Many thanks for this comment. Rory Stewart's article, which is a commentary on President Obama's speech on Afghanistan of December 1 2009, touches on a number of issues we are we are exploring in this year's WDR. Among these are the unrealistic timeframes for change that so often underlie international strategies that support state-building: "It was assumed that it would be possible within a reasonable time (some documents claimed within seven years) to build a stable centralized state, largely independent of foreign support, arranged around the rule of law and a technocratic administration, with a vibrant economy based on lawful commerce and trade." Related to this, he points to the short attention spans and continuous switches between policies that are common in many countries: "We armed militias in 2001, disarmed them through a demobilization program in 2003, and rearmed them again in 2006 as community defense forces. We allowed local autonomy in 2001, pushed for a strong central government in 2003, and returned to decentralization in 2006. First we tolerated opium crops; then we proposed to eradicate them through aerial spraying; now we expect to live with opium production for decades." He also articulates the post-Victorian impulse that can still form attitudes in the development community: "a belief in the moral imperative of humanitarian intervention, backed by our failures in Rwanda and our success in the Balkans; a maximal vision in which no one good ("security," for example) can be achieved without the achievement of every other good (such as "development" or "the rule of law"); a rhetorical tradition in which all goods are seen as consistent and mutually reinforcing; and an Enlightenment faith that there is nothing intrinsically intractable about Afghan culture and society and that all men can be perfected (to a Western ideal) through the application of reason and the laws of social science." He then credits President Obama with a more modest position on Afghanistan: "we should accept that there is a limit on what we can do. And we don't have a moral obligation to do what we cannot do." What is challenging for us in the WDR context, though, is Rory's view that a coherent strategy in Afghanistan should not include the type of state-building enterprise that lies at the heart of many donors' strategies, and can succeed without it: "The effective, legitimate Afghan government, on which the entire counterinsurgency strategy depends, shows little sign of emerging, in part because the international community lacks the skills, the knowledge, the legitimacy, or the patience to build a new nation." I'd be interested to know what you think about this proposition---not only for Afghanistan, but elsewhere.