Saturday, April 10, 2010

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Is it better to treat Karzai sweetly or with tough love?  This piece suggests a soft touch--which explains why McChrystal has a good relationship????  Perhaps being openly frustrated is a bad idea, but this whole episode shows how thoroughly unreliable Karzai is.  He gets upset easily and has been buddying up with Iran.  The timing is also a bit backwards on this:
  • Step 1: Karzai spends his entire re-election campaign trashing ISAF for collateral damage, winning points for the Taliban.
  • Step 2: Karzai either allows or supports a law to be passed, the so-called rape law, that is sure to alienate key constituencies in ISAF-donating countries.
  • Step 3: Karzai completely subverts the election--a two-fer: undermining the effort on the ground and support within the ISAF-donating countries.
  • Step 4:  Then the US gets publicly upset--which is not only natural but necessary.  Just condoning the systematic destruction of the election would have been bad for all kinds of business.
Maybe Karzai was initially upset because he didn't get a video teleconference with Obama like he had with Bush.  But we cannot really blame a year of systematically undermining the COIN effort on that.

Perhaps the "tough love" has not been working, but neither has anything else.  The behavior is a constant and the strategies have varied.  So, I blame that which has remained the same--Karzai.

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