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View Diary: Afghanistan: More Troops are Only One Part of the Solution (38 comments)

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  •  Can that happen without support from . . . (1+ / 0-)
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    the central authority?

    Even if the money was available, I don't get the sense that the Taliban was amenable to that possibility in the 1990s; and Karzai's government probably does not stand without outside support.

    It's a tough conundrum.  I agree that education is the key to Afghanistan's future -- as well as political stability and functioning local governments.  It's hard to see how those ends can be achieved without some element of hard power.

    •  From the luxury of my living-room... (0+ / 0-)

      Central authority - no, I don't think that is critical, on the contrary.  I think it is far more important to build small-scale, local democracy, using as much as possible local structures.  It is amazing how quickly ideology falls by the wayside when local grandees are responsible for water, drains, roads, power etc.

      There are places where central government has never worked (Switzerland is one), so I think it's a mistake to focus on the central power - to paraphrase Mussolini:  It's not impossible to govern Afghanistan, merely futile.

      Education is more of a conundrum, but there, too (if you look at "Three Cups of Tea"), I am convinced that building small and local is the right way to go.

      The political difficulty (for the donor countries) will come in accepting large differences in "standard" (especially in terms of participation of women in politics and girls in education), especially between the more liberal cities and the conservative country-side.  But this was and arguably is a challenge in our own polities.  This will correct itself over a couple of generations.

      Another challenge will come from accepting that Islam and mullahs will be a major factor, especially in the country-side.  Winning the mullahs will be a critical element in initial success, but it will be a challenge to make sure, as initial gains take hold, that mullahs and traditional male-dominated elites don't have the means and the incentive to torpedo the reforms as their implications become clear.

      A final challenge will come from the fact that it will be impossible to protect the lives of the courageous individuals who go out and do this.  We may not have the stomach for that.

      γνωθι σεαυτόν

      by halef on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:10:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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