Kerry on Afghanistan
In a long, meandering, painfully convoluted speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, labors his way through his thoughts on what to do about Afghanistan. I labored my way through about two thirds of his thoughts before I went under for the third time (do you earn a Bronze Star of Blogging for reading a five thousand word speech by John Kerry?). Never have the words “but” and “if” been used more frequently in a speech. Every idea Kerry advances, he immediately counters and undercuts with the opposite idea. Every one of his positive proposals, which mainly have to do with empowering the Afghans to take care of their own security, and which are aimed at a hoped-for result (namely competent Afghan self-defense) that Kerry says must happen if overall disaster is to be avoided, are based on hoped-for conditions that he elsewhere indicates are unlikely to obtain. The complexity and difficulty of the matters Kerry is discussing, combined with the absence of any coherent and sustainable proposed strategy, though he spells out his proposed strategy at some length, make a reading of the speech a strange and unsettling experience.
Bottom line? It would appear that the Obama team intend to keep the balls up in the air as long as they can, not aiming at any achievable definite result, but trying to stave off worse outcomes that they don’t want to face.