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.


WorthyOfUrAttn said...

Transparency in Kabul Afghanistan should be present. There is no wisdom in sending our troops over there without it, and I agree. This is the same case scenario as being in Iraq. Also, I learned just recently that the troops are void of information, until they reach their target destinations - right before the plane lands.

Anonymous said...

Transparency is an alien concept in Afghanistan - as is the concept of free and fair elections. There is no use in trying to overlay Western concepts on Eastern minds, or vice versa. If all we stop is intimidation at the polls then that is a start. Let the chips fall as they will - but let them have the freedom to determine how they want to be ruled - not how we want them to be ruled.

gary said...


I think your point about censoring the press in Afghanistan is an excellent one. We claim to believe in democracy, but you can rarely prove it by our foreign policy. I really believe that if we're ever to make progress in spreading democracy in the world, we first need to start with the UN. This is a core to so many problems. We pretend that dictators represent people. We give a country like France (20th in population) a permanent seat in the SC, yet no such position for India (2nd most populous nation). I think we need something like this...

I would love to hear you discuss this issue.