Hamid Karzai’s April Fools Rant

Hamid Karzai IEC SpeechOn April Fools Day, Afghan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at “foreigners” who have been criticizing his corrupt, inept government, leveling bizarre charges that the rampant fraud in the recent elections was perpetrated by UN officials, the European Union, and other non-Afghans. It was, alas, no joke.

In my New Atlanticist post, “Is Hamid Karzai Crazy?” I contend that our unstable ally is simply doing what leaders everywhere do:  playing to his domestic constituency and putting his own interests above those of his allies.

Yet again, too many American analysts are judging the actions of foreign heads of state based on our preferred actions rather than acting on the presumption that they’re independent political actors with their own interests and agendas.  It’s always a mistake.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Karzai’s diatribe might have been more convincing if he and his government were more popular than the Americans.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    I’ve always assumed that U.S. exit strategy would, or perhaps should, be when the local government used anti-Americanism to bolster their own credibility. In that, I assumed rational actors that would only feel confident enough to give vent to such criticism when they could secure the country on their own.

    I may have to rethink my assumptions.

  3. UlyssesUnbound says:

    I may have to rethink my assumptions.

    Probably the most succinct statement in dealing with the middle east. 🙂