Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hard Questions for President Obama

Last year I posted here, and at my blog at Standpoint Magazine, a series of "hard questions" for then-Senator Obama, who had shown himself during the primaries and election campaign unusually adept at avoiding such.

Herewith a new edition of Hard Questions for President Obama.

1) What are the US goals in Afghanistan?

2) What, so far as we understand, do the Afghan people want?

Given the degree and length of US and NATO involvement, answers to these questions should be clear, as for instance they are in Iraq, yet they are not.

Readers' answers in the comments section are welcome.

My previous "hard questions" posts may be found by following the link at the tag below.


James Scott Linville said...

I just received this missive from Edward E.

"I would add another: If you accept Aristottle's definition of strategy as the art of winning, what is the US strategy in Afghanistan/Pakistan?"

Anonymous said...

Afghanistan and Pakistan should be seen as one region for purposes of this question.

The US goal in Afghanistan has changed several times. First it was to hunt down OBL. Then it was to establish democracy in a feudal land where there is no middle class to start with. Then the goal became the support of the sartorially festooned Hamid Karzai. Finally it has become evident that the goal is to stop a Taliban takeover of more than they already have gobbled up in NWFP and FATA of Pakistan, and then supressing the Taliban in general in Baluchistan and elsewhere to stop the spread of their ideology.

The Afghan people, whom I have not had the opportunity to interview, would seem to want education, jobs and public health, just like the people of Swat, Pakistan and other South Asia populations estranged from the economic mainstream.

Until the unmet social and economic needs of the region are met by governments of NGOs, the Taliban will have a very appealing ideology.
F.C. Schell