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President Obama will announce his new Afghan policy on Tuesday night at 8pm eastern time, the early hours of Wednesday morning UK time. Obama will announce a troop increase and the signs are that he will send 30,000 plus in reinforcements. This is welcome, the nearer Obama gets to giving General McChrystal the 40,000 troops he has asked for the better. But the process has done the White House little credit and shown Obama to be even less solicitous of the concerns of his allies than President Bush.

Bob Ainsworth's said yesterday that a 'period of hiatus' in Washington had undercut public support for the war in this country. This is undoubtedly true. For months now, the Brown government has been in a position where it couldn't say the coalition was winning in Afghanistan but also couldn't say how the strategy was going to change.

This decision was the first major test of Obama as commander in chief and he has come across as a president who is deeply ambiguous about a war his military is fighting, is reluctant to commit himself and who treats his allies with contempt. Not a good start.