Bing West, an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, has reported on the Afghan war since 2001.
“Karzai should be treated as a symbolic president and given the organizational â€œmushroom treatmentâ€ â€” that is, we should shut off the flows of information and resources directly to the national government.
President Ronald Reagan did something similar with another erratic ally, President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. In February 1986, Reagan warned Marcos that if government troops attacked opposition forces holed up on the outskirts of Manila, it would cause â€œuntold damageâ€ to his relations with the United States â€” meaning the aid spigot would be turned off. When his countrymen saw that he was stripped of prestige and support, they forced Marcos into exile.
Second, the coalition must insist that the Afghan military play a primary role in the governance of the districts and provinces, including in the allocation of aid and the supervision of the police. We should work directly with those local and provincial leaders who will act responsibly, and cut off those who are puppets of Kabul.
This is happening, to some extent, in Helmand Province, site of the Marja battle, where the coalition has independent control over $500 million in reconstruction aid and salaries. We have been fortunate that the provincial governor, Gulab Mangal, while a Karzai appointee, has proved an innovative partner. But in any case, we know that coalition aid need not flow through Kabul."
2010-04-07 14:58:14 UTC