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All Politics Is Local, Even In Afghanistan

Just as is the case in Iraq, so too in Afghanistan. All politics is local. From the open to The Afghan Grassroots, Ann Marlowe tells the story so often lost amid battle reporting, domestic political posturing and attention turned elsewhere.

"This is an Afghan process," Lt. Col. Gordon Phil lips began, "and I am here to make sure it goes smoothly. But the decisions are not mine. They are yours." A dozen members of this province's Provincial Council or Shura listened carefully as the interpreter translated into their native Pashto.

Phillips, the commander of the Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team, or PRT, continued: "Don't think about money. Think about what you will need five years from now, about your children, and your grandchildren. I have other money, emergency money, which I can and will use if appropriate. Think about what Nangarhar needs."

For the first time in Afghan history, Afghans are about to set spending priorities for their localities, rather than accepting the crumbs that a king, warlord, or Kabul-appointed governor condescends to allow them.

I hope readers will take a few minutes to read and consider the whole thing. It's certainly worth your Monday time.

2 Comments

The Weekly Standard article was a very interesting read, for sure. I must admit, however, that the outlook for Afghanistan is more positive than mine.

Even while US aid flows and some improvements are being seen, I wonder how easily the tribal mentality and the influence of the warlords will be to overcome.

Yes, "all politics is local." While there may be parallels to be drawn, "Imagine the United States three years into its Constitution", as broad as our states' differences were then, and would become later when arguments over States Rights and slavery led to our Civil War, I see the Afghan problems as driving much deeper.

U.S. aid will certainly help, but I think that the issues might be more cultural than political.

But of course, Jay. But then, I didn't really overtly share an outlook, simply directed to an important article that makes an immeasurably important point.

Your observations are weighted in merit. With that, however, I will offer up that there will not be one solution or the other. The successful Afghan society navigates both in its due time (with some prodding when necessary, and with some backing off when presence on issues not warranted.)

Not that you suggested otherwise. Just thought I'd throw in.