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To start with, I think this photo is one of those that won’t catch much notice due to its subject matter. The American public doesn’t care much about Karzai negotiating for American troop strength to remain at high levels in Afghanistan after 2014. After all, this transition will occur after the next Afghan election, i.e., after Karzai and his family are safely ensconced in Dubai or some other safe haven. But in terms of composition, color, and symbolism, I really like this Alex Wong photo. The deep, brilliant colors of Karzai’s traditional Uzbek coat play off against the crisp whites and deep blues of the honor guard at attention behind him. His face is lit heroically as he takes a statuesque pose. But he stands as if supported by a dwindling number of soldiers to his back and with the “zero option” trial balloon floated by the Obama Administration, even that number is in question.
Though a floated balloon doesn’t always become a reality, Karzai’s “heroic” stance during this visit to the U.S. may actually be a last stand against strong public opinion in America.
(Top Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images caption: Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) reviews the honor guards during a full military honors ceremony welcoming Karzai to the Pentagon January 10, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. Karzai is on a visit in Washington, to include a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, to discuss the continued transition in Afghanistan and the partnership between the two nations.)
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