Now that we seem

November 15, 2001 1:38 p.m.

Now that we seem to be moving into the post-Taliban phase of the war on terrorism, let’s consider five key questions we’ll now be facing.

1. Will we be able to ensure, devise (pick your verb) a post-Taliban Afghan government which preserves a modicum of human rights, is at least more democratic than the last one, does not support terror, AND is not inimical to the geopolitical interests of Pakistan?

2. If Osama bin Laden is captured, taken alive, what should the United States do with him? What sort of trial or punishment best fits both the interests of justice and the broader aims of the war on terrorism.

(See this morning’s night owl TPM post on this question.)

3. If the situation in Afghanistan continues on in what appears to be its current course, how much and in what way will the United States bring the war against Al Qaeda to Southeast Asia? To countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines?

This is a very tricky question.

4. Will the Iraqoholics in the administration be able to push successfully for taking the war to Iraq? Or will the Powell-ites try to leverage the image of rapid victory (if that’s what it turns out to be) to reshape the geopolitics of the Mideast through aggressive diplomacy?

5. Will White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and al Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith open a rainmaking, odd-couple DC public relations firm once Ari gets fired for being a risible hack?

Don’t laugh. That kinda *$#& happens in DC all the time!

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