Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy, to be announced formally next week, centers around the phrase “finish the job.”
That is an interesting concept. Seems simlar to “peace with honor,” a very Nixonian phrase signaling that we will claim one thing (the dreaded “V” word) while accepting something else (the dreaded “D” word).
Even the NY Times twists itself into knots figuring out how to signal to friend and foe that we are in it to win it, while simultaneously signaling that we are preparing a way to get out:
Over the next week, [Obama] will deliver multiple messages to multiple audiences: voters at home, allies, the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the extremists who are the enemy. And as Mr. Obama’s own aides concede, the messages directed at some may undercut the messages sent to others….
So it is no surprise that one of Mr. Obama’s senior aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged Tuesday that the forthcoming speech was a “potential minefield.” One of his national security strategists put Mr. Obama’s challenge this way: The trick, he said, will be “signaling resolve to the allies while not signaling open-ended commitment to the American people.”
We’ll see what Obama says and does, and it would be unfair to judge him based on leaks, even if it is clear that the leaks are authorized and part of the White House communications strategy.
One word I’ll be waiting to hear is “Victory.” I have a feeling I’ll be disappointed.
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