Friday, October 2, 2009

Obama Surging in Afghanistan?

President Obama has a big decision to make on Afghanistan in the coming days and weeks. Does he send the thousands more soldiers the top General there has said are necessary to prevent the country from sliding into chaos?

The American people are quickly wearying of the Afghan war, with 50% of respondents to a recent Gallup poll opposing additional forces. It will be particularly fascinating to see how Democrats act. On one hand, Obama is their President, so they would want to support him. On the other hand, many Democrats initially supported Obama because he was perceived as the strongest opponent of the Iraq war. They are perhaps the most likely to oppose a continuing American presence on philosophical grounds? Will Obama be able to keep Democrats united behind a war effort?

Republicans tended to be more likely to support the Iraq war, and in general prefer a muscular foreign policy. So they should be the first on board for a surge in troops. But certain elements of the Republican Party are determined to oppose Obama at every turn, to undermine him politically. So how supportive will Republicans be?

None of this answers the question about whether surging is the best policy. What do you think?

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