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Departing Afghanistan is a relief, but what's next?

The United States desperately needs a break from financing wars and costly foreign policy that fails to provide a high return on cost. Getting out of the Afghanistan quagmire is a welcomed relief, even when it comes as a product of President Karzai's recalcitrance in agreeing to limited presence of American troops. He wouldn’t sign an agreement and President Obama said fine, we’re leaving.

President Hamad Karzai, warned about security deal repercussions by the US.
Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Americans had better hope that Obama isn’t bluffing. The military needs time off to recover and to recalibrate.

American Middle East foreign policy has become an iterative fits-and-starts endeavor that is characteristic of everything the Obama administration does. It is not strategic. It is not aimed at specific outcomes. It lacks “how to” process, and leadership is just absent.

Time out should be called, and when a new Congress gets in place, the entire team needs to huddle on foreign policy and national security.

Stopping the bleeding from our wounded economy is the first measure. Clearing the Congress of professional politicians should make government breath easier.

Getting slapped around by Karzai is disgraceful as is getting slapped around by Maliki.

“Obama prepared for complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Karzai rejection of security deal angers White House

Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 12:21

President Barack Obama has told the Pentagon to prepare for the possibility that no US troops will be left in Afghanistan over President Hamad Karzai’s refusal to sign a joint security agreement.

The United States has said that after its formal drawdown of troops from Afghanistan by year’s end, it could leave a contingent of as many as 8,000 for counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaeda targets and to train Afghan forces.

But Mr Karzai’s refusal to sign a security deal has frustrated the White House, which has been forced to abandon an earlier demand that he sign the deal in weeks, not months.
US anger over Afghan release of 65 prisoners

Afghan civilian deaths up 14% in 2013 as war intensifies

– (Reuters)

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