James Forsyth James Forsyth

A grim international situation

Today is one of those days that remind you that the international situation is as serious as the economic one and the crisis facing our democracy. No one quite knows what North Korea means by its nuclear tests and declarations that the 1953 armistice is no longer operative. Indeed, no one even really knows who is actually in charge there. In Pakistan, another major terrorist attack in Lahore, the capital of the Punjab, is a reminder of the threat that the insurgents pose to the integrity of a country where the issues of Islamism, nuclear weapons, weak states and support for terrorist groups all come together. Then there are the US Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ remarks about Afghanistan to the Wall Street Journal:

“American public support for the Afghan war will dissipate in less than a year unless the Obama administration achieves “a perceptible shift in momentum,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview.

Mr. Gates said the momentum in Afghanistan is with the Taliban, who are inflicting heavy U.S. casualties and hold de facto control of swaths of the country.” On the one hand it is encouraging to see that Gates has grasped the urgency of the situation. On the other, it is depressing to see the Defense Secretary talking about having less than a year to turn things around given the complexities of the war in Afghanistan.

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