The war in Afghanistan is at the center of the NATO Summit in Chicago, but intertwined are issues with the economy and Pakistan.
“I think this whole summit is characterized by how does NATO operate in an age of austerity when defense budgets are tight,” says Damon Wilson, former top aid to the NATO Secretary General and current Vice President of the Atlantic Council.
President Obama might not have a lot of trouble rallying support for his exit strategy since Wilson says it includes transferring power to Afghan soldiers, which will result in cheaper roles for the other countries involved.
However, Pakistan is making some of Obama’s plans difficult. The country refused to open supply lines into Afghanistan, and President Asif Ali Zardari’s invitation to the summit came at the last minute.
Wilson acknowledges the strained relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. on Starting Point this morning, but says Zardari’s presence at the summit is meaningful.
Regarding the participation of Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai at the summit, Wilson says that he has been “saying all the right things” and explains that the White House is pleased with his attitude.