Friday, October 25, 2013

Common cause between America, Afghanistan --- For Afghanistan, the United States is the key enabler of its lifeline to the outside world. The U.S.-led effort has helped galvanize a presence of some 50 nations in the international coalition and set the conditions for related development activities. Never before has a superpower worked so hard to help Afghans gain sovereign control of their country, and the United States has asked for little in return beyond an enduring relationship. Washington learned from its mistake in 1989, when the Soviets were defeated and America went home. It has persevered, spending $700 billion, losing more than 2,000 American lives and suffering more than 10,000 seriously injured. --- It does not matter whether the United States and Afghanistan codify this shared history in a formal treaty. Indeed, the existing Strategic Partnership Agreement provides a solid and equitable framework to guide future relations. Several close U.S. security partnerships are with non-treaty allies — Taiwan, Israel, Singapore, the Persian Gulf states. More important are the narratives that each side tells itself about the other and the bonds that ensue among the two governments and peoples. A protracted and unnecessarily acrimonious negotiating process, often interrupted or held hostage by disputes, negatively colors the perspectives that each side develops. This moment should present an opportunity to commemorate our partnership to date, all the blood spilled by the troops and other committed citizens of both countries who have waged war shoulder to shoulder — shona ba shona — against some of the world’s most brutal and oppressive killers, and to lock in our gains so that we can build together for the future. -- The hour is late for such a change of heart, messaging and spirit across our two nations. But it is not yet too late. - More, John R. Allen and Michael O’Hanlon - washingtonpost


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