Posted on 30-03-2010
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

Its been a while since I picked on our old friend Hamid Karzai.  Like the itch you cannot scratch he is impossible to forget.  See link.  Ticked off at the brazen packing of the Afghan election commission (which unearthed his election fraud) with cronies the Obama administration sent him a message by withdrawing his invitation to visit Washington.  Since then the mayor of Kabul has been sulking in his palace, garbing himself in the cloak of Afghan nationalism and irritating Washington by flattering the electoral thief on his western border.  Its hard to see what Karzai’s strategy is.  He has no base and no army loyal exclusively to him.  He remains propped up by the dual support of Washington and his warlord cronies.  Washington’s patience has run out.  The fate of Mohammad Najibullah should warn him of the perils of relying on mercurial warlords.

What he needs more than ever is to midwife a resolution of the Afghan civil war before the Americans leave and then pray that Pakistan’s usual games in Afghanistan do not cause his regime to crumble.  It will require diplomatic tact and statesmanship that has not yet been on display.  But instead Karzai fiddles in the Afghan ruins, watches Pakistan force itself into the Afghan negotiating table and irritates the only people who can keep him in power.  Joe Biden once proposed partitioning Iraq.  That may be in Iraq’s future.  It is a pity he did not propose something similar for the basket case buffer that is the legacy of the Great Game.

Emir Sher Ali with his friends

Political cartoon depicting the Afghan Emir Sher Ali with his "friends" the Russian Bear & British Lion (1878).

The cartoon from 1878 above seems oddly prescient.  Just the participants have changed.

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