January 12, 2013

Obama's Afghanistan: All Exit, No Strategy

James Traub, Foreign Policy

AP Photo

COIN has had its great experiment; and it has been found wanting. The massive program of development assistance and government reform which accompanied the military surge has done little either to reduce the corruption and incompetence of the Afghan state or to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan public. One recent study found that in the country's most fiercely contested provinces aid is negatively correlated with both stability and popular perceptions of the international presence. It never seemed plausible -- save, perhaps, to MacChrystal, who spoke of bringing "government-in-a-box" -- that the U.S. could significantly boost the legitimacy of Hamid Karzai's government in three years; and White House officials have long since stopped speaking of political or economic reform as a...

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TAGGED: Barack Obama, Afghanistan

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