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Um, guys…Afghanistan?

Posted by The Agonist on August 13th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Dexter Filkins:

How’s this for a conspiracy of silence? With less than three months to go until Election Day, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have successfully avoided saying almost anything about America’s war in Afghanistan. Remember that war? You will at some point, however little the two candidates talk about it.

You can make your own guesses about why the candidates have said so little about Afghanistan—their positions are virtually identical, the economy is more important, etc. My own guess: neither of them knows what to do about the place. In a mere twenty-eight months, the United States is scheduled to stop fighting, and every day brings new evidence that the Afghan state that is supposed to take over is a failing, decrepit enterprise.

…Why does all this matter to American voters? Look at this way: after eleven years, more than four-hundred billion dollars spent and two thousand Americans dead, this is what we’ve built: a deeply dysfunctional, predatory Afghan state that seems incapable of standing on its own—even when we’re there. What happens when we’re not? You can bet that, whoever the President is, he’ll be talking about it then.

Ryan has, if it were possible, even less foreign policy experience than Romney. I personally don’t much approve of Obama’s hawkish track record but it seems to play well with the majority of the US electorate, still it seems certain that the Rolls-Royce Ticket’s views would be significantly more hawkish – to the point of obvious absurdity and probable gaffes. I wonder if the Obama camp will now be considering entering foreign policy into the debate? If not, it’ll be the first campaign since 9/11 in which a US superpower at war in several nations didn’t at least show some public consideration of what it is doing, how it should go forward in future or even why it is doing what it does.

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