FROM William Dalrymple
Hamid Karzai Does It Again Just last night, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a deal to keep some American troops in Afghanistan after next year's withdrawal. "The agreement will speak for itself when the agreement is approved…We have agreed on the language that would be submitted to a loya jirga, but they have to pass it." Today, the President of Afghanistan said it might not be signed until next year. It's all about the continued presence of some American soldiers after most foreign troops leave the country. Is this another of Hamid Karzai's diplomatic maneuvers? Will the traditional meeting of 2500 tribal elders that's meeting on Afghan security, approve the troop deal? How many soldiers are needed to hold off the Taliban and protect Afghanistan's regional interests, and how long will the US be willing to pay the bills?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?