How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless puppet.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has blasted Western governments, which have long supported him, and accused them of interfering in Afghan affairs by pushing hard for reform amidst widespread corruption. Worse, Karzai has threatened to join the Taliban, which he said would then become a legitimate resistance movement if Western meddling in Afghan affairs doesn't stop. Late Tuesday, the White House indicated it, too, could play hardball, saying it might cancel Karzai's trip scheduled for next month, if there are any more anti-Western outbursts.
To paraphrase Lord Alfred Tennyson: ours is not to question why. Ours is but to do for Karzai and die. More than 900 American deaths and more than 5,300 wounded (as of last week) buys the United States and other nations that have contributed treasure and lives to eradicating Afghanistan of the Taliban the right to have some say in the way Karzai runs his government.
Does Karzai mean it when he threatens to cross over to the other side, or is he bluffing, hedging his bets in the wake of President Obama's pledge to begin withdrawing U.S. troops next year? Only he knows for sure, but with the intrigues common in that region of the world, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him switch sides if it suits his interests and those of his brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, who allegedly maintains links with drug dealers and insurgents in southern Afghanistan. President Karzai recently met with Iran's apocalyptic madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What do those two have in common? We can only tremble at the prospect of "more than it appears."
The Obama administration has brought some of Karzai's erratic behavior on itself. When Obama was on his way for a surprise visit to Afghanistan, he reportedly criticized the Afghan president and bragged that he would read Karzai the riot act. Worse, his remarks were leaked to the media, which reportedly infuriated Karzai and resulted in the threat to join the Taliban.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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