Hamid Karzai has been president of Afghanistan since that country's liberation from Taliban rule in 2001. He started with promise as an intellectual with integrity and deep roots in Afghanistan's Pashtun culture. He's shrewd, charismatic and relatively honest. But he's been an ineffective president, reigning over what Hillary Clinton dubbed a "narco-state", doing little to temper the ruling elite's corruption, the religious elites' extremism, and the Taliban's resurgence. He's out of favor with the Obama administration. He's running for reelection in balloting set for Aug. 20, 2009--with surprising effectiveness.