Obama big mistake in Afghan?
The Real Trouble with Afghanistan and Obama
By Thomas P.M. Barnett
But if the administration doesn't go along with the recommendations of its handpicked commander (and there were signs this afternoon that it was leaning away from the McChrystal plan and back toward Biden's strategy), then it will have effectively repudiated McChrystal's command with a highly publicized vote of no confidence. By extension, the White House will have completed its marginalization of McChrystal's boss, General David Petraeus. Which, given that the Iraq surge hero and Central Command chief has been urged to run for president in 2012, may be politically hard to resist for Obama's politically savvy advisors. But, again, the political savvy is getting the best of Team Obama when it comes to Afghanistan — this is a war, not an election, with many more lives at stake than a few of the best and brightest, and they'd be stupid to muddle or confuse the two.
And yet Obama will almost certainly seek to split his Big Afghanistan Decision down the middle (Talk big but act small!). That won't work, and not just because the world's bad boys will think of the American military as a bunch of high-tech pansies — because it wreaks of Obama speak for permanent downshifting in our long-term commitment to Afghanistan's future, which, by extension, makes everybody nervous about Pakistan's future.
And so, by shorting Afghanistan, the president may end up inadvertently declaring The Obama Doctrine: (1) yes, Iraq was a one-of-a-kind war, never to be repeated; and (2), in Clinton-era Colin Powell speak honed for the counterterrorism era, we go anywhere we want to kill anyone we want, but as far as the locals are concerned, they can simply fuck off.
In doing so, Obama will position himself internationally as both a full-blown wimp (Jimmy Carter much?) and a sanctimonious cynic (hellooooo, Bill Clinton!), confirming French president Nicolas Sarkozy's first impression that under that fabulous exterior lies a fabile young president.
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/the-side/war-room/obama-new-afghanistan-strategy-100809#ixzz0TNLQC6Nz