Foreign Policy Blogs

Afghanistan and the Election: 'Good Luck!'

news.jpgIn honor of Election Day here in America, how about we remind the two presidential candidates of a tremendously volatile and challenging issue they will all of a sudden be responsible for; Afghanistan/Pakistan democracy and stability. President-elect Obama or McCain will face quite the number of tests, and defeating the Taliban and Al Qaeda, bringing good governance to Afghanistan, and helping to stabilize Pakistan will be central to their administration providing international security.

The Bush administration set up a meeting with Obama and McCain's advisor's two weeks ago to brief them on the current situation. The meeting featured a who's who of Afghan experts from the US, NATO, and UN, who briefed two foreign policy aides for each Obama and McCain. The aides were reportedly told that the situation was rather dire and that they would need to start setting up their strategy/policy for the war effort before they take office in January.

"The intent was to ensure that everyone understand that the situation is very fast-moving, and if the new administration spends three months trying to figure out what to do, it's too late," said one administration official who participated in the discussion.

The Bush Administration has in recent months been working on a new strategy for the conflict, already involving the addition of 8,000 troops and the naming of Gen. Petraeus as the head of Central Command, and I hope the President-elect and Bush's administration can work effectively in formulating a comprehensive and stable transition plan.  This plan may have to include a greater willingness of starting negotiations with elements of the Taliban.

The 2008 election will not be decided on either candidates position on Afghanistan/Pakistan, the economy, Bush, and Iraq have trumped it, but the next president had better be ready for what is indeed a troubling and strategic situation in Central Asia.

 

Author

Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

Great Decisions Discussion group