President Barack Obama's expected decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan one year earlier than planned is "misguided" and evidence of Obama's "surrender in the war against terrorism" in the country, according to former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
Writing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
, Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says Obama's inclination toward an accelerated withdrawal is likely due to his deteriorating relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzi and his wish to "score domestic political points" with Americans who are weary of the conflict.
"Barack Obama's latest act of surrender in the war against terrorism comes in Afghanistan. Administration sources are leaking that Obama is considering withdrawing all American troops before Dec. 31, 2013, one year early, without leaving even a small, residual force in the country," writes Bolton.
"Such a decision would simply accelerate an already badly misguided policy. Faster draw-downs in Afghanistan are bad enough but even worse is Obama's inability or unwillingness to see the inevitably broader adverse consequences."
Bolton contends the Obama administration has failed to make a convincing case to the American people for its Afghan policy, while congressional Republicans have not done enough to point out the flaws in Obama's national security strategy or explain the significance of the conflict in the context of the global war on terrorism.
"The failure is not with the American people for not grasping the strategic significance of defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida in their bastions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border but the failure of elected officials in Washington," he writes.
Bolton says that an early American and NATO withdrawal will likely cause the collapse of Karzi's democratically elected government, allowing the Taliban to re-establish control and creating a new base for international terrorism, posing a direct threat to Americans.
Bolton concludes by saying that if political leaders fail to explain to the American people why U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is central to the war against terrorism, "We will learn the lesson only when the terrorists attack us again, perhaps this time with nuclear weapons."
"We can avoid this outcome but it requires leadership plainly missing from Barack Obama. The question is whether Republicans have the capacity and the will to fill in the void Obama has left," Bolton said.
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