So of course I take a vacation right as Afghanistan hits the front pages around the world. President Obama held a press conference on Friday to announce a new US strategy in Afghanistan, which included a new outlook on the reasons and goals for our presence there. I will get into the pros and cons of Obama’s plan in the next few days, but it seems clear that his administration is ready to dig deeper into US human (4,000 more troops) and financial resources (5 year assistance packages for Af/Pak) to bring stability and end the capabilities of terrorists in Afghanistan. This maximilist approach is also tempered by what appears to be a minimalizing of US goals for the country as Obama emphasized the ‘disrupting’ and ‘defeating’ of terrorist elements in Afghanistan/Pakistan as the central goal for the conflict and talked very little about nation building or democracy strengthening. There is much more to this policy, including pressure on Pakistan’s military and government and a regional outlook, and I look forward to getting into them soon. Here is the US President’s Announcement:
Congress will need to approve this strategy. What are your first impressions of Obama’s strategy? What is it missing? What do you think of his professed goals and focus?
***Update: Check out FPA’s Rising Powers blog piece about a Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit on Afghanistan. For the first time a US official attended a SCO meeting. Peace at last?