President Barack Obama has finally proclaimed how his administration would handle Afghanistan. His deliberations were Greek to the neocons who had got used to the 'gut feeling approach, as assessed by Ron Suskind in his book titled The way of the world, of their boss since 2001. No wonder while the president delivered his decision at West Point, all and sundry speculated strangely. The thrust of his policy was defined by his quote: For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our Union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nations resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours. Dick Cheney a la Halliburton again thought the president was 'dithering. The latters confirmed critic, Charles Krauthammer called it an uncertain trumpet in Washington Post while as per Jim Webbs column it is an unsound strategy. A debate is on in the US and the world over about the aftermath of the course of action in the war zone which must carry international ramifications. Rasmussen, the NATO secretary general, sees it as a new momentum for Afghanistan like Broder or Gerson. By reflecting confidence in the new strategy, he underlines that transition is not a code word for exit strategy. He predicts that next year we will start to see light at the end of the tunnel. Furthermore, Obamas speech was, as usual, so nicely worded and delivered that even the cadet-audience would have, generally, been enthralled. It appears to be Kantian dialectics duly adapted by Obama to convey his appreciation of the situation. No wonder some of his nave countrymen call him a professor which indicates a 'weakness in decision-making to them in comparison to the tough talk like the wanted OBL dead or alive. The president appears to be very conscious of his responsibility vis--vis his country. Certainly, he had done his homework honestly before he made his landmark speech. Essentially the US troops are to be reinforced by another 30,000 quickly to target Al-Qaeda. In addition, the Afghan state would be made to own up governance in its jurisdiction. This would provide extensive security to its people as the national armed forces as well as the police take over greater commitment. Regular reviews in Washington will haunt the commanders as they implement Obamas policy on the ground. As the objective conditions improve, the focus should shift to the civilian strategy. If the plan is executed efficiently by all the elements involved, a transition may emerge which could kick off the phased return of foreign troops after 18 months. Moreover, the language used is inspired by legal lingo. Being an astute politician, besides his immaculate idiom, Obama knew that the Taliban were making a comeback. As the body bags of the troopers have swelled since the last surge, typified by October losses at 62 Americans killed, the president knew that the Americans were getting fed up with this war. As he had already declared it a 'war of necessity, beating a tactical retreat would be like eating a humble pie. Despite his sophisticated mannerism, unlike the loonies of the Right Wing, he seems to know how to defend US interests no matter whatever it takes. No wonder his most important instrument is 'diplomacy, which involves little bluster. As President Obama has a unique worldview, mainly due to his intelligence, exposure and experiences with other parts of the world, he can appreciate the crunch into which he has been put by fate. Having been unlucky to take over the presidency from a raw predecessor, he is dousing the fires inherited by him in a courageous manner. Unlike most of his countrymen, he understands what the Afghanistan quagmire is like. In search of a viable modus vivendi, he arranged an election in August in Afghanistan. Finding the US in a blind alley due to the disgraceful conduct of the exercise and the devastation caused by the Taliban to sabotage it, he quickly reprimanded Hamid Karzai for demeaning the exercise, overtly or covertly. Obama accepted Karzais re-election with highly vocal reservations while warning him to clearly curtail corruption that remains proverbial. However, it is a fact, as per the UN, that only some locals do not enjoy benefits thereof. The foreign contractors appear to be above the law. Philosophy apart, Obama is the US president whose heart is, as per his speech, the nation I am most interested in building is our own. As Shakespeare says in Much Ado About Nothing: There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently. Besides AfPak, he is up against vicious vested interests at home. So his actions have to satisfy a coalition of interests in the US as a brainy politician. Those who value history like Gorbachev have been advising him against the surge as Afghanistan is a graveyard of empires. In addition, Micheal Moore in his open letter to Obama also highlights: An Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us Even Pakistan is getting ruined, as people here feel due to its support of the War on Terror, while cluttered governance aggravated by inter-party or intra-party feuds hangs on. The loss of life and property is becoming staggering which can be dangerous for all concerned. A brave people are believed to be hunted by proxies. The US lost credibility by jumping ship after the Soviet collapse to save a few million dollars. The ground realities have further become complicated due to the US-India nuclear deal. Obama has to restore trust in the US as a partner if necessary steps are taken. First release information which can prove clearly the official version of 9/11 tragedy. Second, help Pakistan with advanced technology and equipment which would enable its forces to meet the current challenges produced by the 'war. Third, the Germans plan to pay compensation to the victims of Kunduz bombing in September. Learning from the same, commissions should be set up in AfPak to assess and pay up claims of the aggrieved parties in all such cases. Fourth, pacts should be signed to be honoured with AfPak for future financial collaboration. Such steps are no magic wand but these can create considerable goodwill leading to a just settlement. The writer is a former secretary interior.