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The “color revolution” will continue to be the preferred route for the United States in effecting regime change in Central Asia. But the limits to the United States’s capacity to intervene also cannot but be noted. As a perceptive observer recently noted, the US is a “renter rather than a bona-fide landlord of Eurasian property” – and a renter can always be evicted by the landlord.

The United States’ defence strategy unveiled by President Barack Obama in Washington on January 5 has been occasioned by the need to slash the spending of the Pentagon by nearly half a trillion dollars over the next decade. There is undeniably some merit in the viewpoint that this is a strategy that has been driven by budget woes – although Obama and the Pentagon chief Leon Panetta have insisted that it is indeed a pure strategy.

Think of the irony of it. Osama bin Laden was finally tracked down not in the lawless wilds of Afghanistan but in the teeming Pakistani city of Abbottabad, which is hardly 50 kilometers away as the crow flies from the headquarters of the military establishment in Rawalpindi. Abbottabad has been traditionally from the British times a city with a high concentration of serving and retired military people.

The NATO forces aren’t going anywhere from Afghanistan. They will remain in the Hindu Kush for as long as it takes. Richard Holbrooke, United States Special Representative for AfPak is on record that the Lisbon summit will have on its agenda no exit strategy for Afghanistan but rather a mere “transition” plan. He announced that the US’ combat mission will not end until 2014.