Democracy Arsenal

« We Don't See Eye to Eye with the ISI | Main | More Magical Thinking on Afghanistan »

October 08, 2010

Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game
Posted by Eric Martin

Joshua Foust makes several insightful points when discussing the recent bout of criticism and, at times, outright mockery of Hamid Karzai, as well as the recurring calls for his removal.  First, Foust highlights the very poorly thought-out, hyper-centralized government that was established in Kabul - with heavy-handed Western influence:

The problem with focusing on Karzai so much is it places the entire onus for success or failure on Karzai, the person, when the bigger problem is the institution of the presidency. Afghanistan has one of the most centralized governments in the world. Karzai is responsible for managing the performance of 34 provincial governors, 400 or so district sub-governors, and all their associated chiefs of police, to say nothing of competing constituencies in Kabul. He personally appoints all government officials down to district administrators, of which there are hundreds. It’s no wonder he is having trouble governing.

Not only does Karzai have to govern all the way down to the micro-level in every province, district and town (which requires an enormous amount of resources and brain power), his government also stands to take the blame when something goes wrong in each of those regions and sub-regions.  Because there are fewer intermediaries to take the heat or manage the situation, his government is on the hook for virtually everthing, from the actions of school teachers to policemen.  For a country without a strong tradition of centralized government, creating one that makes France's look laissez faire was of dubious wisdom.

 

Foust's points about corruption are also worth highlighting:

...Karzai only has two real bargaining chips: political influence, and money. When the United States installed him in Kabul in 2002, no one considered Hamid Karzai a particularly corrupt individual -- certainly not by Afghan standards. But to fulfill the duties of his office, Karzai had no choice but to trade money and money-making positions to get even minimal results.

 

Afghanistan does not have the benefit of strong institutions, so governance is based on relationships and patronage -- trading favors, or appointments, for money. In the West, it is normally called corruption. In Afghanistan, though, corruption is, unfortunately, how the system works. Karzai could not have removed the warlord Ismail Khan from Herat in 2004, for instance, if he hadn't offered Khan a ministerial position to compensatehim for the loss of power and privilege. Nor could he have simply wished away Gul Agha Sherzai's predatory rule of Kandahar without promising him power and money and influence elsewhere (in that case, the province of Nangarhar, where Sherzai is now governor). With only limited power to coerce his rivals, and moral suasion of limited value in a land ruled by ruthless, unsentimental men, corruption is just about the only tool an Afghan president has.

 

Western governments have nonetheless hammered Karzai on corruption and ineffectiveness, threatening to withhold aid unless he acts swiftly and decisively to clean up his act. The international community wants to de-personalize Afghan power politics, replacing the current system of patronage with something more formal and institutionalized. Yet to focus only on corruption is to address symptoms rather than causes: if the president can only govern through corruption, then the system, not the president, is the problem.

Given hat Karzai must use government largesse to garner needed support, treating this type of coercion as a form of corruption that must be eradicated places a high-minded ideal ahead, chronologically, of government institutions that would permit such a noble course. 

 

Instead, the focus should be on what the various factions do with the money they receive from Karzai in exchange for their support: with an emphasis on pressuring recipients to spend the money in Afghanistan, on projects whose benefits are more widely realized, rather than funneling cash to foreign bank accounts.  That, in addition to curtailing mistreatment of local populations to the extent possible. 

 

Regarding the many calls to depose Karzai, or scrap the whole system and start from scratch, Foust makes a compelling argument that it's simply too late in the game to start over, that it would greatly damage the credibilty of the coalition's mission and that the realities of Afghanistan would likely produce something very similar to the Karzai regime. 

 

However, given those realities, and the extreme likelihood that they will make effective governance of Afghanistan an unrealistic aspiration, it is all the more reason that steady, yet measured, de-escalation is a far more attractive option.  The only option really.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451c04d69e20133f4eebf24970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game:

Comments

The land of endless tempests within endless debacles. It is where our economy was transferred to, so the rich 1% could suck our national treasury dry.

Our ugg boots clearance nails aren’t just a convenient place to put colored polish. Nails, on both the fingers and the toes, are made of keratin, the same stuff our hair contains, only denser and harder. Nails are the primate equivalent of hooves and claws on other animals. Animals use their claws or talons to catch prey, climb trees, and defend themselves. Humans have evolved to the point where fingernails are not vital for survival, but there’s no doubt that they’re useful ugg boots clearance. They help when we’re performing fine motor skills, like untying knots and preparing food. They’re also important for scratching (a pleasurable experience most mammals enjoy) and grooming ugg boots clearance.

