Obama's Fate as Much in the Balance as Afghan Presidential Candidates
The Financial Times argues that the final judgment on how upright the Afghan elections were matters enormously to the Obama administration. If the US public decides these election results were phonied up, it will turn, FT argues, even more against the war than it already is (51 percent oppose the Afghanistan war in the US).
I don't think the US public cares so much about these elections. I think support for the Afghanistan war depends on the administration effectively tying it to concerns about Americans' safety and security. And since that argument is so hard to make convincingly, I can't see how public support for the war is going to come back. With dozens of US troops killed in July, moreover, people are hearing more bad news than good.
What I think is true is that a poorly executed Afghanistan policy could turn Obama into a one-term president. It is too early to judge exactly what Obama's policy will be in Afghanistan, but it should become clear within a few months. So far, Obama has not made the case and hasn't explained what the end game is.
CNN International's Atia Abawi reports from Kabul on the election process. She says the electoral commission says it won't have preliminary results until August 25. She also suggests based on personal observation that voter turnout was lighter than announced, and that ballot-stuffing took place last Thursday.
Aljazeera English interviews Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah on the election process. He says he thinks the process went well despite a relatively low turnout, and says he won in areas where the votes have been counted. His rival Hamed Karzai also claims to have won.
© 2009 Juan Cole