Posted by: Christian | July 8, 2007

An American Democrat President and Afghanistan

July 8, 2007.

Although the Republican and Democrat candidates’ debates have been dominated by Iraq, there was some mention of Afghanistan in the Democrats’ debate. Basically, the serious Democrat candidates have been framing Afghanistan as the “good war” and Iraq as the place America should leave ASAP. Now, assuming all the candidates on each side will keep their campaign promises [pause for laughter], this means that a Republican president will keep the troops in Iraq and a Democrat will shift the focus to Afghanistan.

Pic: Afghanistan’s New Friends?

clinton obama

However, the elections are a long way away and things could change drastically. Perhaps by late 2008 the Republicans will also be advertising a pull-out from Iraq. But looking at just a Democrat president, what could he or she do for Afghanistan in the way of troop level increases? I see one great potential limitation to a troop level boost in Afghanistan. And that is the need to keep troops in the Persian Gulf area. Withdrawing from Iraq does not exactly mean withdrawing from the region. There will likely be the issue of refugee outflows, an aggressive and confident Iran, Turkey wishing to go after the PKK in northern Iraq, the safety of Kuwait, and the stability of places like Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia. A Democrat will likely see enduring energy concerns, regional stability issues and a refugee problem.

I would like to think that more help in the form of more troops is on the way for Afghanistan. However, any president, Democrat or Republican, will still face numerous limitations.


  1. […] Sunday, our favorite Afghanistan related blog, Afghanistanica, sounded an cautiously optimistic note for a post-Iraq Afghanistan policy from the Democratic […]


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