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Balancing Means and Ends

Author: Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow
February 10, 2010
The Security Times


The new strategy for Afghanistan that President Barack Obama unfurled at West Point late last year is, like most of his decisions, carefully calibrated as to both policy and politics. As for policy, Obama is seeking to balance means and ends, recognizing that the United States must pursue limited objectives in Afghanistan if it is to aim for the attainable rather than the desirable, and keep the US effort in proportion with the interests at stake. As for politics, he is well aware that he is conducting
the war among polarized and discontented electorates at home and abroad - providing another incentive for Obama to embrace modest aims and put a cap on the scope and duration of the mission in Afghanistan.

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