Monday, October 7, 2013

Karzai is The Best Ally of NATO That Our Enemies Could Hope For

Oy.  Sure, I have written a book with David Auerswald that criticizes just a bit NATO's efforts in Afghanistan, but we would not go as far as our pal, President Karzai:

President Hamid Karzai has criticised Nato for failing to bring stability to Afghanistan in over a decade there.
"On the security front the entire Nato exercise was one that caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains because the country is not secure," he said.
I reacted thusly:
One criticize NATO for much, but it takes more than one alliance to tango.  The failure to provide for sustaining security has much to do with governance--and that would be Karzai's bailiwick.   Indeed, when the outsiders suggested bringing in a senior civilian to coordinate the effort (Paddy Ashdown), Karzai said no.  But has Karzai engaged in any real leadership?  Is this his war?  No, always, always, always, Karzai has denied ownership of the war.  It is funny to see him blame the outsiders for corruption, when he has fought efforts to fight it.   Yes, the outsider money mattered a great deal, but he facilitated an environment where corruption would go unchallenged.  Just ask his brother (oops, AWK is dead).

Given that he controls personnel slots throughout the government throughout the country, Karzai has a wee bit of influence over the outcomes.  Has he made those personnel decisions based on what is best for building a safe and secure Afghanistan?  Only if safe and secure refers strictly to his own political position.

There are other folks to blame as well--the Bush administration for wasting time and being distracted, Pakistan for supporting those undermining the NATO effort, various NATO countries for just doing the minimum, and so on.  But if I had to rank who is to blame for failing in Afghanistan, I would probably rank it thusly:
  1. Karzai and his government.  Given the resources, they could have done far better to reach out.
  2. The Taliban.  Heaps of effort, creativity, menace and such to undermine.  I do not expect the Taliban to be able to build much, but destroy?  Sure.
  3. Pakistan.
  4. The US.  For wasted opportunities and changing strategies every year.
  5. NATO.  For being less coordinated than it should have been, for much token effort, for restrictions by many members.  Lots of holes and seams for Taliban to exploit.
I may re-think these rankings, but Karzai is doing no one any favors... except perhaps himself and I am not even sure of that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You think Karzai is more to blame than the country that put 135,000 troops and spent 125 billion dollars waging a useless counter-insurgency.

What a useless blog.