But they do not know if he possesses the trait that is more important than intellectual sophistication and, in fact, stands in tension with it. They do not know if he possesses tenacity, the ability to fixate on a simple conviction and grip it, viscerally and unflinchingly, through complexity and confusion. They do not know if he possesses the obstinacy that guided Lincoln and Churchill, and which must guide all war presidents to some degree.
I think the sad part is that they DO know. Afghanistan went to pot shortly after BO came in because I think everyone really knows the answer. Sure, he is tenacious in the destruction of America -- he will not rest until he has licked the boots of every tin-pot dictator on the planet and tearfully apologized to nations like the Russians, French, Germans and Japanese that only exist because of our largess following WWII. We won't have any industries or capacity to create new ones once BO is through with his reign of error.
The experts I spoke with describe a vacuum at the heart of the war effort — a determination vacuum. And if these experts do not know the state of President Obama’s resolve, neither do the Afghan villagers. They are now hedging their bets, refusing to inform on Taliban force movements because they are aware that these Taliban fighters would be their masters if the U.S. withdraws. Nor does President Hamid Karzai know. He’s cutting deals with the Afghan warlords he would need if NATO leaves his country.
Nor do the Pakistanis or the Iranians or the Russians know. They are maintaining ties with the Taliban elements that would represent their interests in the event of a U.S. withdrawal.The determination vacuum affects the debate in this country, too. Every argument about troop levels is really a proxy argument for whether the U.S. should stay or go. The administration is so divided because the fundamental issue of commitment has not been settled.