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« Tom's discussions with Hugh Hewitt | Main | A point of collaboration with Iran? »
1:41AM

Afghanistan solution: coalition government

ARTICLE: Afghan Leader Said to Accept Runoff After Election Audit, By SABRINA TAVERNISE and HELENE COOPER, New York Times, October 19, 2009

I believe in the notion of a coalition government in lieu of a runoff election. Karzai is all but a figurehead as it is, so make Abdullah the working leader and move forward. Recalling my Esquire column on the election, prior to the vote the U.S. was floating the idea of having the third candidate, Ghani, step in afterward as a sort of COO to Karzai's president. This strikes me as a similar compromise with the candidate (Abdullah) who scored the substantial second-place vote.

And that beats some election that doesn't yield a gov until after the new year.

I hear the date of 7 Nov for the new vote, but it's likely to yield a muddled result, with Karzai coming down and Abdullah coming up, but with no clear winner and no vote count that anyone trusts.

So better to share power, especially since U.S. senators say a settled government is a prerequisite for their support to any Obama decision to increase troop numbers.

(Via WPR Media Roundup)

Reader Comments (6)

As you say, this is about US domestic politics. The election is not a good idea - turnout will be very low, especially among the Pashtun, and we will end up with basically a Northern Alliance government. However, that is what you would get with a coalition government anyway, so given the lingering impact of Powellism and Vietnam syndrome in US politics, the election is probably the only way to go. A real coalition government would have to include at least some elements of the Taliban. My plan: (1) Obama announces a troop increase; (2) Obama convenes a conference of all regional powers; (3) After a few months, the conference proposes a cease fire and negotiations for a coalition government composed of all factions, (a) that are willing to abide by the cease fire, and (b) agree to fight al Qaeda.
October 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstuart abrams
What's the big deal? Hell, we have fraud and bribery in OUR Elections, but most of those (with the possible exception of Cook County, Illinois) are done so smoothly hardly a dead person is detected . . Practice, y'kno . .

As well as . . Karzai was probably elected the first time with just as much vote rigging . . still a better example than many of the Monarchy/Dictatorships we tolerate and do business with everyday . .

And none of this "Democratic Concern' will change the facts that without security an Afghan Economy (and the government it would support) will not be possible . . Karzai or no . .
October 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlarge
I've been looking for some intelligent comments on the craziness of the world right now and I was blown away by your TED presentation. This housewife/nurse/former corporal in the medical corps is going to read your book right away.
October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLoriAngela
I think that it's fairly well established that any population based COIN approach needs the population to have some modicum of faith in the government. Getting that to happen in Afghanistan seems to he the Herculean task of the coming year.

Some form of national unity government seems like a step in the right direction if it can be kept at a level above petty squabbles.

Karzai looks like a man now to accustomed to being in charge to step aside lightly.

Andrew Exum just released an worst, most likely and best case scenario brief through CNAS. Its brief and basic but drives home just how bad it could get if this is not sorted out.

For me the worst case scenario is that Karzai so opposed any change in election results that h we start to get shades of Mugabe> security forces used to back up Karzai, any form of unity government a showcase that has not actual power base and worst of all, a fractured security system that spends more time with in-fighting than it does with the Haqqani network or Quetta Shura Taliban.
October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Sutton
Look at Afghanistan through the lens of the Nexus (Mil-Market):

> without security an Afghan Economy (market) (and the government it would support) will not be possible . .

"any population based COIN approach needs the population to have some modicum of faith (animated by will) in the government (rules).

"Karzai or no" is the trust question. The elitist foundation--operating from the great power position--is that the common man, and woman, cannot look after their own best interest.

"Getting that to happen in Afghanistan seems to he the Herculean task of the coming year."

Just saying...
October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCritt jarvis
Sure is taking a long time to get to the 'Well, Duh' solution. But so did the bible on pragmatic religion.
October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLouis Heberlein

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