Published October 15, 2015 by the Washington Post
One option was unmentioned in the Oct. 13 front-page article “Afghan decision tests Obama,” about President Obama’s fading chance to bring the troops home. The president could use his available powers to demand a multipronged effort at ending ethnic and geographic partitions in the region. In Afghanistan, it’s still the Pashtun south and east vs. the Northern Alliance. In Iraq, it’s still the Shiites of the south against the Sunnis in the north and west. In Syria, it is the northeastern Alawites (Shiite) against the Sunni majority across the south.
Mr. Obama may be adopting the Nixon-Kissinger strategy of a “decent interval” between the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the final collapse of the Saigon regime. The Taliban is expanding its power base. The Islamic State has captured Sunni rage. The government in Kabul is a hapless Humpty Dumpty.
The article warned that Mr. Obama has “provoked nearly universal alarm” in the foreign policy establishment. But those are the people David Halberstam made infamous as “the best and the brightest.” They lost the Vietnam and Iraq wars.
Tom Hayden, Los Angeles, CA