rundown. for more years or more?
and her british counterpart says
will be the date set to end allied
in afghanistan. a top nato official seems to be moving the goalpost even further. he's
president of the council
of foreign raelgs relations and is author of "war of necessity, war of choice." a memoir of two iraq wars. nato official was talking about the fluidity of the
leading with, of course, her british counterpart,
said she and he believes that
is a realistic goal and that they could end
. where do you come down on that?
well, whether it's realistic goal or not, i don't think it's a desirable goal. that suggests to me we're going to be inning iffing in in
at a large level of operational activity, which is going to be expensive, both in lives as well as financial cost. i don't think it's worth it. we can make progress while we're there. where i disagree and part company with the u.s. officials is i don't believe that whatever progress we make over the next couple of years would last or endure once we began to wind down.
richard, how should the president handle this? he's in the middle of a review. he's caught between the military
arguably and the, of course, the people in his own party and elsewhere who believe as you do, that there's nothing that we can really gain and hold and that we're just wasting american lives and american treasure. so what is the
well, i would suggest he take something of a middle course, between staying the course, which is what a lot of people are advocating and simply leaving. i would suggest we begin a fairly decisive drawing down, not withdrawal but drawing down. we're at 100,000. i would like us, say, to go down to 50,000 rather quickly and down to 25,000. we would use the forces to train the afghans. we'd use them as
to go after terrorists if we actually could find them, but i would essentially recalculakacalibrate the mission. it's much more pakistan or places like yemen and somalia. we're simply investing too much in this one theater.
speaking of having investing a lot, what's at risk if the republicans in the senate persist and do not permit a vote during this
lame duck session
well, delay is not that expensive a result. the real question is, if and when it is brought up by the senate, do the republicans attach amendments that would require renegotiation? if they were to do so, my sense is the russians might well bulk. if that were to happen you have all sorts of issues. it would lead, i think, to a significant worsening of u.s./russian relations which has been something of a bright spot. it would mean we would not put a ceiling on the nuclear situation, cut problems for getting cooperation in iran and would raise real questions about american predictability and reliability. i see a potential big loss in all this.
and let's get to two issues, because there will be fewer supporters arguably in the next senate. so that's why this getting it done now while they still have more democrats in the senate is so important to the administration. but you also have a lot of people like senator kyl and senator barrasso was on the program earlier arguing that it would weaken us, it weakens our hand on
. you've studied this for many years. what is your judgment?
i respectfully disagree. the language on
doesn't weaken anything. the
can do what it wants. at some point we may have to make some decisions on
, realizing it would have consequences for how the russians size and scale their arsenal. we also have to see what
can actually do for us. again, we need predictability. i'm not saying this agreement's perfect but with it, we have a greater degree of predictability. we're less likely to have arms racing and less likely to have accidents, less likely spend money that we can't afford to spend than if we don't have the agreement. you have to look at what you have, not necessarily what it is you think is perfect but can't negotiate.