Governments Matter: Afghanistan Edition

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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10 Responses

  1. Barry says:

    Phillips one last time:

    “Nobody seems to factor in our moral obligation to the Afghan people. We abandoned them twice. Will this be the third time? What does that say about us?”

    It says that we should shoot any f*cking neocons the *first* time that they invoke morality as an excuse for conquest.Report

  2. Kyle says:

    “The positive flip side is actually caring about the people of Afghanistan instead of a totally cynical realpolitik”

    Yeah, I’m increasingly of the opinion that there are hard limits to what America can accomplish for the Afghan people (distinct from with) and that we’re fast approaching them if we haven’t already reached them.

    However, now, to leave the country to civil war, tribal feuding, and/or Taliban rule would be disastrous for people who opposed tyranny because they thought America and Europe would be there for them.

    Maybe we should just allow anyone who wants to leave with us to immigrate to Puerto Rico or the Marianas or some other US protectorate.

    That said, great post Chris.Report

  3. Chris Dierkes says:

    I don’t think he’s a neocon. Colin Powell had the Pottery Barn rule re: Iraq. It might be someone who is opposed to the war initially but then thinks if you go in and blow up somebody’s country then you are bound to try to clean it up and make it better (if you can) then it was beforehand. Instead of just blowing shit up and running, leaving somebody else to clean up the pieces.Report

  4. North says:

    Every time I read about Afghanistan I start feeling tired. How are we ever going to get out of this disaster? To think I used to think Iraq was the big problem child. This reeks of bad politics. Who does state have over there? The military angle is unpleasant but managable but the civilian component seems to be where the wheels are coming off.Report

    • Chris Dierkes in reply to North says:

      Holbrooke is the assistant for Af-Pak. Was I think supposed to be for India too but the Indians and the Pakistanis balked at that idea.

      But the problem with the state department is the state dept assumes a state. It is built for diplomacy/coordination between states not the building of a state. For that we would need a new Cabinet dept. What Tom Barnett calls the “Dept of Everything Else” or the Dept of Reconstruction.Report

      • North in reply to Chris Dierkes says:

        Fair enough Chris. I suppose what I was getting at was I could have sworn someone got handed the box that said “help develope civilian government in Afghanistan” and I could have sworn that person was not military. Was it our ambassador or state or someone else? I have to admit, I hadn’t paid Afghanistan close mind for a couple years.Report

  5. Bob says:

    There is one aspect of the Vietnam/Afghanistan comparison that merits contemplation. Both had/have central governments unable to muster allegiance in the hinterlands.Report

  6. Nob Akimoto says:

    There’s a lot of problems but the biggest one is the simple discontinuity in policy outcomes from development and security oriented appendages of the US government.

    Lots to discuss here, but I’d like to get back to this in a week, after I’ve listened to some CIA folks talk about this subject after hearing a think tank person do the same.Report