Patterico's Pontifications


A New Era In U.S.-Afghan Relations

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 10:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama took a firmer approach with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during his surprise visit to Afghanistan last week:

“In his first visit to Afghanistan since taking office, Obama firmly prodded Karzai to take more decisive steps to reform his corruption-tainted government so both leaders can capitalize on the surge of 30,000 American troops into the war zone.
The Obama administration has struggled to find the right mix of pressure and praise to persuade Karzai to crack down on government corruption.”

It’s been a rocky road for Obama and Karzai but after their meeting, representatives put a positive spin on their relationship:

“Aides to Karzai and Obama both described the meeting as friendly and businesslike.

The Obama administration said Karzai would visit Washington on May 12, about a week after he is scheduled to wrap up the peace jirga.

“Relations now are stronger than they’ve been in the last eight years,” Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar told McClatchy after the talks.”

This week’s news suggests the relationship has gotten rockier:

The White House expressed unhappiness Friday with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan after a harsh anti-Western speech in which he accused foreigners of manipulating last year’s election and warned that American and NATO troops risked being seen as invaders.

Mr. Karzai’s speech, coming just days after President Obama visited him in Kabul, underscored the deep mistrust between the two leaders and their governments even as the United States is tripling its troop commitment since the beginning of the Obama presidency to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The White House called Mr. Karzai’s speech “troubling” and said it would seek clarification through the State Department, which is diplomatic code for expressing annoyance and even anger. Mr. Obama used his visit to press Mr. Karzai to do more to battle pervasive corruption that has undermined the credibility of the Kabul government and fed the increasingly lethal insurgency, but the Afghan leader bristled at the lecture.”

Asked whether Karzai is still invited to Washington, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied “As of right now, yes.”

But don’t expect dinner.


21 Responses to “A New Era In U.S.-Afghan Relations”

  1. Again, Obama has harsher words for the United States’ friends than its enemies.


    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. What a mess. Karzai probably feels pressured to voice mistrust of the West, even while we are pretty much the only thing keeping him in power.

    Icy Texan (02cc95)

  3. Karzai has likely squirreled away enough of the aid we send to Afghanistan in his Swiss bank accounts, not to mention his cut from the heroin trade, that he feels confident that when Afghanistan collapses one more time he’ll still live well abroad.

    nk (db4a41)

  4. When Karzai comes he should not wear one of his good hats.

    If it falls off as he enters the White House it might land in the trash they keep outside the service entrance.

    MU789 (16c6a8)

  5. No, of course not, that seat is reserved for Hekmatyar, the rival of Karzai’s faction that has
    actually organized attacks against coalition troops

    ian cormac (349188)

  6. Big Zero knows corruption when he sees it. He’s from Chicago.

    GeneralMalaise (556297)

  7. Karzai must have been underwhelmed by The Cairo Speech.

    Patricia (fa8e06)

  8. As far as I am concerned, Afghanistan is a rat hole.

    Iraq had some of the best potential in the Arab world to become a functioning semi-modern economy. A lot of that, ironically, was due to Saddam’s harsh secular regime. The other big factor is the oil. Iraq should be a rich country if it was governed half-way decently. I don’t expect a Jeffersonian democracy because that is not compatible with Arab psychology, let alone Islam.

    Afghanistan has been a basket case since Alexander the Great tried to do something with it. Its only industry is tribal warfare; its only cash crop is heroin. The British tried to wall it off from India in the 19th century and lost a couple of armies.

    I think we should declare victory over the Taliban and leave. We won’t, of course. Vietnam had a strategic purpose and much of that was accomplished. Thailand remained free and communism (and Russian imperialism) remained contained in an area that has proven to the rest of Asia who was right and who was wrong.

    Afghanistan will dissolve into warring tribes as soon as we leave. Our great fear, and why we are there now that the USSR is gone, is that Pakistan, which has nukes, will go to radical Islam. It think it has anyway. The leadership of Pakistan is corrupt and has been since the British left. There are a few feudal families that run things. Benezir Bhutto was a member of one of them. Her husband, known in Pakistan as “Mr 10%”, is now running the place, or rather pretending to as the army really runs things.

    Our ally in south Asia is India and Obama is trying to alienate them. He won’t because they know better. They are part of the Anglosphere, which Obama hates but which is the chief source of prosperity in the world.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  9. When Barrack Obama can remove the log in his own government’s eye, he can start lecturing Karzai about the twig in his.

