The US can no longer afford to follow “traditional anti-insurgency tactics” in such a large, ethnically diverse, and “forbidding territory” as Afghanistan, Henry Kissinger writes in the Washington Post. Instead of focusing on a stronger centralized government, he urges a “coherent” strategy that supports “local and regional entities,” prevent the cementing of jihadist territories, and garner support of neighboring countries and Western allies.
Certain tenets of Gen. David Petraeus’ Iraq strategy seem likely to dampen military threats; the US must work closely with local authorities to train their militias. Meanwhile, President Obama should build a reconstruction team from nearby countries and the UN. “Whatever strategy” the administration “selects needs to be pursued with determination,” Kissinger concludes. “It is not possible to hedge against failure by half-hearted execution.”