I initially thought Afghan President Hamid Karzai had a Tourette’s outburst when he accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban so U.S. forces can stay in that lovely slice of heaven for another million years.
His comments were probably intended for domestic consumption, just like half the things that come out of our president’s mouth, but the belligerent, anti-U.S. Hamid of 2013 was probably not what anyone had in mind in 2002 – when an articulate, eloquent and pro-U.S. Karzai was viewed as Afghanistan’s best hope and installed as interim-president-forever in 2002. This was especially galling after the most recent green-on-blue shooting by an Afghan soldier that left two U.S. troops dead.
Some places will never live up to your expectations, no matter how many lives and resources – and no matter how much effort – you put into them. Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and Afghans tried to get us to be more like them. This isn’t about good or bad for the average Afghan – it’s about survival. A more eloquent discussion of the past decade of war can be found in the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine, which features a roundtable discussion that many well known D.C. policy wonks as well as my old battalion XO, a plain-spoken warrior for common sense named Dale Alford.
Come 2014, the loose confederacy that makes up the Afghan government will crumble, alliances will form based on self-interest and strongmen will fight to consolidate power, a replay of the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal in 1992.
Or the Brits in the 19th century.
Or the Mongols in the 13th century.
Or Alexander the Great in 330 B.C.
I’ll shut up now.