Lee Hamilton has a slightly odd op-ed on Afghanistan that ends with provocative questions it doesn’t answer:
Strategically, there are two broad and fundamental questions to be answered. First, how will our departure impact our regional and security interests over the next decade and longer? And second, is this type of war really the best use of American power and resources in today’s world?
That really is a fundamental question. And it’s a good one. And as Spencer Ackerman explains, Hamilton has an interesting relationship with the President:
Unfortunately, that’s the end of Hamilton’s op-ed, which, if anything, signifies that establishment foreign policy is starting to become comfortable throwing those questions out but isn’t yet comfortable offering answers. But still. Hamilton isn’t just any greybeard, he’s one President Obama respects and listens to, as one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisers, Ben Rhodes, worked for Hamilton for years. Hamilton endorsed Obama at a critical period in the primaries. Just before Obama’s inauguration, Hamilton hosted a dinner for him with a number of foreign-policy luminaries. Michael Cohen is right to see something changing.
That said, every indication I’ve seen is that the administration is preparing to wade deeper into its commitment to Afghanistan, not to start thinking about Hamilton’s question.