Posted by: Christian | May 5, 2009

Karzai the Comeback Kid

Say what you will about Karzai as a leader. But as a politician, I agree with what Jon Boone reports his local critics concede: he is a “brilliant politician.” I generally concur with Boone’s analysis in this 3.5 minute interview (including on soon-to-be VP again Fahim):

Jon Boone MP3 from Kabul

Really, listen to it. It is three-and-a-half minutes that is well spent.

Back to my opinion: despite not using dictator-style threat of death, without control over media, with powerful regional rivals (especially at the beginning), with relatively minimal patronage to distribute, with an extremely weak starting position (i.e., the “Mayor of Kabul”), with foreign diplomats pressuring him to act in a way that may alienate certain constituencies, with a war going in the wrong direction, with civilian casualties caused by foreign militaries, with a massive opium trade creating yet another center of power, with a list of speculative candidates just a month ago showing an ostensibly formidable line-up, with Joe Biden earlier this year fed up with him, with numerous other reports recently strongly hinting he was on his way out (or about to be shown the way out), Karzai has apparently come out on top. His potential democratic rivals have either laid down  their shields and swords at his feet or slipped quietly into the night.

Like him or not, he has survived and managed to stay on top. Now about that war….

Update: WaPo article on Karzai-US relations.


  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 05/06/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. […] would appear that President Karzai has quietly built a capable collation during these last 100 days despite snubs from both VP Biden and President Obama. It was rumored that Speaker of the House Pelosi commissioned a hand crafted Haitian-American Karzai […]


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