This was from the February 1st, 2009 issue. Zakaria highlights what he thinks are 4 keys to Afghanistan:
1. Do counterinsurgency right: According to Zakaria, we’re operating on dated tactics to root out the insurgents:
“Between the addition of two to four U.S. brigades and a ramp-up of the Afghan army, there should be enough troops to execute a modified version of the new counterinsurgency strategy”
We need to update our strategy and send more troops.
2. Make the Afghan government credible:
“The central government is widely seen as weak, dysfunctional and utterly corrupt.”
No kidding. Islam seems to be the glue holding the tribes together more deeply (see my post on the Huntington-Fukuyama debate) than any nationalistic urges…let alone the current government which is likely seen as installed by some and has had trouble spreading any roots from the top down.
3. Talk to the Taliban-Try and drive a wedge between the Taliban and free-floating, violently idelogical and religiously extreme Al-Qaeda? It could work…but they are brothers-in arms fighting for some time now…how to expose those faultlines between them?
4. Solve Pakistan-Zakaria states:
“For Islamabad to genuinely renounce these groups
would require a fundamental strategic rethinking within the Pakistani military.”
This could be very useful, but Pakistan’s government doesn’t really control the FATA region, and its national reach, while much stronger than Afghanistan’s, is also limited…
Despite the mess, Zakaria points out how politically infeasible it is for any U.S. president to pull out while Al-Qeada still poses a direct national security threat to the U.S.
Robert Kagan In Newsweek: Afghanistan Is Not Vietnam.
See Also On This Site: My extremely limited contributions: A Few Thoughts On The FATA Region Of Pakistan…Fareed Zakaria BBC Interview: America In Decline?…We’re not necessarily in decline: Richard Lieber In The World Affairs Journal–Falling Upwards: Declinism, The Box Set