Development in Afghanistan
“Our results relay a solid piece of advice: if development actors want to empower communities to sustain change, they should think twice about creating new institutions when options exist to strengthen the accountability of existing institutions. While democratic institutions like elected councils can improve outcomes, reformers must first clarify these institutions’ relationship with existing bodies. And whatever the institutional form — be it democratic or customary — governance outcomes are best when the population is able to tell who is in charge and who will hold them accountable.”
In general, I think my philosophy (which is, at present, just a hypothesis that needs to be tested out in more places) would be to build on the existing institutions that they’re already familiar with and to make them more accountable through peaceful methods. In the end, all leaders are accountable to their followers, and all citizens (or subjects) need to consider their leaders legitimate in order for there to be a symbiotic relationship between governed and governing bodies within society. One effects the other as much as the other effects the one.
I don’t understand how it is that American leaders are so tone deaf to the needs of people who are not like them. This ranges from class differences within our own society to the cultural differences that we witnessed in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It doesn’t matter how well intended you’re going to be towards another group of people, if you don’t actually comprehend or understand them as an accurately sensed whole, rather than as a collection of parts or an inaccurately sensed whole.
You’ve got to work with the individual societies that you find bounded within the geographical territory that you find them in. You’ve got to understand the complex systems that are societies and their respective working parts (the individuals and groups of individuals), and how they all work together to produce the whole that is the society (that is, rather than being independent, is interdependent upon all other societies that are around them on this planet).
We’ve done a net negative, I think, for the Afghan people by leaving these Jeffersonian institutions in place where Jeffersonian principles have no footing. I think that it may take a restarting of Afghan society in order to realize a more sustainable future for the Afghan, as well as for the American interests (that are connected to Afghan interests on the ground).
Personally, I think we need to remove the Karzai network, abolish the Afghan National Army, and reinstall people along the more traditional lines of the Afghan societies. I think that Afghanistan should be made into a kind of confederation, thus leaving people bounded as a nation while allowing for their various society’s to be able to govern their own affairs while sorting out disputes amongst groups in the higher level, according to Afghan customs. I also think that these suggestions should be brought to the Afghan people and talked out with them, such that they’re able to arrive at a consensus amongst themselves as to how to govern themselves, rather than rely on the results of the Bonn Agreement (which wasn’t organic to actual Afghan society at all).
In the end, when Afghans are doing well, politically, socially, economically and environmentally, the US can do well with the Afghan people. It doesn’t technically matter to us what kind or system of government they have in Afghanistan, so long as it’s legitimate and functional in the context of Afghan culture, history and society.
I’ve never understood the present American “leadership’s” need to have everybody be formally “democratic”, especially if there are other options to having the governing faction be responsive and cognizant of their connection to the governed factions of society.
And I honestly don’t think I ever will.
Think about it!