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Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy: WTF

September 21, 2009

Rarely does the French Cowboy venture to make predictions. But President Obama’s decision making concerning mostly, but not exclusively, foreign policy has taken on a very simple and clear pattern from which it is not hard to extrapolate what future decisions will be made and be very likely correct. The pattern is that, when A is the good idea and B is the bad idea, Obama goes for B. Here are some examples:

A: Tell Russia to back off its sovereign, democratic neighbour states after it invaded Georgia.

B: Tell both sides to “show restraint”.

A: Unambiguously side with the pro-democratic Iranian protesters after the rigged ‘election’ of Ahjmadinejad.

B: Signal that the President of the United States of America is perfectly indifferent about how illegitimate and brutal the official leader of Iran is as long as he can have faint hopes of building a diplomatic relation with him.

A: Stand with the Honduran people against power-hungry Chávez-alley and former president Zelaya who was ousted in accordance with the constitution after an illegal attempt to extend his time in office.

B: Intimidate and sanction Honduras, demand it reinstates Zelaya, just as Chávez does.

A: Build that missile defence system in Eastern Europe to shield US troops and friendly nations from Iranian attacks.

B: Scrap the defence system and give Putin an enormous victory for nothing in return. Tell the Poles on the anniversary of the Soviet Invasion.

As you can see, Obama has consistently picked option B, the bad idea. Now here comes my prediction: Obama won’t send enough troops to Afghanistan. I admit this is not much of a prediction because already the signs from the White House are all pointing into that direction. Obama’s national security adviser Jones reportedly said that the Commander-in-Chief will have a “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” moment should more troops be demanded by General McChrystal. And now that McChrystal’s assessment of the situation in Afghanistan is complete, he still didn’t get the permission to openly say how many troops he thinks he needs to put his strategy into practice. Meanwhile, the President declares himself ‘skeptical‘ about the idea of sending more troops to Afghanistan and says, “[…] right now, the question is—the first question is, are we doing the right thing? Are we pursuing the right strategy?”

If eight months into his presidency, and after several official assessments by his advisers and generals on a war that has been going on for eight years, the commander-in-chief says he still needs to decide whether the current strategy is the right one and, if not, which one would be, and only then begin to ponder on the number of troops that should be made available for the effort, then be afraid. Be very afraid.

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