    CT Lostaglia (b64b49)

  10. “…or rather pretending to as the army really runs things…”

    And has since Jinnah died.

    AD - RtR/OS! (9b3f49)

  11. Mike K., our ally in south Asia is indeed India. In large part because of the important diplomatic efforts made by George W. Bush. Some Democrats tried to undermine that, and Obama seems to have absolutely no understanding of the importance of India and our good relations with India. But that’s of a character of Obama’s complete ignorance of the important foreign relations both within and without the region

    SPQR (26be8b)

  12. See Mark Steyn’s piece on NRO today. This is the president who thinks Austrians speak Austrian. He is a poseur who has done a masterful job of selling a pig in a poke to the American people. He berates Americans for not speaking another language besides English but he doesn’t. He knows no economics. His politics was learned in Chicago, his history in Jeremiah Wright’s church.

    I’m counting the months.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  13. Comment by SPQR — 4/3/2010 @ 11:43 am

    I’m confident that Obowman would get along famously with the old Nehru regime of the 50’s – 60’s, as they share the same Socialist/Marxist values.
    But, since India has thrown-off her fascination with Socialist/Marxist economic theory, and has embraced Capitalism and entrepreneurship,
    she has joined the “enemy” camp, and must be shunned.

    AD - RtR/OS! (9b3f49)

  14. “Some Democrats tried to undermine that, and Obama seems to have absolutely no understanding of the importance of India and our good relations with India”

    What could happen to our relations with India? Like, where else could they go in seeking friends or harm us?

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    imdw (3bbede)

  15. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????

    AD - RtR/OS! (9b3f49)

  16. Earth-shakingly obtuse, dense, stupid.
    For fifty years the U.S. attempts to bring India into the orbit of the West, and to get them to move away from Socialism;
    and, after finally succeeding, we’re going to kiss it all away because of ?
    This is a nation of 1.3Billion people (who, under current demographic trends, will surpass China in population in 10-20 years – that one-child thing is a great population reducer), that possesses nuclear weapons, and has two very antagonistic neighbors that it has fought hot wars with over the past half-Century, and has a very large voice in our civilian sector of the economy (called customer service lately?), and we’re just going to kiss them off?
    I have to wonder what BHO Sr. said about Hindu merchants in Kenya to his darling little boy, we know he poisoned his mind re the Brits?
    Petulance is no basis for diplomacy.

    AD - RtR/OS! (9b3f49)

  17. Anyone in this government who points the finger of corruption at any other government in the world as if we were remotely capable of honesty ourselves is further earning all the contempt now being shown toward us and this administration. Lindsay Lohan calling Kim Kardasian a skank, a $10 street hooker calling Hillary Clinton a whore, or even a pot calling a kettle black don’t begin to cover things as they are now. Our problems are not financial, liberal, conservative, or even sexual, they are our ethics toward one another, our “friends,” and even our family members. Corruption, thy name is America.

    Howard Veit (d0000b)

  18. What could happen to our relations with India? Like, where else could they go in seeking friends or harm us?

    A perfect example of ignorance of history. India previously allied with the Soviet Union and led the falsely-named “Non-Aligned Movement” that opposed US led foreign policy initiatives. A stupidly handled foreign policy with respect to India, that fails to take into account India’s interests in the region and fails to strengthen the economic ties between the US and India could drive India into either forming an independant policy vs. Pakistan or drive India back into the arms of Russia.

    India has several possible courses of action, and since they are the target of a lot of terrorism that originates in our nominal ally, Pakistan, they can upset a lot of apple carts.

    The “screw ’em, where can they go” Chicago mentality is extraordinarily naive, and dangerous.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. Hey, SPQR, it’s imadickwad we’re talking about here.
    What else could it be?

    AD - RtR/OS! (9b3f49)

  20. AD, imdw certainly writes some amazingly stupid little snark with that act of pretending not to get the point. But the one I quote is among the more stupid of snark. I find it entirely consistent with the extraordinarily juvenile view of foreign policy we see held by Democrats these days.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  21. SPQR,
    I disagree re’ he juvenile views. My feeling is Dems will do anything to avoid making a tough decision. It doesn’t work that well in domestic policy (BHO has a group advising him on everything) ,but doesn’t work at all in foreign policy .

    corwin (46606c)

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