Biden's Way Forward

It's 4th down and 10 on the 40 yard line. Biden opts for a Hail Mary pass.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent a Purposely Leaked Letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani stating the way forward. 

In an undated letter from Secretary of State Tony Blinken to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the top diplomat informs Ghani that the Biden administration is “immediately pursuing a high-level diplomatic effort” to “accelerate peace talks” between the Afghan government and the Taliban. To that end, Blinken says the administration has prepared a “roadmap for the peace process.”

The second leaked document is that roadmap: an eight-page “discussion draft of a peace agreement” designed “to jumpstart Afghanistan Peace Negotiations between the Islamic Republic [of Afghanistan] and the Taliban.”

The proposal has three sections: 1) guiding principles for Afghanistan’s constitution and the future of the Afghan state; 2) terms for governing the country during a transitional period and a roadmap for making constitutional changes and addressing security and governance matters; and 3) terms for a permanent ceasefire.

Purposely Leaked Letters

Biden is fed up with the progress in Afghanistan and the US' never ending commitment.

Hail Mary Pass

Should both sides agree to this or a similar peace plan by May 1, Biden would have the political room to withdraw all troops from the country. Or, if there was genuine movement toward a deal but no agreement, Washington would let the Taliban know it was going to stay until the group struck a deal.

This gives them the space to argue it both ways,” said Jonathan Schroden, an expert on the war at CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization in Arlington, Virginia. But, he noted, the chances that the gambit succeeds are pretty slim. “This is a Hail Mary pass.”

The Biden administration is pushing a high-risk, high-reward option that may still result in keeping US troops in harm’s way beyond the May 1 deadline. It’s unclear it’ll pay off.

Endless 4th Downs

Like Bush, Obama, and Trump, Biden is threatening withdrawal. 

This is only a "Hail Mary" pass if there are truly consequences of a dropped pass.

Is this really the 4th down with no 5th down or 4th down replay coming?

Under three previous administrations, we had an endless set of 4th downs all of which kept US troops in Afghanistan for 20 years. 

An Overtime Gamble

A sustainable agreement cannot be predicated on the permanent presence of US troops. The small chance that a political settlement is reached exposes the Biden administration to considerable risk. It’s the equivalent of gambling.” 

If a political agreement is reached, do not expect anyone in Afghanistan to honor it. Meanwhile, US troops would still remain. 

Curiously, the gamble is the the "Hail Mary" pass succeeds, tying the score thereby forcing the game into overtime for the nth time.

Of course it could also be an idle threat by Biden, just as we saw idle threats by Trump.

Declare Victory in Afghanistan and Get the Hell Out Now!

On March 5, I proposed Declare Victory in Afghanistan and Get the Hell Out Now!

Assuming the "Hail Mary" pass fails, Biden will have a more politically correct option of leaving.  

Agreement or not, the US should leave anyway. If that is indeed Biden's intent, then his plan is a smart one. Otherwise, here comes another 5th down. 

Mish

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