Thoughts on Central and Eastern Europe from an historian of the region
Friday, September 4, 2009
Karzai Opens the Way for Early Withdraw of Western Forces
This week's news that the vote in Afghanistan was close and that Karzai or at least some of his supporters were involved in ballot rigging set the chattering classes a buzz, with most concerned that Karzai might lose. When people talking about Afghanistan weren't talking about that they were noting that Obama appeared to be ready to okay an expected increase for more troops from the responsible generals, even as George Will was joining those on the left in suggesting that it was time to start pulling the troops out. Right now there appears little reason to believe Obama will buck the request for more troops. If Obama did the Republicans who are currently beginning to talk dovishly will change their tune and start talking about Obama not giving the generals what they asked for. But if Obama was looking for an excuse to show that he's not entirely beholden to the generals, Karzai, or his allies, have provided him a legitimate justification, and if the runoff election is as tainted as this election appears to be, then perhaps the best step Obama could take no matter what the costs is start withdrawing the troops, although keeping, if not extending other forms of aid. For while winning the war in Afghanistan maybe impossible, we should not make the mistake that happened after the Soviets withdrew and decide because the troops are out that there is no further reason for engagement.
I live in Woodside, NY in Western Queens and have been living here happily for two years. By training I am a specialist on Central and Eastern Europe and I also have an occasional blog on international affairs especially Central and Eastern Europe called "Lands Far Away..." If such topics inerest you, you may also want to visit New Books in East European Studies, which I also moderate. The Woodsider Insider, however, is now my main blog. To contact me with suggestions about possible posts you may reach me at email@example.com