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Under His Thumb

Jean MacKenzie traces Karzai's rise and fall from grace. On the present moment:

“Karzai knows very well that the United States is not going to pull out its troops,” said Afghan political analyst Waheed Mojda. “He does not have to comply with their demands; there is nothing they can do. They are in Afghanistan for their own strategic interests, not for him.”

Those strategic interests are coming under increasing scrutiny, but the administration, and numerous commentators, are bending over backwards to make the case for the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. They conflate the Taliban with Al Qaeda and argue confidently that a loss in Afghanistan could trigger a regional collapse. Those who remember Vietnam and the Cold War experience a shudder of recognition. “It’s called ‘the domino theory,’” said one expert on Pakistan, speaking privately.