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

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quote of the day (September 14)

First it may seem awkward, but if you come to think of it, this analogy could be quite sophisticated. COMISAF McChrystal, speaking to the press in the Netherlands, on September 11:
"My position here is a little bit like a mechanic. We've got a situation with a vehicle and I've been asked to look at it and tell the owner what the situation is and what it will cost to make the vehicle run correctly and I will provide that. Now I understand that the vehicle owner then has to make a decision on what the car is worth, how much longer he intends to drive it. Whether he wants it to look good or just run."
What it could be suggesting is that short-term results may be lost in the long run if certain variables beyond Afghanistan remain unchanged. The end result may show no elasticity to resources spent and committed, while the latter do determine what kind of vehicle General McChrystal has a chance to drive...
Sophisticated criticism of this idea could be about examining whether more resources really automatically translate into gains in the short run, with consistent marginal returns on marginal units (of aid or troops or whatever) added. I am not taking a position as to that question here - I am merely looking at this droplet of a speech-act from the sea of the wider discourse as it is, assessing its internal logical structure.

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