President Obama is reportedly pretty cranky about his senior commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, getting a little far forward in his stirrups last week at a London conference, where the general said:
I absolutely believe that al-Qaeda and the threat of al-Qaeda and Taliban senior leadership are critical to stability in the region. . . . But I also believe that a strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a shortsighted strategy.
We can infer the president may not see things exactly as the general does — and these sorts of public differences aren’t a good sign of things to come.
Tensions between our operational commander and the White House could mean the general won’t get the troops and resources he’s asking for to bring home a winner.
In other words, instead of the heavier McChrystal plan or the lighter Biden plan, we’ll get “McChrystal Light” — essentially sawing the war baby in half.
In other words, Obama may commit some more U.S. troops, but not the 40,000 the general is requesting.
In this manner, Obama will show the military commanders who’s boss, he’ll look somewhat hawkish to those who think he’s weak on national security, while looking like he’s got a foot out the door with his increasingly unhappy base.
Of course, this halfway approach will likely only get us half a victory — or, basically, a tie — over the likes of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorists.
Tie goes to the home team, right?
Unfortunately, this strategy will also mean greater instability in South Asia, including a nuclear-armed Pakistan, growing Taliban influence in Central Asia, more terror trouble for India — and, of course, an increased threat to the homeland and our interests overseas.
Of course, maybe all of this would all make sense if the president actually visited Afghanistan — something he hasn’t done since becoming commander in chief.
— Peter Brookes, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow, is a former CIA officer.