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.
We seem to wake up each day and think we have the very complex situation figured out, but that quickly changes. Neither Afghans nor ex-pats can read the runes; there is a darker sense overhanging everything.
What does it say about Washington's ''War on Terror'' that a dozen and a half people with paper cutters forced hundreds of thousands of Western troops into the battlefields of the "greater Middle East" region?