Continuing in my tradition of juxtaposing otherwise unrelated documents…

From the BBC:

The UK might have to recognise that creating a viable state in Afghanistan is not achievable, an influential group of MPs has said.

In a debate on the report in Parliament, committee chairman, Lib Dem MP Sir Malcolm Bruce said: “Of course the committee would wish to see, in due course, that Afghanistan can function as a normal state and certainly not a rogue state. But we have some degree of scepticism whether a British government fund of £178m a year can in itself really achieve a viable state. The danger is if that becomes the overriding focus it may be at the expense of delivering material, practical progress in terms of livelihoods, the rights of women, health and education.”

From Time:

It was something both candidates could agree on. Near the end of the last debate between President Barack Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney on Monday, moderator Bob Schieffer asked the Republican presidential candidate where he stood on the U.S.’s “use of drones.” Romney voiced his support for the President’s ongoing policy of using unmanned weapons to attack terrorist targets, saying the U.S. should be ready by “any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world.” In a conversation that ranged from U.S. education to trade with China, Obama and Romney saw eye to eye on a several foreign policy points, but none generated as little debate as the Obama Administration’s increased dependence on drone technology, which has proved to be such a nonissue in this presidential race that it merited only a few words from Romney, and none at all from the sitting President.

From which I conclude that, in the view of our international leaders:

  1. Nation-building is an unsustainable, costly, and uncertain business. I certainly agree with that. I can enumerate mistakes made by Western governments in this AfPak adventure, but I certainly cannot outline, even with retrospect, a strategy that would have worked.
  2. Dropping missiles on brown people half-way around the world is entirely sustainable, and not costly in any way that will be significant to the American public (and therefore American policymakers).

Number 1 is sad-but-true. Number 2 is true-and-reprehensible.