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Staying in Afghanistan

President Obama on Tuesday announced a much-needed adjustment in his plans for drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, telling visiting President Ashraf Ghani that a scheduled halving of the 9,800 currently deployed troops by the end of this year would be set aside, and the force maintained into next year. This was a sensible response by Obama to a range of developments, including Ghani’s impressive efforts to improve relations with Washington. But the adjustment still falls short of what will be needed to give the new Afghan government a reasonable chance of success.

This snookered isle

The 2016 election is still 19 mind-numbing, soul-killing months away. There is, however, another important election in just six weeks, as Britain goes to the polls. And many of the same issues are on the table.

A boost for defense

Two pieces of good news about U.S. defense spending: President Obama and congressional Republicans recognized that cuts imposed by the 2011 “sequester” scheme are unacceptable, and both moved to restore tens of billions of dollars in funding for next year’s budget.