Wednesday, August 19, 2009
What Kind Of Democracy Are We Promoting In Afghanistan?
The United States has assigned troops to try and ensure that there's peace in Afghanistan during the elections there. Our little contribution, once again, to democracy in a world where democracy is a foreign concept (no pun intended). But what kind of democracy are we promoting?
Reports of pre-election violence are trickling out. But like in Iran, whose citizens toil under an abusive totalitarian regime, and in Venezuela, where the president has been shutting down opposition media outlets, the Afghan government is trying to control the message by imposing a media blackout on the violence.
If they want our help in keeping order during the elections then the United States should insist that the open reporting of events - essential to a democratic process - be preserved. Otherwise, we shouldn't be putting our troops in harm's way for this election.
Which, of course, leads to yet another question. What is the military mission there anyway? Is it to find Osama bin Laden and his cronies? Or is it to promote a very limited democracy which clearly doesn't extend much past Kabul?
The Obama administration seems to be facing the same problem in Afghanistan as did the Bush White House in Iraq in defining the mission. Obama claims to be a student of presidential history. If he is as smart as he appears, then he knows that this is one recent history he doesn't want to repeat.