Karzai to U.S.: Well Take A Look At Me Now « The Washington Independent
Building on that last point about micromanaging Pakistan, take a look at Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai is looking like he’ll win reelection. Following on Erin Simpson’s concerns, I worried in March that the Obama administration was repeating a mistake of the Bush administration’s from the opposite perspective: while Bush overpersonalized Afghan policy by embracing Karzai wholeheartedly, the Obama team did the same thing by visibly disrespecting him. The Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon and Peter Spiegel get a pithy quote summing that up:
“We’ve not completely burnt that bridge, but it’s black, and timbers are out,” said a former senior U.S. military official who consults with the administration on Afghan strategy.
For more on that, see Phil Zabriskie at True/Slant. My understanding of this week’s U.S.-Afghan meetings in Washington is that they’re going to focus on deliverable paths to increasing Afghan governance and development around the country, rather than the top-level strategy concerns of the last round. Maybe that’s a way of depersonalizing bilateral relations. But you couldn’t blame Karzai if he rolls into Washington this week bumping Phil Collins.