Dutch Wars. But that's just me.