President Obama could be undermining his own strategy to combat militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, David Cloud writes for Politico. The strategy—increase the number of US troops but also draw greater support from allies—“keeps the US committed but not too committed,” says Cloud, questioning if the “careful middle course” approach is self-defeating given the region’s unique challenges.
Obama’s “clear-eyed” goal is to decimate al-Qaeda, but he won’t be able to do that without also stabilizing Afghanistan. And Pakistan is likely to prioritize its own needs above those of Washington. With critics clamoring for more US troops beyond recent additions, even the White House seems uncertain. “There’s no guarantee,” said one official, “but we think it can be done.”