If you missed them this past weekend, the New York Times and the Washington Post had “tick-tocks” and behind-the-scenes details on President Obama’s decision on increasing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“The three-month review that led to the escalate-then-exit strategy is a case study in decision making in the Obama White House — intense, methodical, rigorous, earnest and at times deeply frustrating for nearly all involved. It was a virtual seminar in Afghanistan and Pakistan, led by a president described by one participant as something ‘between a college professor and a gentle cross-examiner,’ writes Peter Baker of the New York Times.
“As described in interviews by more than a dozen senior administration and military officials who took part in the strategy review, the final number of 30,000 more American troops and the timing of their deployment were among the last policy elements to be finalized,” report Anne E. Kornblut, Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post.
Over at Politico, Mike Allen and Alexander Burns provide some analysis of the Times' and Post’s reports – as well as a Los Angeles Times piece on Friday - about the deliberations over Afghanistan.
“The White House gets a ‘mission accomplished’ grade for all three stories, each of which amplifies the West Wing’s desired storyline: A smart, probing president cuts through the fog of competing visions to come up with his own unique version of a surge - the in-and-out version that he announced at West Point on Tuesday night,” they write.
Fareed Zakaria, in a Newsweek piece, writes that Obama’s decision provides a window into his perspective on American foreign policy.
“It is now clear that Obama is attempting something quite ambitious—to reorient American foreign policy toward something less extravagant and adversarial,” Zakaria writes. “That begins with narrowing the war on terror; scaling back the conflict with the Islamic world to those groups and countries that pose serious, direct threats to America; and reaching out to the rest.”
Some other perspectives and analysis:
- Bruce Riedel (Brookings Institution): “President Obama’s Afghan gamble”
- Fred Hiatt (Washington Post, registration required): “In Afghan troop surge, shades of Iraq”
- Center for New American Security: "Afghanistan strategy on stage: Five key questions for the administration"
- Claude Salhani (Washington Times): "Why Obama may fail in Afghanistan"
- Marc Ambinder (Atlantic Monthly): "The Sunday shows in five bullet points: AfPak special"