What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Re: Afghanistan is a big success...

Reading Registan brought to my attention news that Donald Rumsfeld is saying Afghanistan is a success. That quote by the Washington Post is affected to a degree by being out of context a little, but still this is remarkable. He even says "Improved a lot on the streets." In contrast to that success, in Iraq, "the Baghdad regime" failed to create a healthy environment for a democracy or anything similar, Rumsfeld notes. For that partly Turkey is to blame, it turns out, but also there are a "dozen other things."
The reference to those other things reminds me of what I've read in this article, by a Pakistani journalist specialising in the media market niche capability of interviewing Osama bin Laden from time to time. Apparently, at a strategising speech he delivered in Kunar province in April, 2003, just after the invasion of Iraq, bin Laden said: "Get Americans in Iraq before they get us in Afghanistan." So Rumsfeld is probably just giving credit to bin Laden in acknowledgeing the problems in Iraq.
Of course I don't want to go into the rather pointless discussion over whether Afghanistan is a success or a failure (academically that makes as much sense as talking of failed and non-failed states, i.e. not much sense). The point is exactly that it's not wise to even go into this when complex judgement is needed.
Interestingly, Rumsfeld is promising to launch a microloan project in Afghanistan... He should be more clearly aware of the challenges then.

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