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Paul M. Craig: The Afghanistan mistake – GazetteNET


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What’s gone wrong in Afghanistan? The mission of the original American-led, and widely supported, incursion was to dislodge Taliban and destroy al-Qaida. Except that Osama bin Laden, the prime mover in the 9/11 attacks, hadn’t been captured or killed, the original mission was largely successful.
Then American hubris kicked in to conjure a democratic Afghanistan that could never exist. The Americans forgot their own history; forgot how and why their own new nation had emerged in the late 18th century; forgot what “American Exceptionalism” is all about.
The Americans thought they could lead Afghanistan to a democratic future where, not so incidentally, terrorists would no longer be able to plot and implement terror attacks on the American homeland. America, if Afghanistan were transformed into a reliable democratic partner in building a better world, would be safe from any future 9/11-type calamity.
President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, the joint chiefs of staff, and Congress, inter alios, all betrayed the core lesson of American history: democracies are built from the bottom up, not from the top down. There just simply was not the necessary Afghan political infrastructure to enable drafting Afghan Articles of Confederation that could combine all the disparate communities into a cooperating unity. Without this basis there was nothing upon which to build a fledgling democracy.
Significantly, where the American religious tradition had facilitated creation of a successful republic, there was no comparable religious tradition in Afghanistan.
The American experiment in building a better democracy in a new republican form of government — guaranteed by Article IV of the U.S. Constitution — was impossible in religiously fractured Afghanistan.
What’s going wrong today may only be the tragic opening act of a greater calamity if the United States concedes diplomatic leadership in this part of the world to nefarious nations.
Paul M. Craig
Northampton
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