Cole in Salon: Obama’s Domino Theory

My column in Salon.com is out, “Obama’s domino theory,” in which I worry that “The president sounds like he’s channeling Cheney or McCain — or a Cold War hawk afraid of international communism — when he talks about the war in Afghanistan.”

Excerpt:

‘[Obama’s] latter-day domino theory of al-Qaida takeovers in South Asia is just as implausible as its earlier iteration in Southeast Asia (ask Thailand or the Philippines). Most of the allegations are not true or are vastly exaggerated. There are very few al-Qaida fighters based in Afghanistan proper. What is being called the “Taliban” is mostly not Taliban at all (in the sense of seminary graduates loyal to Mullah Omar). The groups being branded “Taliban” only have substantial influence in 8 to 10 percent of Afghanistan, and only 4 percent of Afghans say they support them. Some 58 percent of Afghans say that a return of the Taliban is the biggest threat to their country, but almost no one expects it to happen. Moreover, with regard to Pakistan, there is no danger of militants based in the remote Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) taking over that country or “killing” it. ‘

Read the whole thing.

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