Barack and Brown, giving perilous Pashtuns one last punch
See the Guardian, Max Hastings, Brown and Obama may fail in Afghanistan, but they cannot give up: Western involvement in the region is hugely problematic, but the rise of al-Qaida in Pakistan has made it worth the risk,
It is an embarrassment to discover that you are fighting the wrong war. President Obama’s strategy review of Afghanistan, unveiled on Friday, makes almost explicit what American and British soldiers and diplomats have understood for many months: that al-Qaida is now rooted in Pakistan, whose tottering polity represents a far graver threat to international order than anything happening next door.
Washington is appalled by the danger posed by a “greater Pashtunistan”, straddling Pakistan and southern and eastern Afghanistan, dominated by Islamic militants who might eventually become capable of giving al-Qaida access to nuclear weapons. Western alarm about such a contingency seems entirely justified, especially now the Islamabad government has conceded control of the Swat valley to the Taliban, with the imposition of sharia law. …
It may seem perverse to acknowledge a likelihood of failure, and still argue in favour of perseverance. Yet the consequences of allied defeat in Afghanistan, and of an enhanced threat to Pakistan, appear quite as grave as US and British policymakers suggest. Obama seems right to try one more heave, and Britain’s prime minister will be right to support him in making it.
Wise words. If Obama and Gordo can’t try at least one more swing of the ol’ fist, they will look a little on the weak side. . .
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