"If you hires you a thief, ain't no sense gettin' mad because he steals" - Old African -American proverb.
Apparently the Obama Administration and Afghan president Hamid Karzai are on the outs, and in a big way.
A number of senior sources have confirmed the details of a meeting between Mr Holbrooke and Mr Karzai held on 21 August, one day after the election.
The meeting was described as "explosive" and "a dramatic bust-up".
Mr Holbrooke is said to have twice raised the idea of holding a second round run-off because of concerns about the voting process.
He is believed to have complained about the use of fraud and ballot stuffing by some members of the president's campaign team, as well as other candidates.
Mr Karzai reacted very angrily and the meeting ended shortly afterwards, the sources said.
Richard Holbrooke, of course, is Obama's special envoy to the region.
This breakup has been coming ever since Obama took office back in January. The Obama Administration has never liked Hamid Karzai, whom they perceived as Bush's man in Kabul. And Karzai returned the favor, criticizing US activities in Afghanistan and campaigning with a distinctly anti-American slant in the recent presidential election.
The Obama Administration was probably hoping Karzai would be ousted in the election, and are angered that he likely resorted to cooking the results in his favor. That probably strikes Karzai as rank hypocrisy, since he's not exactly ignorant of American politics (Karzai used to be an Exxon executive)and knows all about Obama, ACORN and Chicago.
In any event, the real irony is that Obama needs Karzai if he plans on continuing to maintain any US presence in Afghanistan, and ticking him off over allegations of 'voter fraud' unless Obama plans an immediate pull out...which in fact might very well be the case.
Like most thing in Afghanistan, it comes down to tribalism.The Pathans are the dominant tribe in Afghanistan, any leader of Afghanistan has to be a Pathan and Karzai is the only Pathan leader capable of governing. In the current election, the only challenger anywhere close to Karzai's vote totals is Abdullah Abdullah, who's only half-Pathan ( his mother was a Tajik). And Abdullah Abdullah campaigned on tossing NATO out of the country and negotiating a truce with the Taliban.
Karzai is simply doing what any other Afghan warlord in his place would do - collecting tribute, rewarding his followers and doing what's necessary to stay in power.That's the kind of place it is, and expecting him to act with higher ethical standards than the ones shown in places like Cook County, Illinois is simply ridiculous.
It might be more productive for us to start figuring out what we're doing in Afghanistan and what we hope to achieve there. So far, I don't think Obama has a clue.