Karzai and the Shadow of Diem

post to UNC Press Blog, 6 April 2010

Sometimes history really does repeat itself. Consider this scenario: The U.S. government throws its support behind a leader in an important front in a global conflict. But after eight years of military and economic largesse and diplomatic backing, the Americans begin to complain about the poor return on their investment. Their client has failed to breathe life into his government. Its writ is limited to the major cities. Administration efficiency and military effectiveness are low. Family members and political cronies stand accused of getting in the way. Rising American pressure for reform — applied publicly as well as privately — makes the client testy. He not only balks but also starts openly criticizing the U.S. patron and flirting with U.S. foes.
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