Conservative luminaries bashing President Obama at the
Southern Republican Leadership Conference have found an odd champion in
Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Playing off the deteriorating
relationship between Karzai and Obama
, Republicans are adopting the
age-old "an enemy of my enemy is my friend" strategy and staunchly
defending the beleaguered president of Afghanistan. First Liz Cheney
. Now Sarah Palin has joined in, using her SRLC speech
to attack Obama for "treat[ing] the Afghan president poorly." But the
Center for New American Security's Andrew Exum offers a theory for Palin's Karzai defense
occured to me that it makes perfect sense that a former governor of
Alaska would cheer for the president of Afghanistan. The two states are
really quite similar." He lists three reasons:
- They are
both home to spectacular natural beauty and mineral wealth.
- The political process in each is hopelessly
- They are both rentier
states. In 2004 and 2005, according to research done by this woman, fully 69%
of Afghanistan's budget was externally financed. Those same years,
Alaska suckled at the teat of the federal government more than any other
state in the union on a per capita basis. ... My back of the
envelope calculations suggest that Alaska received about $23.4b in
federal aid during the same time period (2001-2009) in which Afghanistan
was receiving approximately $37.7b in aid and development funding from
the United States.
Exum then gives a breakdown of debate on the GOP's new pro-Karzai strategy: "if you think
using leverage to affect the political choices made by the Afghan
leadership is not a good thing right now, then you are a) Liz
, b) Sarah Palin, c) a blithering idiot or d) some
combination of the previous options."
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