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The New Rules: Long-Term U.S. Presence in Afghanistan a Mistake

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Obama administration has begun talks with Afghanistan designed to quell the Karzai government's fears about being abandoned by the West come 2014. Those talks are said to involve negotiations for long-term basing of U.S. troops involved in training Afghan security forces and supporting future counterterrorism operations. This can be seen as a realistic course of action, given our continuing lack of success in nation-building there, as well as our inability -- although perhaps unwillingness is a better term -- to erect some regional security architecture that might replace our presence. But there are good reasons to question this course.

Strengthening Afghanistan is a good idea; convincing the region's major players -- Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, India and China -- that America will remain Kabul's primary external patron is not. And the truth is, we might not be as "indispensable" in this instance as we continue to assume. ...

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