Just a little while ago, President Obama revealed his new plan, in broad strokes, for Afghanistan. All in all, the plan makes sense. I do not see an abandonment of Afghanistan's development in favor of counter-terrorist activities, rather a realization that without a lasting framework, the region will have no other result but to slide back into chaos and a home for international terrorism.
This recognition that the future of stability in Central Asia is tied to our own national security interests is welcome. Many have argued, including an Air Force Major General, that a "loss" in Afghanistan would not seriously damage U.S. interests or security. Obama's statement has refuted that in at least the sitting administration's opinion. That's a good thing.
Michael Yon has already expressed disappointment. He feels that the increased troop levels aren't enough, and that the administration will have to make announcements of further increases in the future. That may be so; however, it's a good start, and it's not the best news.
The best news is twofold; first there is finally an acknowledgment, officially, of the role of good governance and corruption in the stability of Afghanistan. Secondly, there is the commitment, finally, to fully man the advisor effort in Afghanistan. These two critical pieces are so key in any potential strategy for success in Afghanistan that it cannot be stressed enough.
Pakistan is dealt with as sensibly as possible, and the engagement of the other Central Asian states is a new strategy that cannot do harm and may help in many ways.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction. Personally, I hope to play a part in it.
A deeper and ongoing look will undoubtedly follow, but that's my first take on it.
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