Why I like the Afghan timetable
Published on: December 3, 2009
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  • As I say in my annotation to the speech, the timetable decision was a genuinely tough call. It exemplifies the multiple audience problem. I just don’t think the Afghan government is likely to be able to respond the way we hope they will; it is institutionally very weak, through neither exactly our fault or their fault. I think the enemy is probably more encouraged after the speech than before, but not dramatically so. But I also think the Pakistani elite is now less likely to take risks to do wjnat we want them to, and that may be more consequential in the longer run.

  • Limited nation building? I’ve often recommended your book on state-building, but I wonder if states can exist and flourish in today’s world without a nationalism behind them. It will require more than an Afghan army to make the Afghan state permanent. It will require an Afghan nation.

    In the meantime I worry that we may have lost sight of the reason we went in in the first place. Capturing or killing Usama bin Ladin and eliminating al-Qa’ida should be more important than building an Afghan nation state.

  • Tim Brynteson

    “A goal without a deadline is a dream.” I think Obama’s timeline reflects tough executive decision-making. For all those who want immediate results, Obama has been a disappointment. As a business owner who runs things with an eye to the long-term, I am impressed by his pace, toughness and vision.

  • I wonder if setting a deadline and declaring it out to the world will not strengthen the enemies

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