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Is a Negotiated Solution in Afghanistan Possible?

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  • Is a Negotiated Solution in Afghanistan Possible?

    Although there is talk of Karzai trying to open back-door negotiations with the Taliban using Pakistani military intelligence as a go-between, it is not clear that he can pull off any sort of settlement, and it won’t be clear for some time. In fact we may never know whether it was possible in a strict sense – just because someone fails in an attempt does not mean they could not have succeeded had they tried a different t approach.

    Here is a link to a New York Times article with a solid take on Pakistan’s position in all this – what they want and what role they feel they can play.

    Here is a link to a Washington Post article which gives a good sense of who the players in a possible negotiated settlement might be and what the obstacles to such a deal are.

    I found it particularly notable that the author, Daniel Serwer, makes a point about the President’s recent West Point graduation speech. He notes that the president clearly articulated out desired end-state for Iraq — “an Iraq that provides no safe haven to terrorists; a democratic Iraq that is sovereign, stable and self-reliant.” He made no similar statement concerning the desired end-state in Afghanistan. No reasonable settlement of the Afghanistan conflict is possible without such a goal clearly in mind. As I have observed on more than one occasion, it is hard to end a trip when you don’t know the destination.


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  • #2
    Anything is 'possible'.

    I think we would be happier with the resulting peace, if we killed everything inside the borders. But I don't see anyone 'liking' that solution either.

    The question is, why did we go?, did we get what we wanted?, if not is it likely we ever will?

    If we have done what we planned to do, why are we still there?
    If we can't see a day when we will get what we wanted, why are we insisting on continuing to try?
    Life is change. Built models for decades.
    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
    I didn't for a long time either.


    • #3
      If you can't win it on the battlefield you will not win it at the negotiating table. Especially when trying to negotiate with people who have no common point of reference with us in terms of ethics, morality, values, or beliefs.

      These people are not going to stop unless they feel beaten down to the point of exhaustion and the willingness of others to join up is stunted by the apparent futility of it. At which point, if we achieve this, we will not need to negotiate.

      If we negotiate now with these people all we will get is a repeat of 1973. "A Decent interval" in which to lose and pretend that we won. The difference here, however, is that this enemy isn't just trying to take over a remote ally of ours, after which they will be happy. This enemy wants to keep hurting us and will continue to plot, plan, and execute attacks on us if they have the opportunity.