From the Guardian: The question of Nato’s role in Afghanistan is certain to loom large. Hinting at potentially cooling relations between Washington and the transatlantic military alliance, McChrystal’s predecessor was reportedly excused from his post due to a perceived over-deference to Nato, among other concerns.

General David McKiernan had initially seemed like an ideal choice to head US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, with his past experience including stints as the top US army commander in Europe and participating in the Nato-led mission in the Balkans in the 1990s.

But McKiernan came increasingly under fire as hope faded that European allies would send more troops, and as he struggled to get Nato forces more engaged in counterinsurgency operations.

Diplomacy, especially among close allies discussing the spilling of blood and treasure, is a messy business. But Obama’s ultimate success in Afghanistan, or even significant progress in what remains a largely military effort, hinges on engaging international partners to help determine the best suited course of action.