Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Can we get Karzai to shape up? Beats me.

And if Karzai doesn't shape up...what is the "or else" part of our telling him to shape up or else?

Seems like he figures he's got us over a barrel. Can we really take our toys and go home if he doesn't mend his corrupt, autocratic ways? He thinks not.

Can we throw him under the bus by demanding a new election--saying that the last one didn't remotely meet international standards? Might be overplaying our hand. Our enemies already call him our puppet.

We could try a regional/local strategy--just ignore the "mayor of Kabul" and work with provincial bosses we think can do better. It's a lousy option, but if we can't show Karzai we have a credible Plan B it's no use shaking our finger at him. He'll just smile and nod...and continue to stuff his Swiss bank accounts with dollars (just a guess--could be Dubai or some such).

I wish today's NYTimes editorial had proposed what our Plan B could be. Seems like whichever way we turn is fraught with peril.

The editorial didn't say anything about Pakistan, India and Iran either. Pakistan is obsessed with India's influence in Afghanistan, and I never read any credible articles on what form that influence might take. Or whether we can use something about this trio of neighbors to exert leverage on Karzai.

Lastly, of course the planners of 9/11 are almost certainly in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. So as we wrestle with the mess in Afghanistan, we have to keep our eyes on the prize: Bin Ladin's head on a pike. Or, failing that, in the crosshairs of a Predator's camera the instant before a Hellfire missile shortens his day.

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