President Apologizes to Karzai: Nixonian or Carteresque?
A variety of news outlets are reporting this morning that Afghan president Hamid Karzai has received a letter of apology from President Obama over the burning of copies of the Koran by American servicemembers. This comes after three days of angry protests as well as news this morning that a member of the Afghan military shot and killed two NATO soldiers.
According to the reports, the letter expresses "deep regret for the reported incident" and offers the president's "sincere apologies." The other quote provided from the letter says, "The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible."
My question is this? Is this a another example of the president diminishing our stature abroad in a way that weakens us in the eyes of our enemies? Or a sensible act of realpolitik that offers an essentially meaningless gesture to help quell the violence and thus save additional service members lives.
Despite my willingness to join the Talk Radio bandwagon for the former case, a nagging alternative voice pulls me toward the latter. The apology concedes nothing meaningful but in a part of the world in which pre-pubescent girls are traded as property to placate slighted "honor," the letter represents a canny trade and an effective, costless gesture.
But I'm sure someone will argue the opposite case.