Obama did the right thing this week in firing McChrystal. Unfortunately, the other decisions the President faces regarding Afghanistan are not as easy. It is difficult to get out of Afghanistan today, but it will be more difficult to get out tomorrow.
Afghanistan needs a legitimate leader who can unify the nation -- one that is chosen by the Afghan people according to Afghan custom, as opposed to being handpicked by U.S. diplomats or as the result of fraudulent elections.
The much-heralded four-day visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to the United States was a bust. Far from a new beginning, all this week's Obama-Karzai summit delivered was more of the same: renewed American commitments repaid with empty rhetoric from the Afghan president.
Not only does Pakistan want to preserve its own neck, it wants to be a major player in post-war Afghanistan, and if working with the U.S. to rein in the Taliban is what it takes to accomplish that, then that is the I.S.I.'s new mission.
From the Emir of Qatar to the Prime Minister of Turkey, the message to Secretary Clinton was that renewed momentum in the Arab-Israeli peace process was crucial to reverse the slide in the president's credibility throughout the Muslim world.