Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama Fakery on Afghanistan: Both Sides of His Mouth

Karzai's Corruption is a buzzword resounding from the empty cavernous mouth of Bill O'Reilly to the shibboleth-prone Obamaniacs, the ones who still think the Won is wearing clothes---not the Weisberg reincarnation of FDR, but still more than a half-wit artful dodger.

A senior State Dept buddy just got back from Afghanistan on this diplomat's dozenth iteration of that dreary mini-slog---still living in converted aluminum cargo bins with about five US officials crammed into each rabbit warren. This diplomat has been in a position to oversee and monitor the situation in that country for most of the century so far---daily briefs to the Seventh Floor and weekly ones to the WH back in DC and a long sojourn in the region every four months or so since 2002. But this public official has come to the sad conclusion that Kabul is Baghdad all over again. Every US agency and department has its "mission staff" crammed into one or more cargo crates and the lack of oversight or even sustained US policy coherence is simply breathtaking.

So the latest pariah in Afghanistan, and Pakistan for that matter, Richard Holbrooke, has devised a mantra which might keep this careerist's hopes alive for the Chief Foggy Bottom job should Hillary slip or be thrown under a bus, Obama's normal M.O. in reaction to the slightest glitch [just ask Gregory Craig or Susan Rice]. Holbrooke has been insinuating what everyone knows, only with a foghorn -persistance, that the Karzai administration hasn't been lickety-split in cleaning house and had committed election irregularities.

But according to my Foggy Bottom correspondent, Karzai has been doing pretty much his or anyone else's best to clean the Augean stables of the accumulated graft, corruption, peculation, and war-lord kickbackism that has long been the background noise of doing political business in Afghanistan, and especially since Kabul and environs began sliding down the slippery slope into a narco-state export hub in the late sixties. However, after Holbrooke quickly alienated every single sincere or at least dedicated Afghani official with his abrasive nasty stab-in-the-back contortions, he himself decided that some sort of an exit strategy to extract his career from this dreary cul-de-sac of Kabul was in order. Ditto Islamabad and the Paks, who are more corrupt than the Afghanis if that is any solace to a bemused US regional hegemon trying to sort out the baddies from the worsies.

The constantly conniving Holbrooke appears to be positioning himself for a safe exit from his thankless task in S.E. Asia of reconciling three regional players who hate each other cordially. To do this, Dick is quietly whispering innuendoes, quietly sniping and backbiting with the downbeat subtext that Karzai and his sordid political crew might be worse than the Taliban alternative. Although this might be an exaggeration and of course is surely absurd on the face of it, but Holbrooke thereby gives a leit motif to the constantly bobbing and weaving Obama, who has already slithered from "a necessary war" to some sort of multicultural rainbow of contingencies as concerns the Afghan military quandary, and who might want to strap on this parachute should his notorious lack of consistency and will power again assert itself.

The drumbeat of empty chatter about Karzai's "corruption" fits Dear Leader's chameleon-on-plaid moral posturing in the Oval Office as it also does the hidden agenda of his regional Proconsul Holbrooke, whose devious sniping and conniving mirrors that of his boss back in DC, even though it has lost Holbrooke any real access or credibility with the powers that be in the region, including Islamabad and Kabul.

Echo chambers ranging from the NYT's editorial staff to book-hawking t-shirt salesmen like BOR all find the theme of Karzai's Bad Boyz, Bad Boyz in Kabul a useful way to undercut US efforts in the region, and to offer Obama a way out at an early opportunity once resistance to his latest juking and backpedaling becomes apparent. With the Dems as with the Repubs., foreign policy is always style and symbols and a morality play.

Except occasionally with Republicans, even though it may be wrong-headed or need strong corrective measures, the foreign policy effort is sustained for more than twelve months at a time.

Obama's weathervane spins with each new coldfront, and like his predecessor Jimmy Carter, foreign policy is not his strongest suit. Look for more Afghan policy permutations in rapid-fire order, says my Foggy Bottom buddy, in the next year or so.


GW said...

Great post Dave. Been meaning to blog it for the last two days. Done now. So do you think our joker in Chief is starting to make Carter look good?

cdor said...

I came here from GW's blog. Thanks for the tip on Holbrooke. I kinda smelled a fish with this Karzai corruption talk. He never seemed that bad a guy to me (from my position of ignorance thousands of miles away). Holbrooke, oth, is an entirely different story.

Btw, I love cats too. And...I played a round of golf, quite by accident, with Malcolm McDowell about 8 years ago in Ojai California, where he was living at the time. Quite a regular guy, is he.

dave in boca said...

cdor, coincidentally, McDowell in Clockwork Orange had about 5 of my Jungian coincidences that Stanley Kubrick liked to work into his flicks [up to the underwear he(andI!were wearing]. My godfather who hit 11 holes in one lived in Ojai & I met Malcolm on St. Anndre des Arts in Paris on a busy street.

I had lunch twice with Holbrooke in Lyoin while an FSO when Peter Tarnoff was Consul General there & I was V.C. He was moving out of his second marriage and into the sack with Diane Sawyer, who begins next month as ABC News Evening Anchor. She should be getting good skinny straight from Dicky-boy even half a world away...!