Endless Curiosity

August 17, 2009

Democracy in Afghanistan :-)

Filed under: Politics, Psychology — Alec @ 11:22 am

Call me stupid, but I really don’t understand why Obama insists on staying in Afghanistan, and not just staying, but increasing our troop levels. What do we hope to achieve?

It’s not as though Afghanistan has anything we are interested in – apart from opium and heroin of course. We are wasting vast amounts of money there, money that could be used in this country to improve our infrastructure, pay for better education, contribute towards health care reform – name your favorite improvement.

By being in Afghanistan, we are pushing the Taliban into Pakistan, which is already one of the most unstable and dangerous countries in the world with it nuclear arsenal and bitter hatred of India. That doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea – give one of the most hard-line, uncompromising, virgins-in-heaven group of people in the world anything remotely resembling access to nuclear weapons.

If you are a bleeding-heart liberal you might think that being in Afghanistan will provide a better life for women and thus it’s worth spending our lives and dollars. Well, maybe, but why not attack Saudi Arabia instead then?At least they have oil 🙂  Or one of any number of stuck-in-the-past Arab countries. And anyway, things have been that way for years so what’s with the big concern now?

But more importantly, and something that people either forget, ignore, or (if ignorant) never knew, is that both Britain – at the height of its empire, and the Soviet Union were unable to pacify and democratize Afghanistan. The question is why they were unable, and why we think we are able.

My thought is that we have a basic sense of fair play and an idea that democracy is something that people will work towards. Well, those are lovely idea in a democratic society, and since we have a sustaining myth that we have a democratic society, we believe these ideas will fly everywhere.

But even in our society democracy is a fragile thing, kept alive despite the best efforts of the powerful to corrupt it. Lobbyists rule in Washington, the media spreads lies and distortions, and our rulers are bought by those rich enough to fund their endlessly greedy campaigns. Even here the rich and powerful don’t really want democracy, although they love the myth.

In Afghanistan there isn’t even a myth of democracy let alone the real thing. Certainly the average person would probably like more say in how they are affected by things, a little more control over their lives. But things don’t happen because of average people. Things are made to happen, especially in non-democracies, by the psychopaths, by the warlords, by the chieftains, by those who have power and are loth to lose it. And we expect them to willingly give up their power and become ordinary voting citizens?

Perhaps someone might tell Obama this.

1 Comment »

  1. […] Andrew Bacevic has a fascinating article called The War We Can’t Win. In it he agrees with me! But seriously, he asks the question of why we care about Afghanistan, and wonders why […]

    Pingback by Forget Afghanistan – let’s nation build in Mexico « Endless Curiosity — October 20, 2009 @ 7:35 am

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