Karzai Declared Winner In Afghanistan: What Does Obama Do Now?

Regardless of any issues with the Afghanistan election, Karzai is the winner

Afghan election officials canceled a presidential runoff and proclaimed the reelection of President Hamid Karzai on Monday, a day after Karzai’s top challenger declared he would not take part in a second round of voting scheduled for Saturday because of a persistent risk of fraud.

(Election commission chairman Azizullah) Lodin said that after consulting legal experts, the seven-member commission had decided by consensus to cancel the runoff and declare Karzai the winner of a second five-year term.

Peppered with questions about how the commission reached its conclusion, Lodin said, “It’s like a wrestling match. If one wrestler refuses to wrestle, the referee raises the hand of the other and declares him the winner.”

So, what does Obama do now?

Sunday, senior White House aides said President Obama likely will take some more weeks to decide whether to send more troops to Afghanistan and to decide on the strategy to pursue against the Taliban and al Qaeda.

“I expect the president will make a decision within weeks. As you know, he has gone through a very rigorous process because the goal here is not just to make an arithmetic judgment about the number of troops, but to make sure that we have the right strategy to reach our goal,” Mr. Axelrod said.

In Obama Speak, that means it will be months before any decision is made. I doubt if they can hold off till the 2010 mid-terms, coming up with some plan that makes Democrats look good, but, my prediction is an announcement on some Friday in January when there is a really big snow storm across the country. Something quiet and buried.

With the White House’s reluctant embrace on Sunday of Hamid Karzai as the winner of Afghanistan’s suddenly moot presidential runoff, President Obama now faces a new complication: enabling a badly tarnished partner to regain enough legitimacy to help the United States find the way out of an eight-year-old war.

In other words, the Fish Wrap of Record is saying what we all know: Obama is looking for a way to cut and run. Progressives would love for him to do just that. They are already upset with Obama for failing to immediately pull all the troops out of Iraq. Instead, Obama has basically stuck with the Bush Plan.

In the early days of Mr. Obama’s presidency, he and his aides searched desperately for a plausible alternative to Mr. Karzai. They found none. Since the spring, there has been little doubt that Mr. Karzai would remain in the presidential palace after the election was over. The question was whether that vote would demonstrate that a desolate nation that has always been at the mercy of larger powers would show it could find its own way.

In fact, the Obama admin. treated Karzai poorly on multiple occassions.

So, what do they do now? Obama is learning that actually being The Man in charge is a far fry from being a great campaigner. He has done his level best to vote “Present” during his first 10 months as President, but, some decisions must be made. Timeliness is rather important. Surely, there must be tons of plans over at the Pentagon. FYI for Obama, that is that big building over in Arlington with all the folks in military uniforms. The subway can take you right there.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove

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