National Security Network

Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Pakistan

AfPak Progress and Caution

Report 25 February 2010
Pakistan's unprecedented effort against Afghan Taliban within its borders comes following a year of Obama administration engagement.  This comprehensive approach -on counterterrorism but also Pakistan's development, defense and diplomatic priorities -has built greater cooperation between the two countries, particularly on regional counterterrorism issues.  However, caution is warranted:  Pakistan's interests will not always align with those of the U.S., and the Administration should not repeat its predecessor's failure by simply assuming a "friendly" Pakistani government will pursue U.S. interests.
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Obama’s Counterterrorism Successes Fly in the Face of Conservative Criticism

Report 19 February 2010
This week has seen a wave of successes for the Obama administration and our allies against extremists abroad.  The capture of senior Taliban leadership this week has demonstrated that Obama administration is taking the fight to the extremists, with concrete results.  Despite these successes conservatives see terrorism and national security as a political opportunity not a strategy to keep America safe.
More »
Diplomacy

A 21st Century Approach to Foreign Policy

Report 28 January 2010

With renewed focus on the nation's economic agenda, many commentators have concluded that last night's State of the Union signaled a downplaying of national security.  But the speech , as well as the actions of his administration, underscore the point that affairs abroad are intertwined with the issues confronting Americans at home. In sum, the President's words were an affirmation of his administration's strategy for the 21st century, one that brings together both foreign and domestic instruments to project American power.

More »
Terrorism & National Security

Concrete Progress on America’s Core Security Priorities

Report 25 January 2010
2009 began with wars in strategic drift in Iraq and Afghanistan and a counterterrorism strategy badly in need of an overhaul.
More »
Afghanistan

Conservatives’ Surging Politicization on Afghanistan and Pakistan

Report 3 December 2009
Yesterday, the Obama administration took its strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to Congress. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen began the task of explaining the Administration’s strategy to America’s elected officials. For the sake of the strategy’s integrity, and in order to make certain that the Administration remains focused on its core objectives, it is vital that Congress ask the tough questions, and maintain vigilant oversight.
More »
Afghanistan

Not Troops, but a Strategy

Report 1 December 2009
After months of deliberations, the President has reportedly issued the orders that will deploy 34,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the course of the next year. But, as progressives have been arguing for months, and top Administration officials have recognized, no strategy for Afghanistan will succeed with a focus on troop numbers alone. The Administration must back these deployments with a strategy that lays out clear objectives in accordance with U.S. interests, spelling out the essential duties of U.S. military and civilian personnel, and how those duties fit within the broader effort to secure the main U.S. strategic objectives.
More »
Afghanistan

Memo to the Community: The President’s Afghanistan and Pakistan Strategy: Setting the Strategic Parameters

Report 30 November 2009
Tuesday night, President Obama will lay out his Administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Media attention continues to focus on troop numbers and tactical debate over elements of counter-insurgency strategy. The president’s political opponents, meanwhile, will seek to portray the strategy as dead on arrival if it does not mention “victory” enough times or if it sets out benchmarks toward an eventual end state to American involvement
More »
Afghanistan

Getting the Afghanistan Strategy Right In the Face of Continual Far Right Bombast

Report 20 November 2009
In a surprise visit to Kabul this week, Secretary of State Clinton attended Hamid Karzai’s Presidential inauguration. During the visit, she urged the Afghan government to both reform itself and to stamp out corruption. In particular, she stressed that Karzai had a limited window to “make a new compact with the people of Afghanistan.” Clinton’s message underscored a basic point that progressives have been making for months – that without a political and diplomatic strategy that urges Afghans to step up, no plan for Afghanistan can succeed.
More »
Afghanistan

While Afghanistan’s Political Situation Remains Uncertain, Conservatives Maintain Their Failed Approach

Report 2 November 2009
The decision by Abdullah Abdullah to drop out of Afghanistan’s run-off election has finally created a level of clarity on who will lead the beleaguered nation. Yet despite the return of Hamid Karzai as President, the political situation remains far from either clear or conducive to short-term stability. This latest development is far from ideal, especially as it is taking place while we recalibrate our Afghanistan strategy. As President Obama continues to develop a strategy for Afghanistan, this latest development is yet another indication that the most essential ingredient for fostering stability there — the political environment — remains unstable and a major impediment to progress. As one top Afghanistan observer said, the Afghan political situation is now a “fiasco.” This means that while a central tenet of a successful counter-insurgency strategy is the inclusion of a viable political partner, it is essential that President Obama’s strategic review adequately reflect the now evident political chaos enveloping Afghanistan. It also underlines the primacy of the political over the military, both on the ground in Afghanistan and in Washington’s strategic planning.
More »