Toenails are less important than fingernails ugg boots clearance. At this stage of our evolution, they’re little more than remnants. Watching apes and monkeys use their feet to grasp objects reminds us that at one point it was useful to have nails on our toes, but they’re simply not as necessary now. Apes and monkeys also have opposable thumbs on their feet that help their dexterity. Since humans don’t have these, our feet are useful mainly for ambulation ugg boots clearance.

One thing that nails are not for is protection of the nail bed. Contrary to popular belief, they serve no protective purpose ugg boots clearance, and without fingernails or toenails, our digits would not be uncomfortably sensitive; the nail bed would simply become harder and tougher to accommodate the new level of exposure ugg boots outlet.

In summer, we should wear a skirt that has swinging scene, wearing a small skirt that can expose body, with a variety of silver jewelry, pandora necklace, rings and pandora bracelets. Our youth should be bloom in this season.
Occasionally I pass a Pandora bracelet store, and that beautiful blue robin makes this hot summer more comfortable, and gives people a refreshing cool feeling. We can go the shop to take a look at that beautiful fine pandora jewellery. That beautiful jewelry on there is really very enjoyable. This makes me to think of San Mao. San Mao is a writer who I like most, I often read her book, he has a lot of collection of the treasure, those treasures may not be very valuable things, but each one has its own story.

When Parker walked into the apartment, Krauss was at the window with the binoculars. He was sitting on a metal folding chair, and his UGG Boots Clearancenotebook and pen were on another chair next to him. There was no other furniture in the room, which had gray plaster walls from which patterned wallpaper had recently been stripped. Curls of wallpaper lay against the molding in all the corners. On the floor beside Krauss's chair lay three apple cores.UGG Boots Clearance
Krauss turned when Parker shut the door. His eyes looked pale, the skin around them wrinkled, as though he'd spent too long in a swimming pool. He said, "Nothing."UGG Boots Clearance
Parker crossed the room and looked out the window. A clear blue cloudless day. Three stories down and one block to the north was the Manhattan exit of the Midtown Tunnel. Two lanes of cars and trucks streamed out of the tunnel, fanning apart into half a dozen lanes of traffic, curving away to the left or the right. Parker watched for a few seconds, then picked up the notebook and studied the entries. The numbers were license plates and dates and times of day. Parker Clearance UGGSsaid, "The Pontiac came through today, huh?"
"So did the Mercedes," Krauss said. "But there isn't any phone in either of them."Ugg boots clearance
"We may have to change things around." Parker dropped the notebook on the chair and said, "We'll try the Lincoln today, if it comes through."
Krauss looked at his watch. "Ten, fifteen minutes," he said.
"If it isn't any good," Parker said, "Henley will come take over here at four. If he doesn't show up, that means we're on the Lincoln, so just pack in everything here."Ugg boots clearance
"Right," Krauss said.
Parker glanced out the window again. "See you later," he said, and left the apartment. He went down the warped wooden stairs and out to the street, then crossed Second Avenue and got into a blue Plymouth just around the corner on Thirty-seventh Street.
Henley, at the wheel, said, "Anything new?"Ugg boots clearance
"The Lincoln's still the best bet."
Henley looked in the rearview mirror. "That's due pretty soon, isn't it?"
"Maybe ten minutes."
Henley rolled down his side window and lit one of his narrow cigars. They waited in the car, neither of them saying anything, until Henley, looking in the mirror again, said, "Maybe."
Parker twisted around and looked out the back window. Among the cars crossing Second Avenue, coming this way, was a black Lincoln Continental. Squinting, Parker could make out the uniformed chauffeur at the wheel. "Right," he said.
Henley turned the key in the ignition. When the Lincoln went by, an eight-year-old boy could be seen alone, reading a comic book in the backseat. Henley shifted into drive and eased the Plymouth into line two vehicles back from the Lincoln.
The black car led them across to Park Avenue, then north to Seventy-second Street, then through the park and north again on Central Park West. At Eighty-first Street the Lincoln made a U-turn and stopped in front of the canopied entrance to a large apartment house. Henley eased into a bus-stop zone across the street, and Parker watched as a livened doorman opened the Lincoln's door, and the boy stepped out, not carrying his comic book. The doorman shut the Lincoln's door and the boy went into the building. The Lincoln moved forward along the curb and stopped in a no-parking zone just beyond the canopy. The chauffeur took his cap off, picked up a tabloid newspaper from the seat beside him, and settled down to read.
Parker said, "I'll be right back." He got out of the car, crossed the Street, and walked slowly down the block past the Lincoln. Looking in on the way by, he saw the telephone built into the back of the front seat. Good. He went on down to the corner, crossed to the park side of the street again, went back to the Plymouth, and slid in next to Henley. "It's got one," he said.
Henley smiled, drawing his lips back to show his teeth clenched on the cigar. "That's nice," he said.
"Now we wait for the kid to come out again," Parker said. "Then we'll take a look at his route home."

