Monday, May 04, 2009

Push comes to shove

Two of the US's best friends in the world will be visiting DC this week, Afghanistan's Karzai, and Pakistan's Zardari are going to huddle up with Obama, I guess to work on strategy. Obama's ideas on strategy might not coincide with his visitors though.

Karzai has been the object of a press campaign for months now, portraying him as weak, corrupt, and basically unsuitable to be the mayor of Kabul, while Zardari has taken the brunt of the bad press over the Taliban's latest moves in Swat and Bruner. Since most of the bad press is the result of leaking from inside the administration, K and Z might suspect that their reception might be, if not cold, at least on the chilly side. Since the US can do no wrong, it's clear to all that greater effort by our two allies is needed, and quick.

Having the two in the same meeting goes to reinforce the idea that it is now the AfPak war, and the two nations and their leaders are going to be required to sink or sail on together. If they're going to keep steering for shore, it might be necessary to jetison some balast, and I expect it to be made clear to Karzai and Zardari that they will be the first to go overboard.

Though Karzai gets the most of the bad press, it seems that now Zardari is the most vulnerable. Today the Asia Times says that the US wants to bring Sharif on board in a power sharing arraingement, while others are hinting at the need to return to a military dictatorship.

As usual, scan heed is paid to any views that might be held by the Pakistanis or Afghanis. The US, despite its past lessons in Vietnam, Iran, or Iraq stays true to form. It simply cannot learn anything, the necessity to maintain its illusions override everything.

Looked at from that perspective, only the first six years of the Bush administration showed the will to overcome those illusions. They were quickly replaced by others that proved even more damaging, dangerous, and downright depraved, so we had to scurry back to our old ways. Obama is a perfect representative of those old ways, everyone is expected to see things his way, and when they don't, he and the US just can't understand why.


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