The breaking news is that President Obama has pulled a very volatile meeting of the G-8 out of Chicago and relocated the event in the relative safety and secrecy of Camp David.
The NATO summit still is going forward, for now, in Chicago in late May, where thousands of protesters will assemble demanding the end of the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and possibly Iran. The summit represents an unnecessary show of NATO resolve at a time when the alliance, collapsing in Afghanistan, is on the verge of rushing to the exits. Obama has an opportunity to announce an accelerated withdrawal of US-NATO forces, an end to the drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal regions, and a political-diplomatic settlement involving a consortium of powers with stakes in the region, Pakistan, China, India, Iran, Russia and Turkey.
Like Iraq before it, Afghanistan’s government is stubbornly insisting on sovereignty from an American government almost entirely responsible for its security and finances. Some US officials, not including Obama, are attached to the desire for American bases, advisers and special forces in Afghanistan after the US combat role ends in 2014.
NATO has a difficult choice between permanent US and Western occupation of a collapsing Afghanistan or a responsible transition to new security, power-sharing and humanitarian arrangements in an Afghanistan partitioned into enclaves under the auspices of international caretaker.
The whole world will be watching.