A Trust Dilemma: Obama and Afghanistan.

Aspenia Online and The Majalla Magazine (2009)

Trust is a fashionable concept, and a valuable commodity, in these days of financial crisis. Without restoring it, we are told, markets will not start working again.  US foreign policy has been increasingly plagued by similar problems. Compared to the previous administration, Obama has been quick to realize that America cannot go it alone when it comes to its security and has set, in his first 100 days as President, to rebuild trust between the US and the world. By adopting a consultative approach to international problems, reaching out to Muslims, denouncing torture, deciding to close Guantanamo and above all showing the willingness to “listen” rather than “lecture”, President Obama’s efforts to restore confidence in US leadership have been remarkable thus far. Indeed the new strategy for Afghanistan has been devised taking a more “comprehensive” approach to the war. Along with shoring up military might and civilian aid in the country, President Obama has recognized that success will be elusive if he does not engage vigorously with friends and foes alike. While this is indeed a welcomed “change” of direction from the previous administration, using different rhetoric and devising new policy is the easy part. Implementation is where things start to get tough and President Obama will need to figure out sooner rather than later whom he can actually trust, and whom he can count on for help on the ground...