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Purple Tunnel of Doom

I am sometimes a bad person. One of the reasons that I voted for Obama (besides hating John McCain’s policies) was that I suspected that Obama’s election would provide endless opportunities for Eph right-wing schadenfraude. The first occasion came at Obama’s inauguration. Consider former professor Marc Lynch’s experience that day.

A reported two million people watched Barack Obama’s inauguration today. I, unfortunately, wasn’t one of them. If you don’t care why, and just want foreign policy blogging, skip the rest of this post and come back tomorrow.

See, I went to the show with a few friends who received excellent Purple tickets as a reward for untold hours volunteering as foreign policy advisers for the Obama campaign. We got down to the security checkpoint for the Purple section bright and early (I left home at 4 AM), and were guided into a long tunnel which had been closed to traffic. We waited in line for nearly four hours, in a claustrophobic tunnel with no porta-potties, no food or drink, and not a single official or volunteer in sight. Finally, we got within sight of the Purple Gate — only to find that it had been closed. Thousands of people in front of us hadn’t gotten in (not that anyone bothered to tell the people languishing in the tunnel that the gate had been closed, mind you). Thousands of purple ticket holders were behind us. It’s remarkable that there wasn’t a riot.

Lynch never saw the speech. Again, if I were a better person, I would not giggle at Lynch’s plight. And part of me feels bad that he spent the inauguration in a tunnel. But the bad part of me chuckles at the metaphor of a “purple tunnel of doom.”

Do my Williams friends on the left feel that they are trapped in a metaphorical tunnel? Tonight they will discover that the gate is closed ahead of them . . .

I have yet to find an Eph (pointers welcome!) who is, like me, a public supporter of the Tea Party. (Maybe Walker Stapleton ’96?) Tonight is our time.

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Just Stick to It

Former Professor Marc Lynch in the New York Times.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S critics argue that his plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan starting in July 2011 signals a fatal lack of resolve, inviting the Taliban to wait out a feckless America, or else has no credibility. In fact, the deadline is crucial to the strategy. Yes, there are many reasons to be skeptical of the prospects for the new plan, from the hopeless corruption in Kabul to the difficulties of state-building. But a clearly communicated timeline increases the odds of success.

Read the whole thing. By “critics,” I think that Lynch is only talking about the Neocons, or whatever word you want to use to describe those who think that endless years of meddling violently in another country are a good idea. I was willing to give Afghanistan the good 8 year Williams try. No more. The sooner Obama pulls out, the better. What comments does Lynch have for “critics” like me?

The July 2011 date should be understood as an inflection point, not as the end of the American military mission. There is no “mission accomplished” here. The American commitment to Afghanistan and Pakistan will continue. The pace and location of withdrawals will be dictated by conditions on the ground and, indeed, the date itself was carefully chosen based on the military’s best calculations of improved security and political conditions. It was not drawn from a hat, or determined by the domestic political calendar.

Is Lynch really that naive? I am sure that politics has nothing to do with anything when important decisions are made in Washington DC.

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Foreign Policy Talks

For anyone who might be interested in listening to one of the best foreign policy writers around – (former Williams prof.) Marc Lynch (aka Abu Aardvark) will be speaking in Williamstown, DC, and NYC soon:

 

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Currently browsing posts filed under "Marc Lynch"

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