by Patrick Appel
Eric Martin hits the nail on the head:
It's not like al-Qaeda is confined to this little sliver of land in South Asia such that, once that narrow stretch of land is magically pacified and completely reordered, al-Qaeda will cease to exist. Thus, as Lynch points out, the game of nation build-a-mole will have to continue in a new setting. And at a couple trillion dollars a pop, we don't have the money. Further, al-Qaeda (and its viral ideology) has penetrated Western Europe and other regions not in need of nation building. So even if at the end of a century and $50 trillion dollars or so, we managed to purge the globe of potential havens, the problem would persist.
Rory Stewart wrote a few weeks ago about how a failed Afghanistan might be less dangerous than a developed one. There are no good choices, only less bad ones.