Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States will result in the withdrawal of all American troops from the region by the end of next year, former Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Sunday.
"His refusal to sign it at this point, I think, is reckless," Donilon said on ABC's "This Week." "If the United States doesn't have a bilateral security arrangement with Afghanistan that supports its troop presence there and provides the kind of guidance and protections that we need, the United States cannot be present in Afghanistan after Dec. 31, 2014."
The so-called a "zero-option" plan, while necessitated by Karzai's lack of support, could unravel the military developments made during the 12-year war, Donilon said.
"We think that, at the end of the day, it would be better to have continued support for the Afghan national forces and have a small kind of terrorism presence in Afghanistan," he said.
When asked to discuss China's decision last week to demarcate a no-fly zone across a portion of the East China Sea, Donilon said the move has increased political and military tensions with a country that has the fastest-growing economy in the world.
"Asia is a principle opportunity for the United States and the world going forward," he said, adding China has been able to prosper because of the "security platform" the United States has provided the region for six decades.
Donilon suggested beefing up that security platform.
"It's a critical role for the United States, and it's one that we should play going forward," he said.
Donilon praised President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for reaching a deal with Iran on the nuclear-enrichment program, calling it a "very good foundation" and a "very solid achievement" that lays the base for further negotiations.
"How did we get here with respect to Iran?" he said. "We got here through a U.S.-led, very tough isolation and pressure campaign."
Donilon said the centerpiece of that campaign were the sanctions.
The sanctions — the most stringent ever put on a country, Donilon said — are the reason the Iranians agreed to the nonproliferation pact.
"There's a direct line here between the sanctions, [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani's election and their coming to the table," Donilon said. "Why? Because we've put tremendous pressure on the Iranian economy. We've also isolated the Iranians politically. The test now is whether or not the Iranians can do the things they need to do to assure the United States and the national community they don’t have a dangerous program."
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