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I know a lot of smart Republican analysts of the war in Afghanistan who must be absolutely cringing as they listen to Sarah Palin beat up on Barack Obama for presuring Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Steve Biegun served as Palin's foreign and defense policy advisor during the 2008 campaign, and one wonders what goes through his head when she says something as incredibly ill-advised as what she said today. Cheering for Hamid Karzai right now is like rooting for Duke against Butler. Or Goldman Sachs against homeowners. Or Tiger Woods against Elin Nordegren.
But as I thought about it a little more, it occured to me that it makes perfect sense that a former governor of Alaska would cheer for the president of Afghanistan. The two states are really quite similar:
I'm not going to go all Theda Skocpol on you and explain the consequences of rentier states. Suffice it to say, though, that they encourage political classes unaccountable to the people they govern. Which is perhaps one of the reasons why Hamid Karzai is not particularly responsive to the needs of the average voter in Zabul Province. And maybe why you never see Sarah Palin feel the need to hold a press conference where people can ask questions that haven't been pre-screened.
Oh, and by the way, if you think using leverage to affect the political choices made by the Afghan leadership is not a good thing right now, then you are a) Liz Cheney, b) Sarah Palin, c) a blithering idiot or d) some combination of the previous options.
*Ever notice how the states with allegedly libertarian tendencies blush the least when accepting federal funds?