Ross On Afghanistan: Getting Warmer, Ctd

Millman goes another round:

Apart from the overarching point that our resources, our responsibilities, and our interests are all limited, the key point that Rory Stewart makes in his article that Ross cites as “admirably honest” is that “[t]here are, in reality, no inescapable connections between Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaeda and the Taliban.” If this is true, then if our goal is overwhelmingly to keep al Qaeda from again regaining its prior position in Afghanistan, to say nothing of Pakistan, then we should not assume that defeating the Taliban and/or keeping them out of power should be a primary war aim. Right now, nearly all the discussion about Afghanistan is predicated on the assumption that the American goal is to keep the Taliban out of power. If, instead, the assumption were that the Taliban, in some form, was inevitably going to return to power – not necessarily to exclusive power, of course – then we’d be having a very different conversation.