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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Monday, November 02, 2009

Karzai by default - What a mess.

With Abdullah pulling out of the runoff, the US is trying to cancel the re-poll out of fears of security and violence in an election with one candidate.

Later: (CNN) Karzai declared elected president of Afghanistan. (He was declared "elected" by the electioral committee he appointed.)

Frankly, we would have probably been better off letting him win that first corrupt election. Hell, manipulating that election was probably the first/best exhibition of national power we've seen out of Karzai.

And, the NYTimes offers a little Washington side to all this.
In the early days of Mr. Obama’s presidency, he and his aides searched desperately for a plausible alternative to Mr. Karzai. They found none. Since the spring, there has been little doubt that Mr. Karzai would remain in the presidential palace after the election was over.....

Here in the United States, Mr. Obama began scaling back American ambitions. With the advice of his defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, he dropped the Bush-era talk of turning Afghanistan into a Western-style democracy. He carefully avoided the word “victory,” which Mr. Bush had used so often. He narrowed the United States’ military objectives to destroying Al Qaeda — which is thought to be based largely in Pakistan — while simply subverting the Taliban’s ability to once again take over the country.

“All we need to do is degrade the Taliban enough for the Afghan Army to be able to deal with them,” one of Mr. Obama’s top national security aides said recently.

And, it sounds like the Obama folks are going to desperately try to make this reelection a Karzai "turning point,"although it's not really clear what that means or how it's to be accomplished.


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