18 November 2013

Afghanistan: a very different realpolitik

There's a lot of buzz (Huff.Post) about Karzai supposedly rejecting a key provision of the proposed long term US Security arrangement in Afghanistan.
Look, I realize that this is important to the Administration, for whatever reasons they have. But I believe Christine Fair, the expert on Afghanistan and Pakistan at Georgetown University, has it right. There simply are no significant US interests, and the fact is that we have been played for years and years by the governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Our only major foreign policy objective vis a vis Pakistan should be dicincentivizing nuclear proliferation and brinksmanship on their part (they, not Iran, are the nuclear threat in the region that we should be worried about, and their attitude towards the US is arguably worse than Iran's). As for Afghanistan, there is no good outcome. We should cut our losses and get the hell out of there.

We should just tell Karzai, if you don't like it, we're taking our toys and going home. And mean it. And if we can't (as we probably can't) remove our military equipment, it should just be destroyed in place.
The American people are sick and tired of failed wars in Central Asia. Time to pull the plug, and to make clear to would be little Machiavellis like Hamid Karzai that we don't really care what he thinks or what his country decides to do in the aftermath; if they don't play nice, we're just going to leave, full stop.
In the meantime, the countries that are really benefiting from our presence in Afghanistan, which are China and Russia, should be told, hey, game's over. You want to ensure your interests in that country, the clock is ticking on whatever pax Americana there may be, and you better ramp up your own investments and presence in that country if you want the status quo.

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