Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Run Off in Afghanistan

So the President of Afghanistan did not really win reelection outright in the first round after all. With enough fraudulent votes for Karzai invalidated to drop his support to about 48%, Karzai will now face a run off against Abdullah Abdullah, a former member of the Northern Alliance and former Foreign Minister of both the transitional government and Karzai's government.

Abdullah Abdullah was a close associate of Ahmad Massoud who was assassinated by Al Qaeda on September 9, 2001. Now, the Northern Alliance guys are not pussy cats. There are accusations of human rights violations and several of the "tribal warlord" types in the north-west don't really like them. But this faction does have long standing ties to Russia, the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Turkey, Iran and India. Those could prove be useful contacts for the next Afghan administration - and their American allies.

I think this is a great chance for the Obama administration that they will accept democratic outcomes even if they are inconvenient. First and foremost because I doubt Abdullah Abdullah will be terribly unfriendly to American policy objectives. And what's more, if the US had resisted this or quashed it (probably what the Bushies would have been tempted to do), it would have fatally linked us to an illegitimate and increasingly corrupt and unpopular Karzai. This way, whether Karzai wins or loses the US can at least plausibly claim some neutrality in the election and hopefully reinforce the legitimacy of who ever the winner of the second round is.


The Law Talking Guy said...

I'm not sure this is about accepting inconvenient democratic outcomes. Karzai tried to steal the election, and it's been such a disaster and so obvious that we forced him to cave. Karzai announced the runoff with Senator Kerry at his side (and a rifle in his back, no doubt). The runoff he will also win, by hook or by crook. If anyone thinks it will be fair, well, nobody does. And it won't be more legitimate, which was the hope. But this may be the fig leaf Obama needs to send more troops to Afghanistan.

No doubt the Pakistanis are wondering why they traded influence over the Taliban regime for this. The result of 8 years of war has been to make Afghanistan and Pakistan less stable than ever before.

What a mess Bush made of the place!!! We were so busy trying to stop the total meltdown in Iraq that we forgot that neocons could screw up more than one country at the same time.

What is the solution? Can we coopt the Taliban the way we coopted Sunni militias in Iraq? I don't think this is a good way to think, because it suggests that these countries have much in common. It's like comparing Texas to Bolivia.

Raised By Republicans said...

Well, I think the Bushies would have stuck with "their guy" just out of an unwillingness to break in a new client leader. That's exactly what they did with Musharraf in Pakistan. They propped him for years until both his power and Bush's declined at the same time after 2006. Such a move in Afghanistan would be a disaster and Obama is right to back off from Karzai.

I think you are right to be pessimistic about Afghanistan though. It does look good. Bush wasted the 7 years after 9/11/2001. Imagine if we had spent half of what we spent in Iraq on building roads, schools and telecom infrastructure - hell even an oil pipeline, a tennis shoe factory - anything to improve the lives of the Afghan people.

The damage Bush did to the world is staggering in its scope and scale. At least Obama's administration isn't willing to continue backing Karzai unconditionally. That's a start!