Reducing the military effort in Afghanistan will cause allies to doubt our credibility and staying power. Some might even be tempted to cut deals with our adversaries.
Public support for the allied mission in Afghanistan is lagging in almost all partner countries. The United States will strengthen its credibility among allies by coming forward with a realistic and pragmatic strategy for scaling back and eventually ending the mission. With some NATO countries already heading for the exit, a U.S. aimed at eventual departure is more likely to keep the coalition intact than one that aims at unrealizable objectives. The U.S. will gain the most credibility with our allies from making decisions that are recognized as wise, even if they represent a change in direction.