Karzai is a fool.
Corruption, once suspected, is now obvious. This is simple logic people: If an "elected" official controls the committee that oversees elections, that is corruption.
The question, now that we know Karzai is playing the Afghans and the Americans for fools, is what to do? Should NATO continue supporting a corrupt regime? Let's look at a similar case in the not-so-distant past: The Shah of Iran. On the surface, the two leaders are quite different. The Shah was not elected (well, one could make the argument that Karzai wasn't either). The Shah was a secular figure; Karzai has some Muslim affiliation. The Shah succeeded his father; Karzai was installed after the American invasion. The list goes on.
What they do share is that both unpopular leaders were/are supported by the US, and grew increasingly brazen in their quest for personal power. The Shah clamped down on opposition political parties (eventually outright banning them), and Karzai is simply making a farce of the electoral system. He's too weak to characterize as an "autocrat" like the Shah. In all likelihood, taking over the electoral oversight committee wasn't his idea and he personally won't be controlling it-- but that's another story.
If NATO continues to support Karzai, we can expect:
1. Presidential decree granting him a life term in office.
2. Magnanimous decision to step down from office and hand over power to a chosen puppet-successor, a la Putin/Medvedev.
3. Revolution, most likely an Islamist leaning one. My guess is that it will be a former warlord, maybe a Soviet-era mujahideen fighter. A peace offering to the Taliban will be followed by more fighting.
What's the solution? I have no idea. Heavy decentralization of power to minimize grand corruption? Maybe. It would limit the amount of power and access to resources that a given strongman could wield. But, the neo-Taliban would spread unhindered in these circumstances. Pull out and let the Taliban take over? Hell, if nothing else, that would be a great ploy to get Al-Qaeda to return to Afghanistan.
Whoa, this is brilliant. Yeah: plant friendly, loyal to the US Afghans throughout the country (along with some US operatives). Let the Taliban take over. Wait for Al-Qaeda to return to a supposedly NATO-free Afghanistan. Let them return to the training camps. Let them return to the caves. Wait for everybody to feel safe and back home. Monitor them, then-- spring the trap. With NATO's people already in place, they could scoop up the whole Al Qaeda network in a few days of frenzied action.
No. Too Hollywood. I don't know what to do with Karzai. Let me think about it.