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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Working the Afghan Problem

Talleyrand finds little to add to the plethora of Afghanistan-related commentary beyond what he’s already said. However, two points jump out as being unmentioned and worth considering. The first is that the president’s incredibly calculated policy—which bears more resemblance to military science than to political art—relies upon countless assumptions about realities in Afghanistan which are barely noted by anyone outside the region. The second, related, point is that he still (at least in public) seems to be relying almost entirely upon the authorities in Kabul as the primary interlocutor. But his policy will only work if the loyalties, interests and leverage of many more middle- and lower-level Afghan (and other regional) power brokers are bought and kept. The less this is reported upon, the better. But we pray it has begun to happen in earnest.

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