December 3rd, 2009
01:41 PM ET

Around the Web: Reaction to Obama’s speech, take two

A round-up of news and commentaries from CNN as well as other media and Web sites.

When President Obama announced plans Tuesday to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, it appeared to be a major escalation of the war in that country.

But, foreign affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria says that the United States may in fact be "scaling down" the goals of the military operation.

In an interview with CNN, Zakaria gave the new plan a good chance of succeeding in achieving its more limited objectives.

“I think a surge like this can work in the tactical sense of giving us an upper hand, of putting the Taliban on the defense. But ultimately it's not going to turn Afghanistan into France,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fawaz A. Gerges - a professor of Middle Eastern politics and international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, London University – took issue with Obama’s goal of beginning to withdraw U.S. troops in 2011.  

“If Obama thinks he will be able to transfer security to an Afghan central authority in two years, he will be in for a rude awakening. That tall order requires more than a decade of nation- and institution-building,” he writes.

Thomas Ricks, the author of two books on the Iraq war and a veteran military affairs reporter, has reaction from U.S. Gen. David Petraeus to the president’s speech at his blog at Foreign Policy magazine.

“I agree with General McChrystal that the situation in Afghanistan is "serious," but the mission is "doable." Needless to say, the tasks there are and will remain exceedingly challenging, complex, frustrating, and downright difficult,” he said.

And, finally, over the Council on Foreign Relations, five experts assess the president’s new Afghanistan strategy.

“Mr. Obama is working to persuade the American people that our interests in Afghanistan are worth sacrificing for, while he places a ceiling on what the United States is prepared to do and for how long,” writes Richard N. Hass, the president of CFR. “Therein lies the dilemma, and like all dilemmas, it can only be managed, not resolved.”

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