If the West loses in Afghanistan and its region, the most important reason will be that we are pursuing several different goals simultaneously, most of which are in contradiction to the others. Western governments need to choose between these goals, and co-ordinate a strategy in pursuit of the most desirable and achievable ones. The creation of a democratic Afghanistan needs to be recognised as a hopeless fantasy. Instead, the West should imitate the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and concentrate on creating an effective military force that can survive Western withdrawal and continue to fight the Taleban. In the meantime, something to be avoided at all costs is the further destabilisation of Pakistan, since Pakistan in the end constitutes a far greater potential threat to the region, the West and the world than does Afghanistan.