Talking To The Taliban


As the two counter-insurgencies face new impasses, grown-ups in the Pentagon realize we may soon have no choice but to cut a deal with the Taliban if we are not to go the way of the Soviets and Brits in Afghanistan:

The Afghan adventure is expensive, onerous, and unpopular, and most of the 40 or so countries participating in the International Security Assistance Force and the host of NGOs trying to better the lives of the downtrodden Afghani people would like to see a new policyone that separates the existential goal of crushing al Qaeda from the strictly local issue of what political grouping gets to run the failed state of Afghanistan, and tries to slice and dice and co-opt the insurgency instead of pursuing the impossible goal of crushing the Taliban's entrenched power in Afghanistan's mountains and countryside.

One reader asked me to predict on what issue I would most likely part with a possible future president Obama. I suspect it will be on Afghanistan and Iraq, where I'm more and more convinced that withdrawal is as essential as it is urgent. Yes: I may well end up on Obama's non-interventionist "right/left" flank.

(Photo: John Moore/AFP/Getty.)