There were rockets like a flight of scintillating birds singing with sweet voices. There were green trees with trunks of dark smoke: their leaves opened like a whole spring unfolding in a moment,and their shining branches dropped glowing flowers down upon the astonished hobbits, disappearing with a sweet scent ugg boots clearance just before they touched their upturned faces.There were fountains of butterflies that flew glittering into the trees;there were pillars of coloured fires that rose and turned into eagles,or sailing ships, or a phalanx of flying swans; there was a red thunderstorm and a shower of yellow rain; there was a forest of silver spears that sprang suddenly into the air with a yell like an embattled army,and came down again into the Water with a hiss like a hundred hot ugg boots clearancesnakes.And there was also one last surprise, in honour of Bilbo, and it startled the hobbits exceedingly, as Gandalf intended. The lights went out.A great smoke went up.It shaped itself like a mountain seen in the distance,and began to glow at the summit. It spouted green and scarlet flames.Out flew a red-golden dragon?not life-size,but terribly life-like:fire came from his louis vuitton outlet, his eyes glared down; there was a roar,and he whizzed three times over the heads of the crowd.They all ducked,and many fell flat on their faces.The dragon passed like an express train,turned a somersault,and burst over Bywater with a deafening explosion.

The international community wants to de-personalize Afghan power politics, replacing the current system of patronage with something more formal and institutionalized. Yet to focus only on corruption is to address symptoms rather than causes: if the president can only govern through corruption, then the system, not the president, is the problem.

Given hat Karzai must use government largesse to garner needed support, treating this type of coercion as a form of corruption that must be eradicated places a high-minded ideal ahead, chronologically, of government institutions that would permit such a noble course.
sohbet chat seslisohbet seslichat seslisohbet siteleri seslichat siteleri

This is my first time comment at your blog.yiwuyiwu chinayiwu agentyiwu marketyiwu fair

Good recommended website.

Lasts are represented by short alphanumeric codes, like "SL-1" for example. "SL" standing for "Straight Last" and "1" the type Identifier. The definition of an SL-1, their most common last, is a standard heel width, standard forefoot width, standard instep height, and standard toe box height.

Hey j'aime beaucoup votre style je vais souscrire à votre flux s'il vous pla?t garder à poster!

“It was the same with the issue of growth. As nothing had been more central to the old liberalism of the Democrats---the liberalism of Kennedy and Johnson-Compression Tube Fitting--than a belief in growth as the key to general prosperity and as the only way to LED Lighting lift the poor out of poverty without dispossessing the prosperous, so nothing had been more important to the new radicalism LED Tube than its HOSTILITY TO GROWTH as the means by which a hated system was kept alive. Within the Movement this HOSTILITY had been directed not primarily at the idea of growth as such but against the TECHNOLOGICAL advances through which it was achieved, and sometimes even against industrialism itself. But an attitude LED Display so close to Luddism being much too extreme to ‘work within the system’, a translation into more respectable terms was needed; and it soon appeared in the form of a new concern over the ‘ENVIRONMENT.’ Under the influence of this concern, TECHNOLOGY could now LED Tube be portrayed as a kind of carcinogenic agent and the growth it produced as the cancer of the body politic. In the late sixties Susan Sontag had LED Display once made the connection altogether explicit.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Emeritus Contributors
Subscribe
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Email: 
Powered by TypePad

Disclaimer

The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use