George Will: Afghanistan & American Engagement

I’ve been a fan of George Will for decades, even if he’s the consummate Washington insider deftly brilliant even when pronouncements are given absent any experience or executive command.  Those with both qualities have his ear; being well read with an intellectual disposition can fortify against on over weaned regard for one’s columns.

Will’s command of Afghanistan is particularly engaging.  Anyone who lives within earshot of Ann Marlowe’s informing command of both Afghan history and our engagement within this intractable region is bound to get a viable view of our prospects long term.

Will has the ear of both General Stanley McChrystal, General David Petraeus and Chairman of the  Joint Chief’s of Staff Michael Mullen.  The latest intelligence regarding our grasp of Kandahar is bleak.  Gen. McChrystal is aware of how domestic politics can hinder counterinsurgency efforts abroad, this is Afghanistan’s second largest city and how we demonstrate our political and military prowess in our engagement over Kandahar will reverberate throughout this region, even informing our status throughout Central Asia and Iran.  Will repeats the mantra given him from McChrystal:  ‘its more important that we get it right than we get it fast.’  This is ominous when we consider how the Obama administration has engaged the military regarding our objectives over the writ of the Pax Americana across this region.

Obama’s mantra to McChrystal remained:  ‘do not occupy what you cannot transfer.’  Has the current administration informed itself concerning the status of Afghan politics?  Our engagement across this region is one of child rearing.  We cannot transfer what cannot be kept!  Keep in mind that Obama informed the Joint Chief’s that he wanted out of Afghanistan in eighteen months.  Are these the policies of an executive who sees clearly regarding vision, patience and the fortitude of a Superpower?  Does this administration have a clear grasp of its policy implications regarding American enemies?

Obama has counted on his 2011 re-election being smoothed by three developments:  health care, job creation and improving political conditions in Afghanistan.  Absolutely none of these objectives are currently being made.

Do we have an executive with enough self possession and fortitude to turn American fortune around?  Or are we witnessing the second term of Jimmy Carter?

About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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