From his blog at Foreign Policy
Our efforts in Central Asia are confounded by two fundamental problems. First, our understanding of Pakistani and Afghan society is limited, which makes it hard to know which groups or leaders to support and makes it virtually certain that any effort we undertake will generate lots of unintended consequences. We were once confident that Hamid Karzai would be a terrific leader, for example, but he's proven to be a disappointment. If we try to engineer his replacement, however, there's no guarantee we will end up with anyone better. Ditto Pakistan, where none of the contenders for power looks particularly promising and where their own ambitions and interests are partly (and maybe substantially) at odds with ours.
Look at this way: We have enough trouble getting reliable, efficient, and corruption-free government here at home (think Rod Blagoevich, Jack Abramoff, or the State Legislature here in Massachusetts, where the past two speakers had to resign in the face of scandals).. . . To imagine that we know how to manage the politics of more than 200 million people in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- who are themselves divided into a diverse array of clans, tribes, and sects -- is the very definition of hubris.
Second, our leverage in either society (and especially Pakistan) is limited by our own conviction that "we cannot afford to fail." If we are unwilling to walk away and leave either country to its fate, then President Obama's assurance that "we will not, and cannot, provide a blank check" is meaningless. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf diddled us for years because he knew we were so committed to his success that we would keep pouring in money even when we knew his government was still backing jihadi terrorists instead of cracking down on them.
If, like AIG, Pakistan is "too important to fail," then what’s going to be different now? Which brings me to the larger question: What is the strategic rationale for doubling down in Afghanistan and Pakistan? According to President Obama, the reason we are there is simple: We want to prevent these territories from becoming safe havens for terrorists who might attack the United States....
...while it is obvious that al Qaeda is a threat, is it of sufficient magnitude to warrant an expensive and possibly open-ended effort to re-shape the politics of this region? Although Obama denies that this is his goal, how do we "defeat al Qaeda" without doing a lot of social engineering in both places?