Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Brezinski Calls Anti-Corruption Crusade in Afghanistan Hypocritical

By Sam Stein

One of the most respected foreign policy voices in Democratic circles expressed "serious reservations" with components of a U.S. troop escalation in Afghanistan during an interview on Tuesday.

Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was an early skeptic about increasing troops in Afghanistan, said he was not necessarily opposed to Obama's decision to send an additional 30,000 troops there. But he stressed that the mission had to be defined properly.

For starters, he argued that if America's military efforts lack a sufficient multilateral component, "it will in fact help to feed the insurgency." Brzezinski also cautioned that it would be hypocritical and counterproductive for America to stress that Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government be purged of corruption.

"Who are we to seriously be preaching [such] a crusade?" he asked. "We have a financial sector that is voraciously greedy and exploitative, to put it mildly. We have a Congress which is not immune to special interests. And we have an electoral system that is based largely on private donations which precipitate expectations of rewards. The notion of us going to the Afghans and preaching purity is comical... I think we should just quit that stuff."

Read the full column here.

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