US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan, where US policy has been mostly military. Washington continues to view Afghanistan through the lens of war when it most needs peace – a negotiated settlement with insurgents and neighboring states like India and Pakistan.
Notre Dame, Ind.
If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, to paraphrase psychologist Abraham Maslow. United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan today, where America’s policy toolkit has been mostly military. More than 90 percent of expenditures related to Afghanistan are channeled through the Pentagon, and so Washington looks mostly for military solutions to the problems there.
Why do policymakers in the United States continue to view Afghanistan through the lens of war when what the country needs most is a focus on peace?
At the recent NATO summit in Chicago, the US military allies confirmed that they will withdraw most of their troops by 2014, but the US plans to maintain a residual military force to train and support Afghan security forces as they battle the insurgency. This will “Afghanize” the war, lowering US casualties and costs but maintaining military operations to kill and arrest insurgents.