A longtime regional expert, Barney Rubin, takes a bleak view:

With chaos in Afghanistan impossible to deny, U.S. officials have increasingly sought my views. Most of the solutions they propose, such as increasing troop levels, might have worked several years ago, but my sense of the society... now makes me suspect that it is too late to save the enterprise we began after 9/11.

Then again, roughly two years ago a lot of smart people flatly declared (with perfectly good reason) that Iraq was beyond salvaging, and it now seems that may have been premature. There's still a cost-benefit calculus to be weighed, however.

--Michael Crowley