Real News: Obama, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

Yesterday in Obama’s Foreign Policy Challenge Paul Jay spoke with journalist and author Eric Margolis, who talked about his belief that one of Obama’s biggest foreign policy challenges will not be in confronting non-state actors like Al Qaeda, but rather in deescalating the heightening tension with Russia which the Bush Administration has created, and that US power is projected to a greater extent through its dollar than through its military, and the US will have to acclimatize itself to a reduced level of influence in the world if the economy does not recover.

Today Margolis talks with Jay as an expert of military affairs, a former instructor in strategy and tactics in the US Army, and a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan, about his thoughts on other major foreign policy challenges: how to deal with the Taliban in the Afghan bordering tribal areas of Pakistan, on ending the war in Afghanistan, and on developing good relations with Pakistan.

Barack Obama was elected as the next president of the United States with a foreign policy platform based on the refocusing of US military might from Iraq to Afghanistan.

In the second part of our interview with Eric Margolis, Eric tells the new president-elect that he needs to abandon his support for a strategy of military intervention in Afghanistan, make a deal with the Taliban and move his attention to areas of greater significance to US interests.

The war, says Margolis, is now with the Pashtun people of Afghanistan, who make up half of the country’s population, not a small group of largely disbanded terrorists known as Al Qaeda. Margolis ends by pointing out the potential for the conflict to destabilize Pakistan and potentially even draw India into a larger regional conflict.

November 12, 2008 – 12 min 28 sec

The war without an objective

Eric Margolis: Obama’s only option is to make an agreement with Taliban and withdraw from Afghanistan

Eric Margolis is a journalist born in New York City and holding degrees from Georgetown the University of Geneva, and New York University. During the Vietnam War he served as a US Army infantryman.

Margolis is the author of War at the Top of the World — The Struggle for Afghanistan and Asia is a syndicated columnist and broadcaster whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, Mainichi Shimbun and US Naval Institute Proceedings.

Margolis is an expert on military affairs, a former instructor in strategy and tactics in the US Army, and a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and the Institute of Regional Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Eric Margolis’ books have been published in the US, Canada, Britain, and India. He often appears and contributes to national and international news items for outlets such as CNN, ABC,CBC and Voice of America to the Wall Street Journal and Maninichi-Tokyo. He broadcasts regularly on foreign affairs for Canadian TV (TV Ontario and CBC), radio, and has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, and PBS


    • Edger on November 12, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Eight years of enough is enough… is enough.

    • RiaD on November 13, 2008 at 4:33 am

    you should write to him & request he visit realnews, eh?

    maybe daily?

    one can only hope he already does

  1. I’ve believed since the beginning of the conflict that our involvement (such an innocuous word, “involvement”) in Afghanistan is all about the resources.  It’s certainly hubris, given the dismal failure of the USSR to defend the PDPA against the mujahideen resistance, to think we can win.  Darn that old Bush and the lies he rode in on.  Arrest that man!

    I think Margolis is wrong about Vietnam, though.  I think everyone remembers what we did there and the terrible situation we left behind.  (K’hmer Rouge.  ‘Nuff said.)

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