Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Lying to ourselves



NY Times today--The Taliban, counting on the imminent departure of U.S. troops, appear to be increasing their insurgency in southern Afghanistan.

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American foreign policy is so driven by winning the daily newscycle the truth becomes irrelevant. Anybody who knows anything about the traditional Islamic world in rural, economically backward areas like Afghanistan knows western style democracy is impossible.

The best we could hope after routing the Taliban was a weak central government and strong anti-Taliban regional warlords. Since image is more important to the administration than practical realities, we promoted just opposite opening the door for the return of the Taliban.

We are making a similar mistake in Iraq trying to create a "nation" which has no natural political basis. What we called Iraq was a British colonial administrative convenience to make the area easier to govern after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Things would calm down very quickly if we allowed the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites to form their own nations.

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