September 28, 2009 — Richard Fontaine, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security said today that the Obama Administration needs to consider troop resources as it deliberates what strategy to pursue in Afghanistan.
“To talk about strategy without having those discussions being informed in any way by the amount of troops you have, for example, at your disposal isn’t always the best way to proceed,” Fontaine said.
There is an almost “chicken or the egg” question – can the Obama Administration develop a strategy for Afghanistan without considering troop levels and resources? Can the administration assess the necessary troop levels if there is not a formal strategy put into place?
Fontaine, who was a senior foreign policy advisor for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said that it makes sense to have on the table the levels of resources that can be applied to a new strategy for success in Afghanistan, rather than having one conversation about strategy and then a subsequent one to consider resources.
“I think both of the discussions are going to have to be informed by the other one,” he said.
Fontaine said the main threat the Taliban poses in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is its alliance with Al Qaeda.
“So it’s a very reasonable conclusion to draw that should the Taliban come back into power in Afghanistan they would bring back the Al Qaeda in a way that approximates what was there before 2001 or at least in a way that is a direct threat to our national interests,” he said. “Because as we know, Al Qaeda is in the business of planning attacks against the United States and our allies around the world.”
We also checked in with Amanda Carpenter of The Washington Times who thinks President Obama’s lobbying trip to Copenhagen at the end of the week could backfire and the International Olympic Committee will not pick Chicago as the host of the 2016 Summer Games.