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Submitted by Anonymous on
I'm interested in your particularly Western view of the situation in Afghanistan. The west has surely taken an interest in the region for many decades. But as is noted above, has not been consistent in its aims in the region. The West's engagement in Afghanistan now is as a result of the Taliban's support to terrorism. The West has maintained a "Just War" stance in the region, given that the West was attacked. The problem is what happens post conflict. As you state, the dewvelopment of a functioning system of government is the key. The debate above tries to articulate - in Western terms, what the West wants to see. Perhaps the West should take a step back and try to see the region through the eyes of its enhabitants, and the cultures and histories that have ebbed and flowed through the region for many centuries. We in the West are all to quick to shop our particular brand of democracy and good governance as the right thing to do, when the West, quite frankly, has very little experience in governance in relation to the centuries of cultures and peoples in South West Asia. My point is this - this region of the world needs a particularly regional recipe for "development". And the word developpment is used in their regional context, not the Western context. The regional context is one of tribal and ethnic structures, and their thinking is long term. Their regional view includes Pakistan, Iran, and India as major actors. Theie regional view includes the Shia/Sunni tangent. Their context does not include social contracts between the people and the government. Their way of life does not include Western languages, thought, or comforts. We must reject Western views if we truly wish this region to stabilize. We must engage the major and minor regional actors to act and not remain silent. It is, after all, their region. We must be wary in our own context of terrorism and its elements. But this warienss is almost mutaully exclusive to stability in the region. We must assist regional actors in regional engagement. We must demonstarte to them, and teach them ways that regional actors can be engaged and energized. We in the West have many useful models of regional cooperation that have been used in the past in other regions which elements of which could be applied to this region. We must get engaged and creative and energize regional actors. I take for example the OAS as a framework for regional political, and ecomomic engagement. NATO's PfP and Mediterranean Dialogue programmes are more military oriented, but are regional outreach programmes. There are many examples or reginal engagement. If we as the West applied as much energy to this region as we do in the Middle East even to this day, we would have assisted in the development of a more regional context. My point is this. We as the West have adopted a prescriptive stance to the region that is suited only to our needs, and is related to our perception of accountability and good governance. Lets take a step back and begin a regional diplomatic campaign centred on the development of a regional system of develpment - show that we are engaged, but demonstarte that we are not meddling.