Full article here: (Foreign Policy’s site should be up in a few hours).
I still think the logic of Obama is leading to withdrawal, arguably without securing our security interests, nor solving the underlying issues that have led to the confrontation. But perhaps so.
There are some good ideas, and suggestions at cooperation:
“For too long, the West has thrown troops and money at Afghanistan, without any clearly articulated objectives for the mission.”
And thinking on McChrystal’s report (who is also the head of NATO command):
“The real story is what the report only indirectly alludes to and what has been seldom debated until the electoral crisis: the Afghan political “context” in which Afghans will be given reasons to bet on their government rather than sit on the fence or support the Taliban.”
But it also seems to be a suggestion on how to pull out as gracefully as possible. In fact, I suspect European public opinion may be even lower for the war right now that American public opinion.
But what about American national security interests? European interests?
Islam is the main glue that unites the tribes together, likely deeper than most national interests. The Taliban are Muslims, but also warlords. This country has been in and out of war for decades. It’s not exactly clear what Afghan opinion is of the Taliban, but I’m open to ideas on how to create a government that could work to serve the people in some way, as this is probably our deepest moral commitment to the Afghan people.
There is also enough anger and resentment across the Muslim world (for many reasons, some valid) that Afghanistan became a training ground for a radical, extreme and violent defense of Islam. Such problems obviously can’t be addressed by U.S. and NATO military operations alone (think of all the points of contact), but neither are such problems fully addressed by a pull-out either…
…unless I’m missing something.