Zero option in Afghanistan makes zero sense

Max Boot:
Leave it to Ryan Crocker, a former ambassador in Kabul, Islamabad, and Baghdad, among other capitals, and the greatest diplomat of his generation, to offer the definitive verdict on the “zero option”–the zany plan being floated by the White House to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan after 2014. This is what Crocker told foreign policy columnist Trudy Rubin:

If it’s a tactic, it is mindless; if it is a strategy, it is criminal. 
Nothing could encourage the Taliban more. The Pakistanis [who are helping the Taliban] will dig in harder. It will send Karzai in completely the wrong direction. 
It invokes memories of the early 1990s. It’s as if we’re telling the Afghans, ‘We’re tired, we’re going home, screw you.’

The only thing one can add to this cogent and pithy summary is that it is not only the Afghans who will be “screwed” by American withdrawal–we would be screwing ourselves. The primary reason why are in Afghanistan, after all, is not as a service to Hamid Karzai or even to promote human rights but, rather, to allow us to effectively target the terrorist groups responsible for 9/11 and many smaller outrages.
It seems to be a reflection of Obama's poor negotiating skills that he would react this way when met with Karzai intransigence.  There are tough and more effective ways to deal with Karzai.  We can show him how much Afghanistan needs the US without threatening to bug out.


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