Former Ambassador: Afghan Plan Delay Shows "Weakness"
"It scares people, Afghans, Pakistanis. Is the United States on the way out?" the current director of the American Academy of Diplomacy said.
For this reason, Neumann argued, the president deciding to put off making a decision on troop increases for a few weeks while his joint chiefs assess the situation in the Karzai administration will likely not hurt U.S. standing in the region.
"[W]e have already paid that price, so if one takes another week or two to refine this, and its a process that probably is necessary for our national consensus, I don't think that that has an additional price," he told Dickerson.
Neumann explained that the real question of America's reputation abroad is how close President Obama's final decision is to General Stanley McChrystal's recommendation for an additional 40,000 troops.
"If the decision after all of this is a large stepdown from McCrystal's ask, then that will be seen in the region as our first step out the door, and that will undercut things we want, because Afghans will start thinking about survival strategies if the foreigners are leaving and the war is lost," the former ambassador said. "The price of our long debate is essentially I think ruling out most lesser strategies as practical alternatives."
CBSNews.com Special Report: Afghanistan
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