Eide Calls Holbrooke a Bully

Kai Eide, until March of this year the top UN official in Afghanistan, said that Washington should stop bullying Afghan President Hamid Karzai and undermining his government. Referring to one of Richard Holbrooke’s previous jobs, he said, “This is not the Balkans, where you can bully people into accepting a solution.” Holbrooke in particular, Eide says, has been “humiliating” Karzai, and the special envoy, along with some other key U.S. representatives like Peter Galbraith, does not fully grasp “the complexity of the Afghan political scene.” He added that the troop withdrawal “should not be dictated by the U.S. political calendar, which is dominating too much today.” Making talks with the Taliban more regular is the best way to make peace, according to Eide.

Taking a break from her Asia-focused agenda, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on yesterday’s Republican sweep of the House. A throwback to her old Senate days, she said “I will be working very hard in the weeks and months ahead to get to know new members and new leadership and to work with them on behalf of the United States of America.” Clinton was getting ready to travel to Papua New Guinea when she made the comments. She reassured her foreign hosts that “When it comes to foreign policy it's important to remember that politics stops at the water's edge.” 

Reports out of Sudan say that the government there has arrested several Darfur activists and closed a Darfuri radio station, which State Department spokesman PJ Crowley called “a very important source of information.” Washington will express its concern about the situation to the Sudanese government via its special envoy, Scott Gration, who is meeting with senior Sudanese officials today. Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, also “strongly condemn[ed]” the arrests and closure, arguing that they “indicate an emerging pattern of harassment and intimidation by the government of Sudan against civil society in advance of the scheduled January 9 referenda.” The Sudanese people are supposed to vote on the independence of southern Sudan in January, and voter registration begins on November 14.

And new National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said President Obama is going to India to “try to demonstrate to the world that this is a broad and deep relationship” and to encourage the country to become a global partner as it rises in power.