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Nation Building

(…) Our national security interest in destroying Taliban and al Qaeda exists whether Afghans are doing well or poorly economically or whether Afghan elections become more corrupt or less corrupt. These characteristics relate to military activity, but are neither prerequisites for troop increases nor the inevitable outcome of successful military operations. “Nation building” deserves our endorsement but cannot be the measure of our success, since it rests fundamentally with Afghans, not Americans. We are not in Afghanistan to spruce up its quality of life, but to protect America. Otherwise, we have no point being there. This the hard truth: neither nation building nor military action guarantees forever against Taliban’s return; there is only continuing struggle, which at the moment America and NATO are not winning in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. We need urgently to grind Taliban and al Qaeda between two military millstones: NATO in Afghanistan and stepped-up Pakistani military operations on their side of the border. That requires substantial U.S. (and European) troop increases, and soon. If Afghanistan thereby “nation builds” into a more pleasant country, so much the better, but Afghan wholesomeness is irrelevant to the strategic judgment President Obama is long overdue in making.

John R. Bolton, (in italiano) su Liberal di domani