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Obama’s fleshing out his plan to whip terrorism. But I’m not sure about his new policy in Afghanistan. It comes down to this: We’re going to shower them with money – so by the time we finish pouring cash on them and building roads and schools and bridges and supermarkets they’ll love us and turn over a whole new leaf.

It sounds rational – but that may be the problem. Because a lot of folks who’ve done good works expecting them to result in harmony and even gratitude have been disappointed by an irrational response.

First, the logic of charity can work in reverse. We say, ‘We’ll give you good things so much you’ll stop being naughty’ – and they go on being naughty to get more good things.

Or, on the other hand, there may be people (a lot of people) in Afghanistan who like following Talibans and Al-Qaedas – so they take our roads and schools and don’t change a bit.

The bottom line seems oddly familiar: Because Obama’s new policy has much the same goal as Bush’s old one. Bush set out to spread Democracy at the point of a gun – because he had the idea it would turn hostile nations into friendly ones. Obama’s idea is to convert hostile nations into friends by showering them with money – which sounds logical except the people he’s trying to convert, say, in the mountains of Afghanistan, may not be logical.

Anybody got a third option – if neither works?

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