The biggest international news on Thursday (other than the terrorist attack in Rome, New START, North Korea vs. South Korea, Israeli settlements, election standoff in the Ivory Coast and Iraq's new government) is the lack of coverage on Afghanistan-Pakistan. The Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal print not one article on the region, taking a break after the exhausting coverage of the Afghanistan strategy review the week before. (Followed up the last few days by Times reporter James Dao's interactive series, "A Year at War," a down-in-the-weeds chronicle of the 87th Infantry Regiment's First Battalion.)
It's not easy to find what bloggers are thinking either, although there are a few examples. On a day where there are none on Af/Pak, former intel officer Paul Miller says it's "time to change the headline"—not that the administration's narrative is wrong per say, but Miller wants to spiff it up. His suggestion: "Victory in Sight: Why We Need More Time, Money, and Civilians." (Nothing says rally around the flag like telling Americans a war is going to be more costly and time-consuming.) Max Boot is on board with that plan and wants to "Give Petraeus a Chance," which means at least a year to demonstrate his strategy is working. Don't forget what the good general did in Iraq, Boot writes, despite all the nay saying back in 2006.
Joshua Foust takes the end-of-the-year opportunity to highlight a "lost narrative"—that Afghanistan's north continued "a steady descent into chaos" which may be a harbinger of when the war "went from bad to potentially unwinnable." And Spencer Ackmeran underlines aid to Pakistan included in the recently passed defense bill: $400 million for a "Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund," which the Danger Room reporter says looks like a "down payment for the Pakistanis to invade North Waziristan, something they're currently pledging to do the week after never."