Opinion

John Kerry compares Afghanistan to Ukraine to defend Obama's policies

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,John Kerry,Afghanistan,Russia,National Security,Foreign Policy,Ukraine

Secretary of State John Kerry cited President Obama's policy regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin's destabilization of Ukraine to argue that Americans should feel confident about his policies in Afghanistan.

When CNN's Chris Cuomo suggested that Afghanistan will collapse after the United States withdraws, Kerry faulted him for being too negative.

"Look Chris, if you want to find the most negative, gloomy prediction, one can find it and lock onto it," Kerry replied. "But the fact is that every step of the way since 2009 President Obama has put in place a strategy that has thus far worked. We — he set a target for the Afghans to take control of their security. They did, and they’ve done much better than everybody thought. He set a target for them to have an election and to provide the security and the planning and execution for that election. They did, and they did so very successfully."

Kerry assured Cuomo that the withdrawal policy is "based on months and months of evaluation with the diplomats, with the allies, and with our military" before suggesting that he should feel confident about such analysis because of how Ukraine has unfolded.

"I mean, look at other challenges. In the Ukraine, the president put in place a very careful, calculated, calibrated strategy to bring the Europeans along, to not go so far that you provoked Putin but you put in place a policy that could work," Kerry said.

Cuomo was suitably unimpressed. "You say it’s a calculated, calibrated, it didn’t provoke Putin," he replied. "But others look at it and say it was weak, that lines have been crossed all over the place, and that exactly because you didn’t push Putin you allowed him to run roughshod and really almost threaten the existence of NATO in Ukraine."

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