Foreign Policy

Another Afghan Problem

I’ve been wondering if the U.S. military’s projections about the training of Afghan security forces haven’t been a bit rosy, and the New York Times today raises many of the same questions. I’ve heard conflicting reports on the Afghan National Army in recent months: On the plus side, they are said to fight well. On the minus side, 20-25% …

Karzai’s Brother


Just emerged from a press conference featuring Hillary Clinton and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureishi. The big news here today involves terrorist attacks in Peshawar, to our northwest, and Kabul. There are 86 dead, so far, in the bombing of a women’s market in Peshawar; seven dead UN workers in Kabul.

There’s been a lot …

Kerry Nails It

John Kerry gave a good, detailed speech about Afghanistan policy today. His sense that McChrystal’s 40,000 request is too much, too soon is especially noteworthy. I hate to make predictions, but just this once: I still think Obama will approve 20-25,000 troops–two brigades to secure Kandahar city and environs, plus three to train the …

Ahmadinejad the Moderate?

The usually excellent David Sanger has a very frustrating piece of analysis in the NY Times today. He reports that a public debate has erupted in Iran over whether to accept the west’s nuclear non-proliferation offer:

For days now, Iran’s leadership has been fighting over whether to take that deal, with political opponents of

Perfect Pitch

Vice President Joe Biden had an absolutely perfect response to Dick Cheney’s utterly predictable and entirely wrong foreign policy speech this week:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had a blunt response on Friday to the latest broadsides from former Vice President Dick Cheney: “Who cares?”

Exactly so. The national security policy …

Our Pakistani Allies

Let me get this straight: the U.S. Congress has voted to send an historic $7.5 billion in economic and humanitarian aid, over five years, to Pakistan–and the Pakistani is complaining? Yes, yes, I know there are sensitivities, but the strings attached don’t seem all that onerous: that the civilian government remain in charge of the …

Debating Afghanistan

If you haven’t already noticed on CSPAN2, the Senate has begun debate on the FY2010 Defense Appropriations bill. Typically, defense is the last of the 13 spending bills to be passed because it’s a must pass – ie, you can’t not update military funding in a time of war – and it often becomes a Christmas tree for all the pork that …

President Obama Runs The Sunday Show Table (Sans Fox)

CNN’s John King summed up the situation pretty succinctly just before 11 a.m. “He’s not just done us. He’s done other people as well.” The “he” in question was the President of the United States, and the people he was doing were the hosts of five Sunday shows, on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and Univision. The full market blitz by the White House …

Belated Thanks

Much mayhem at the Al Quds day festivities in Iran yesterday. The former reform President Mohammed Khatami was attacked by thugs, apparently. The former establishmentarian President Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who endorsed Mousavi in the last election, was denied his traditional position as the Quds Day speaker at Friday prayers. The …

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