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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Obama's Afghan Strategy

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O 041353Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
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INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
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TAGS: OPRC OIIP BR XM XR KMDR AF
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: OBAMA'S AFGHAN STRATEGY

"Obama's Afghan Target"

Editorial in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo (12-3) states:
"....It remains unclear, for example, whether the main target is to
defeat the Taliban or to eradicate the cancer of Al Qaeda in the
region....[The U.S. mission] is tied to a strategy that Obama, his
generals and civilian advisors may draw, but whose control escapes
from their hands. Because it depends on the Afghan government,
army and security forces.....Obama's strategy to transfer
responsibility to the local population is based on the strategy
Bush used in Iraq in 2007, with reasonable success and called the
'surge'.....But none of these will be possible while Afghans remain
convinced that the U.S. is there only to protect President Karzai."

"Obama imitates Bush"

Editorial in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (12-3) notes: "Different
from the invasion of Iraq, the Afghan war cannot be questioned
about its legitimacy. ...[Even though Obama] fears that people will
make associations between his government's and George W.
Bush's...., the decision to increase the military presence in
Afghanistan was indeed very close to Bush's 'surge'
strategy.....[Nevertheless] it is a fact that the differences
between the two countries [Iraq and Afghanistan] cannot be
neglected, and that a fragmented Afghanistan imposes greater
difficulties. It would not be by [simply] watching the Taliban's
advance that Obama would meet his target, in the near future, of
withdrawing the majority of U.S. troops from that country."
White

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