As worrisome is the situation in Afghanistan. The United States has 66,000 troops in country or on the way, as our NATO allies look for the exit ramp. We are seven and a half years in and the Afghan army is not remotely capable of defending the nation or regime.
Afghanistan is now Obama's war. He made the decision to deepen U.S. involvement as we headed out of Iraq. Yet, it is unclear how many U.S. troops will be needed, for how long, to create a stable government and army that can secure the national territory and prevent a return of Al Qaeda.
Moreover, Kabul continues to protest U.S. air strikes that continue to kill civilians, as Pakistan protests the Marine offensive in Helmand that is driving the Taliban into Baluchistan, where a secessionist movement is developing.
Pakistan also seems more worried about shifting its army away from the border with India than about defeating an Afghan Taliban with whom it had a working relationship before 9/11.
We are thus today pushing the Afghan regime to do what it is not capable of doing, and the Pakistani government and army into doing what it would prefer not to do. This does not appear a formula for victory.
Also looming is the issue of Iran's nuclear program.
Obama has moved up from December to September the deadline for serious discussions to begun. If they have not begun by October, will Obama go to the U.N. for sanctions? If the Russians and Chinese object, will Obama and NATO impose sanctions of their own? Will Obama step on an escalator leading inexorably to war? Or authorize Israel to launch an attack?
Does Obama have the authority to take us to war against a nation that has not attacked us? If so, where did he get this authority? While Congress would readily agree to sanctions, would it sign off on yet another war?
From North Korea to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Honduras, and from the economy to health care to carbon emissions, things are not going Obama's way. He is 10 points below where Nixon was after a full year, and on economic issues -- unemployment, the deficit, spending -- he is under 50 percent.
This presidency is not yet in trouble. But it is sure headed that way.
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