Can Obama Avoid a Quagmire in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan and Pakistan are teetering on the brink. And Obama's margin for error is minuscule

Oleg Popov / Reuters

U.S. soldiers during a patrol at Mullagora village, close to the border with Pakistan in Kunar Province.

On the Friday after he was inaugurated, Barack Obama held a full-scale National Security Council meeting about the most serious foreign policy crisis he is facing — the deteriorating war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "It was a pretty alarming meeting," said one senior Administration official. "The President was extremely cool and in control," said another participant. "But some people, especially political aides like Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod who hadn't been briefed on the situation, walked out of that meeting stunned." The general feeling was expressed by one person who said at the very end, "Holy...

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