In the White House, President Obama said he regarded Mr. Karzai as unreliable and ineffective. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said he presided over a “narco-state.” The Americans making Afghan policy, worried that the war is being lost, are vowing to bypass Mr. Karzai and deal directly with the governors in the countryside.
At home, Mr. Karzai faces a widening insurgency and a population that blames him for the manifest lack of economic progress and the corrupt officials that seem to stand at every doorway of his government. His face, which once adorned the walls of tea shops across the country, is today much less visible."
The southern route through Pakistan was kept open while negotiations proceeded with Russia and the former Soviet Muslim republics -- known as the "Stans" -- for an alternate northern route. Supplies would be unloaded onto trains in German ports and taken by rail through Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and then by truck into Afghanistan, a distance five times longer than the 1,000-kilometer journey from Karachi to Kabul. Hardly an incentive for NATO and U.S. staying power against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
It doesn't require an overwhelming effort of geopolitical imagination to see the potential for Russian troublemaking along the northern supply route. After all, the Soviets spent 10 years fighting the mujahedin guerrillas -- and were forced into a humiliating withdrawal six months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. They wouldn't mind seeing superpower America suffer the same fate." Pentagon officials have said they expect to send as many as 30,000 more troops there, including several brigades in the coming months.
John Cole explained this week, "I really don't understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane."
Given all of this, why the Republican Party believes it has credibility on economic policies is a mystery. After getting everything spectacularly wrong for years, we still hear McConnell, Boehner, & Co. sounding downright Cartman-like, demanding, "You will respect my authority!"
A list of programs cut (actually reduced proposed allocations) from the House/Obama bill by Senate negotiators, put together by a Republican leadership aide:
$40 billion State Fiscal Stabilization
$16 billion School Construction
$1.25 billion project-based rental
$2.25 Neighborhood Stabilization (Eliminate)
$1.2 billion in Retrofiting Project 8 Housing
$7.5 billion of State Incentive Grants
$3.5 billion Higher Ed Construction (Eliminated)
$100 million FSA modernization
$50 million CSERES Research
$65 million Watershed Rehab
$30 million SD Salaries
$100 million Distance Learning
$98 million School Nutrition
$50 million aquaculture
$2 billion broadband
$1 billion Head Start/Early Start
$5.8 billion Health Prevention Activity.
$2 billion HIT Grants
$1 billion Energy Loan Guarantees
$4.5 billion GSA
$3.5 billion Federal Bldgs Greening
(Smaller cuts -- $10-$600 million -- after the jump)
$100 million NIST
$100 million NOAA
$100 million Law Enforcement Wireless
$50 million Detention Trustee
$25 million Marshalls Construction
$100 million FBI Construction
$300 million Federal Prisons
$300 million BYRNE Formula
$140 million BYRNE Competitive
$10 million State and Local Law Enforcement
$50 million NASA
$50 million Aeronautics
$50 million Exploration
$50 million Cross Agency Support
$200 million NSF
$100 million Science
$89 million GSA Operations
$300 million Fed Hybrid Vehicles
$50 million from DHS
$200 million TSA
$122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use
$25 million Fish and Wildlife
$55 million Historic Preservation
$20 million working capital fund
$200 million Superfund
$165 million Forest Svc Capital Improvement
$90 million State & Private Wildlife Fire Management
$75 million Smithsonian
$600 million Title I (NCLB)