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A Better Afghanistan


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better-afghanistan_708859.html?nopager=1Weekly Standard:

Will require a better president.

Max Boot





All of this highlights the importance of Afghanistan picking a better leader in the next presidential election, scheduled for April 2014. It is vitally important that this balloting, unlike previous elections, not be marred by fraud. U.S. forces need to start planning now to ensure a free and fair election.




Given the stakes, the United States can’t afford a holier-than-thou attitude of committing ourselves to free and fair elections while remaining agnostic about the outcome. Our tremendous power (we still have 66,000 troops in Afghanistan and provide more than 90 percent of the country’s budget) gives us the opportunity to influence the outcome, overtly or covertly. We should use that clout to help secure the election of a candidate who could unite Afghans and defeat or at least marginalize the Taliban—and we should not be paralyzed by fears that our machinations will blow up in our faces.


This is a difficult task to pull off, but Edward Lansdale showed how it could be done. This legendary CIA and Air Force officer arrived in the Philippines in 1945 at the beginning of an uprising by the Communist Huks (short for Hukbalahap).......(Snip)




Afghanistan today could desperately use its own Magsaysay, and we can’t trust the political process to produce him on its own because warlords, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, and other malign actors will influence the outcome. If we refuse to play the same game, we will be able to congratulate ourselves on our moral purity—but we will also be in serious danger of losing the war we have been fighting since the fall of 2001.


If he hasn’t already, President Obama should tell the U.S. ambassador and CIA station chief in Kabul that it is time to emulate Lansdale by selecting and grooming the best possible candidate to succeed Karzai.......(Snip)

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