Saturday, March 28, 2009

Afghan Plan: Color Me Skeptical

The U.S. has a decidedly mixed record when it comes to "nation building" and there is no nation that has resisted building, unbuilding and everything in between despite the substantial exertions of foreign powers than Afghanistan. None.

While Obama's advisers are to be praised for recognizing that the military can't do it all, I am skeptical of the chances of the Obama administration's newly minted policy plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan succeeding, even the "administering a death blow" to Al Qaeda part.

This is because Afghanistan has always been an agglomeration of tribes and is incontrovertibly ungovernable, Pakistan wields more influence on Afghanistan than Washington ever will, there is an intractable opium cultivation problem, and the view that an Anbar Awakening approach that showed some success in Iraq can be replicated with the Taliban is probably wishful thinking.

But what the hay. Let's give it a try.

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