Two Commentaries

I’ve been meaning to post these all week.

The first is Stephen Walt’s realist case for pulling out of Afghanistan. The case is essentially as follows:

1. It’s not clear that terrorists need a “haven” in order to mount attacks.

2. It’s not clear that we can “save” Afghanistan even by making an indefinite commitment.

3. It’s not clear that the blood and treasure we’re expending in Afghanistan are proportional to the threat of a terrorist attack–even a major one.

The second commentary is from Ahmed Rashid, speaking at the Quantico Marine Corps base. He echoes a lot of Sarah Chayes’ favorite themes, criticizing America’s aid policy towards Pakistan and chastising USAID for waste and excess. Rashid criticizes the initial decision to rely on warlords at the expense of legitimacy and development and argues for a new focus on infrastructure, agriculture, etc.–what he calls the “minimal state”.

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