Washington: On a day when the White House has confirmed that president Barack Obama has signed an executive order increasing the strength of US forces in Afghanistan by almost 50 per cent, or 17,000, comes a warning from an ex-president that should the newly sworn-in president fall into the same historical trap as the British and the Russians in the past, then Afghanistan could well become his 'Vietnam.' However, ex-president Bill Clinton, in an interview with TV channel CNN, stressed that this was unlikely to happen.
"If President Obama were to do what the British tried to do in the 19th century and literally control the country, or what the Russians did into the 1980s, trying to, have a puppet government and then send the whole Russian Army in there to fight, it could become Vietnam," Clinton told Larry King of the CNN in an interview.
"But I don't expect that to happen," Clinton said when asked if Afghanistan has the potential to become Obama's Vietnam. "In theory, it could happen. But I don't think so. I think what they mean is that Afghanistan has often been a sinkhole for other country's aspirations, that it is big, tough terrain, rugged people and impossible to control the borders," he said.
"He's (Obama) got perhaps our smartest General, Gen Petraeus, and our most successful diplomat in the modern era, Dick (Richard) Holbrooke, working together to craft a military and diplomatic strategy, strongly supported by (Secretary of State) Hillary (Clinton) and Secretary (of Defence Robert) Gates," Clinton said.