America Needs a New Afghanistan Strategy

Concerted, focused and relentless diplomatic leadership by the United States might be the only thing that could end the war in the foreseeable future.

The entry point for all parties participating in the talks must be an understanding that no one is going to get all they want and likely most won’t be happy with the final terms. But it is in America’s national interest for this war to come to an end. The military-focused policy we’ve pursued since October 2001 has utterly failed. American military power will never bring the conflict to an end. American diplomatic power, on the other hand, can.

U.S. policymakers must honestly ask themselves: does it make sense to continue supporting military operations that have not, and in fact cannot, attain American strategic objectives, or change course and place considerably more resources and effort behind diplomatic efforts that have a real chance to end the war? It’s time to end our addiction to these military-first policies (which have served us so poorly) and instead employ the superior power resident in diplomacy.

Daniel L. Davis is a widely published analyst on national security and foreign policy. He retired as a Lt. Col. after 21 years in the US Army, including four combat deployments.  The views in these articles are those of the author alone and do not reflect the position of the US Government.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Army