Kudos to President Obama

for his surprise visit to Afghanistan. As I understand it, the trip had two purposes: to spend time with, and thank, U.S. troops during the holiday season, and to confer with Afghan President Karzai.
Apparently, bad weather meant that Obama had to remain at Bagram Air Base and Karzai in Kabul. Instead of meeting in person, they decided to hold a secure video teleconference. I understand that these plans were scrapped as well, and the two leaders simply spoke by phone.
Given the WikiLeaks, their discussion was probably pretty interesting. If I were Karzai, I would have been tempted to ask Obama which school of American diplomatic thought he subscribes to: Karzai the weak, self-conscious paranoid or Karzai the shrewd operator with delusions of grandeur.
The important thing, though, is that Obama appears to be taking an active interest in the fight in Afghanistan. He has some big decisions to make about that fight (a report on the efficacy of his counterinsurgency strategy is due this month) and the more he focuses on Afghanistan, even in a short visit plus time preparing, the better informed his decisions will be. Our troops, moreover, will surely appreciate a timely visit from their commander-in-chief.

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