John Kerry on the forthcoming Bonn conference about sorting Afghanistan:
Bonn is still an opportunity for the United States to make clear that we are not abandoning Afghanistan. We have significant long-term strategic interests in the region that will be imperiled if we do not engineer a responsible transition.
Usually that's phrased the other way around: we have significant long-term strategic interests in the region that will be imperiled if we hand off Afghanistan too early. Kerry might still be saying that -- whether the stress is on "responsible" or "transition" is the determining factor. But if he means that transition is the pivot point on which U.S. interests depend, that's something that merits explanation.
Also: anyone want to finally make explicit what these "significant long-term strategic interests in the region" are? Ensuring the nuclear security (and non-proliferation) of Pakistan is one. But that's not about Afghanistan. Keeping Afghanistan from becoming an exporter of terrorism -- I can buy that, too. What am I forgetting? (Keeping in mind that Kerry is saying "significant," not "vital," which I imagine is a concession that in the grand scheme of things, Afghanistan is only important because we've been saying it is.)