Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Afghanistan trap

Most everybody now seems to think that the U.S. needs to put more military resources into Afghanistan. There's little question that Afghanistan hasn't exactly turned into a model Western European-style nation-state, but one wonders whether that's an appropriate model for yet another of those artificial countries created under British colonialism. Maybe we should just let it remain a decentralized hodge-podge without an effective central government. As I argue in my most recent column for Antiwar.com, Afghanistan is where empires go to get defeated, and in some cases to die. The country is a mosaic of ethnic groupings, reflecting its history as a crossroads (and sometimes as an empire center itself), who seldom have much desire to get together as "Afghans" unless there's a foreign invader to be routed. Maybe we should let the country be what it is rather than what western politicians think it ought to be. The Afghans won't miss us. Really.

On the other hand, maybe if doubling down is a step toward the end of the American empire and of NATO, the alliance with no more reason to exist, maybe . . .

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