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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Google presents to you the discourse about Afghanistan

Chapati Mystery's year-ending post is unbeatable. It includes a screenshot of Google's search suggestions related to the keywords "Pakistan + is," captured recently.
It shows how popular it is to discuss within the discourse about failed states whether Pakistan is or "still isn't" a failed state (whatever a failed state is). It also shows how India-bashing (and a parallel tendency to measure oneself according to what India is capable of) is hilariously popular in certain circles. And it shows many other things, too. So, in effect, it is an extremely useful way of analysing discourse.
Therefore I couldn't resist the temptation to use this test regarding the discourse about Afghanistan, and, no surprise there, the results are just as telling. Here they are, as captured today, on December 23:

Some instant analysis:
- Look at how a Google-fight seems to definitively settle the question of whether Afghanistan is the new Vietnam. It is... NOT!!!
- Also, a surprisingly large number of hits have something to do with a belief that the Afghanistan war is really only about a pipeline. I know some people still pushing this idea around, but it is surprising that their ideas are apparently this popular.
- If you look at how many conclude that Afghanistan is a failed state, or at least discuss the possibility that it might be a failed state (like I said, whatever a "failed state" actually is), it may be interesting that the aspect of Afghanistan being the major source of opium gives you an unexpectedly low number of hits, comparatively speaking. May it be that opium is not such a big concern for the wider public as many of those involved in the subject seem to believe it is?
- The second greatest number of hits is associated with the proposition that Afghanistan is "now Obama's war." Sorry, Taliban, sorry, Hamed Karzai, sorry, any of you Afghans. The internetz sayz it iz Obama'z war. Don't even try to take it from him!

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