Gordon Brown is in a nigh-on-impossible position on Afghanistan until President Obama makes up his mind about how many more troops he wants to send and what strategy he wants to pursue. Yesterday at PMQs, Brown said with a sense of relief that there would be a decision from Washington in days. The White House rapidly distanced itself
from Brown’s comments. Now, the New York Times is reporting
that the ‘announcement is still likely at least two weeks away – perhaps more.’
Two weeks where Brown can’t say that Britain is winning in Afghanistan but equally can’t announce a new strategy is going to be corrosive of support for the Afghan mission in this country. It is going to add to the sense of drift and that soldiers are dying there for the want of a better option. In a very different way, Obama is turning out to be as problematic an ally—if not more so—for Brown as Bush was for Blair.