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30668Obama and the Middle East, Part II (Robert Dreyfuss)

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  • Sean McBride
    Jan 14, 2009
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      via The Nation: The Dreyfuss Report by Robert Dreyfuss on 1/14/09

      'This is the second part of a five-part series on Barack Obama's Middle East. Yesterday, Part I covered the so-called War on Terror. Today, in Part II, the subject is Afghanistan and Pakistan. The series will continue all week.'

      During the last three months of 2008, I spent a lot of time interviewing many of Barack Obama's advisers on Afghanistan and Pakistan. To summarize their collective view: the war in Afghanistan cannot be won militarily. Instead, it will require a combination of military power, state building, training of the Afghan National Army, economic support and development aid, regional diplomacy (including Iran, India, and Russia), and negotiations with "reconcilable" elements of the Taliban-led insurgency. But, they argue, it is impossible at present to conduct useful talks with even moderate components of the Taliban, because the Taliban believes that it is winning the war. Thus, Obama's advisers say, a military surge is necessary not to "win" the war in Afghanistan but to stabilize the situation and to convince the Islamist insurgent leaders to come to the bargaining table. (Take a look at my piece in 'The Nation', "Obama's Afghan Dilemma.")

      It is a dangerously flawed strategy. And it is one that could unravel Obama's presidency.

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