Commentary Magazine


Contentions

New Appointees Will Improve U.S. Civil-Military Relations

My heart goes out to Ryan Crocker and John Allen, who have just assumed command of the American war effort in Afghanistan–Crocker as ambassador, Allen as the U.S./NATO commander. They are taking over in the height of the summer fighting season while the Taliban are carrying out an aggressive campaign of terrorism–symbolized by the murder of Ahmed Wali Karzai, the political boss of southern Afghanistan. At the same time, allied will to win is rapidly crumbling–symbolized by President Obama’s decision to launch a premature and ill-advised pullout of all 30,000 surge troops by September 2012. Meanwhile, Pakistan shows no sign of reducing its support for the Taliban and the Haqqani Network; if anything the Pakistanis are further cutting their already tenuous ties with the U.S.

Under those conditions, trying to extract an acceptable outcome from Afghanistan will require a superhuman combination of determination and skill. Luckily, Crocker and Allen are two of the best in the business. If anyone can handle these challenging conditions, they can.

As a first order of business, they will have to improve civil-military relations on the American side, which have been strained for years. The situation got especially bad when Ambassador Karl Eikenberry was openly feuding with General Stanley McChrystal, but it has hardly been perfect since. I have no doubt Crocker and Allen will try to recreate the close relationship that existed in Iraq between Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus–and I fully expect they will succeed. That alone will bring an increase in effectiveness. That’s not enough to offset the potentially ruinous troop pullouts ordered by Obama, but it’s something.

 


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.