President Obama will announce soon the beginning of US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. This is a crucial turning point for American foreign policy. Many of us are urging the President to make a substantial reduction as part of a coherent transition strategy to enhance security in the region.
Even Henry Kissinger is now discussing the need for military exit. In a June 7 article in the Washington Post , Kissinger outlines a strategy for negotiating the “withdrawal of all or most American and allied forces.” He proposes setting a deadline to reach a “residual force” level within 18 to 24 months. It seems that members of the imperial elite now recognize the need to end the war.
It’s weird to find myself agreeing with Henry the K after all these years. I had the same feeling a few years ago when Kissinger joined George Shultz and other senior statesmen in advocating a world without nuclear weapons. Actually, it’s not that I’m agreeing with him but rather that he is coming around to support positions many of us have advocated.
Kissinger writes that a negotiated agreement in Afghanistan needs an “enforcement mechanism.” I have a related but different idea: the deployment of an interim Muslim-led security force under UN authority. The mission of the proposed force would be to protect civilians and enforce the ceasefire provisions of a negotiated settlement. It would prevent a security vacuum as foreign troops depart and provide political and security assurances within Afghanistan and among neighboring states.
Details about this concept and other elements of a peace strategy for Afghanistan are contained in my new book Ending Obama’s War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan, available from Amazon.
I hope Kissinger gets a copy as well.