Obama's Partner Problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Presidents Karzai and Zardari are working together. But let's not pretend they're perfect.

Yuri Gripas / Reuters

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardai

The best diplomats walk a fine line between flattery and the Stockholm syndrome. The more dire the situation, the easier it is to lose perspective, to mistake a shift in body language for a breakthrough, to mistake a breakthrough for a solution. And so it was slightly disconcerting to hear Richard Holbrooke, our very best diplomatic negotiator, deploying words like "extraordinary" and "unprecedented" to describe the recent round of talks with delegations from Afghanistan and Pakistan in Washington, during a White House briefing for columnists just after the talks ended. He was flanked by General David Petraeus, who reinforced Holbrooke's message....

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