The Obama administration continues to get played in crucial national security negotiations by Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai.
The accidental killing last week of a 2-year old civilian in a U.S. airstrike, which Karzai condemned, has given the Afghan leader even more leverage in his negotiations over U.S. troop withdrawals.
The U.S. wants to be able to keep up to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after its withdrawal at the end of 2014, but Karzai is stalling on the negotiations. Though senior elders want Karzai to sign the security agreement, Karzai does not appear prepared to accept the U.S. terms, and the Obama administration is “losing confidence” in him. Susan Rice talked to him last Monday in Kabul, but Karzai didn’t budge.
Without a deal, the Obama administration will withdraw completely at the end of 2014 the way it did previously in Iraq — a move that has been blamed for recent violence in the country.
Regardless of how you feel about continued intervention in Afghanistan, it shouldn’t make anyone feel good to see Karzai running the table on Obama. It’s not like this guy is the Ayatollah here. He only came to power when President George W. Bush removed the Taliban. Vice President Dick Cheney defended him from corruption accusations by saying, “In my eye, Karzai was a guy who was there when we needed him.”
The crisis with Karzai is another in a series of instances in which Obama has been played by world leaders. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood got the Obama endorsement and now its leader is on trial at the Hague. Bashar al-Assad was in Obama’s sights for a while but made it out with his moustache unharmed. And, most recently, the Iranian government cut a deal that allows it to continue enriching uranium, and in return the U.S. loosened $8 billion worth of sanctions.
Who’s going to be the next guy to push Obama around? Moe Green? Does Obama think he can come to Moe’s casino and buy him out?