Here are today’s must read opinion and editorial columns.
TESTING THE AFGHAN EXIT RAMPS BY DAVID IGNATIUS
The number of troops withdrawn should be a function of the strategic plan, not the other way around. The three variables that U.S. policymakers have been discussing — troop withdrawal, reconciliation with the Taliban and drone attacks in Pakistan — are interrelated. What effect will a change in one variable have on the others? The strategic goal is a regional framework for a post-America Afghanistan. That means, in essence, a coordinated effort by Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and the United States to make a political settlement work. Obama’s challenge in framing his troop-withdrawal announcement is to enhance this regional process, not undercut it. The leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India all want American troops to go home — but not if that creates a new vacuum that makes them more vulnerable.