• Iraq: Will Obama keep his pledge to withdraw combat forces from Iraq on a sixteen-month timetable, and all forces by 2011? At this point, the pace is slowing, and the deadline being somewhat extended, under pressure from US commanders on the ground. Sunnis are threatening to resume their insurgency if the al-Maliki regime fails to incorporate them into the political and security structures. The president insists however, that he is only making adjustments to a timetable that is on track. Prognosis: Precarious.
• Afghanistan: Will the Obama troop escalation deepen the quagmire or become a successful surge against the Taliban by next year? Another 21,000 troops and advisers are on their way to the battlefield. Civilian casualties are mounting, causing the besieged Karzai government to complain. Preventive detention of Afghans will only expand. US deaths, now over 600, are sure to increase this summer. Taliban may hold out and redeploy in order to stretch US forces thin. Prognosis: Escalation into quagmire.
• Pakistan: US policies have driven Al Qaeda from Afghanistan into Pakistan's tribal areas, where the United States is attacking with Predators and turning Pakistan's US-funded armed forces towards counterinsurgency. Public opinion is being inflamed against the US intervention. Prognosis: An expanding American war in Pakistan with greater threats to American security.
• Iran: With or without US complicity, Israel may attack Iran early next year, with unforeseeable consequences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prognosis: Crisis will intensify.
• Global: The United States will fail to attract more combat troops to fight in Afghanistan and Pakistan from Europe or elsewhere, causing pressure to increase for a non-military negotiated solution. Prognosis: Obama still popular, US still isolated.
• Budget priorities: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan will deeply threaten the administration's ability to succeed on the domestic front with stimulus spending, healthcare, education and alternative energy. Prognosis: false hope for "guns and butter" all over again.
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