I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Et Tu, Barack?

In a blizzard of concerns, mainly domestic -- gun violence, budget problems, drug abuse, public health -- it's easy to forget that the world is bigger than North America. Even as an American Empire is downsizing (as many on the Left hope and others on the Right equate with End Times) the need to fill the diplomatic space left behind slips down the priority scale.

What Obama's Missing in Afghanistan
More than troops, the president needs a strategy in the region--and a diplomat.
As America’s longest war winds down, there is a giant hole in Washington's thinking where a strategy should be. Despite the hopeful talk that came out of his summit in Washington with Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week, President Obama is in danger of losing control of South Central Asia entirely, sacrificing a decade’s worth of blood and treasure as he begins his second term. Most of the focus now is on how rapid the U.S. troop drawdown will be. But the bigger problem for Obama is the absence of a U.S. diplomatic vision for the region—and a diplomat to execute it.
More than 11 years after 9/11, the United States still has no comprehensive approach to the region that yielded up the worst-ever attack on America’s continental soil. Despite Obama’s pledge to remain committed to helping Afghanistan until at least 2024, the administration has failed to conceive of and articulate a strategy that would at once exert intense pressure on Pakistan to cease its policies of granting haven to and support for Taliban-allied insurgents in Afghanistan; shore up the hopes and lives of the many Afghans who still want to rescue their country from the Taliban, and coax India and other surrounding countries with which Washington has relationships into playing more of a supporting role in these efforts.
...Last month marked the two-year anniversary of Richard Holbrooke’s death. His widow, the writer Kati Marton, told me in an interview last year that only months before his death at age 69, Holbrooke had begun to grow confident that he could deliver a strategic vision for the region that would address the fundamental issues in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. "The thing that keeps me awake some nights,” she said, “is that I'm not at all sure he had that conversation with the president."
Yeah. Just what you needed. Something else on your plate.
I guess that's how the boss must feel, too.
Unfortunately, there are still two piles on the desk:
  1. Urgent 
  2. Important 

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