The US faces hard decisions in the Afghanistan/Pakistan War that are growing steadily harder as the time before transition runs out, the US faces growing budget pressures, and the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan becomes more unstable.
The report addresses the grim fact that the US is on the thin edge of strategic failure in two wars: the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Yet failure may never reach the point of outright defeat in either country.
The key question now is whether the US can minimize the scale of its strategic failure. Can the US move from concepts and rhetoric to working with its allies, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to create a credible transition plan that can secure Congressional and popular support and funding? Can they actually implement such a transition plan with the effectiveness that has been lacking in its efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan to date?
Some form of success (or limited failure) may still be possible, but the analysis in this paper warns that nothing the US government has said to date raises a high probability that this will be the case, and that much of the progress it has reported may be misleading.