I would hate to be in Obama’s shoes figuring how to cope with Afghanistan. If we walk away, we risk the take over of Pakistan by its dissident military with nuclear weapons threatening India not the least. If we stay, there is no way to implement a unified country under Karsai. Various middle way solutions have been suggested. Get nearby states including Iran involved, appealing to local leaders and Taliban and others wanting peace, economic support rather than military domination, etc. But how to put together all these potentially conflicting things is a less than 50% possibility. The Taliban are not going to disappear and they have intimidated most Iranians even if they are not liked by them.

If one scans Google’s “Afghan Solutions,” one finds every conceivable easy answer, but no coherence and no plausibility:

http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&tab=nw&ned=us&q=#hl=en&source=hp&q=Afghan+Solutions&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=Afghan+Solutions&gs_rfai=Cl3g86hQmTLfnDovwygSA17imAwAAAKoEBU_QklEi&fp=e0fa4b5da4f245a4

Manifestly the Bush administration (Cheney) blew our brief window of opportunity with the Iraq diversion. I wonder what Petraeus will come up with. As has been pointed out, Afghanistan is no Iraq:

http://www.stripes.com/news/petraeus-may-soon-find-afghanistan-is-no-iraq-1.108729

Again, I would not want to be Obama trying to put this one together — along with all the other problematic situations in the area.

May he figure something beyond mere words.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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