Re: If we do get Afghanistan, what shall we do with it?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 20:36:15 MST

"Alex F. Bokov" wrote:
> I know there is a previous thread on this, but I can't find it, so if
> nobody minds, I'd like to revisit the question.
> What degree of cultural engineering is necessary or desirable in
> Afghanistan?
> Should we be satisfied merely with a government that no longer gives
> safe harbor to Al Quaida? Or should we strive for more, like respect
> for free speech, privacy, elected and accountable government, equal
> protection under the law (in particular, equal rights for women)?

As the 20th century shows, any society so virulently violent will strike
again if it is not significantly altered in its memetic makeup. It
worked with Germany and Japan, and to a lesser degree, Italy and the
rest of europe. It took Russia 70 years of stubborn bullheadedness
before our 'I told you so' started to sink in.

> If we opt for the latter, are we being cultural imperialists, since
> this is blatantly not consistant with their way of life, particularly
> the last item? In such cases, is it necessarily wrong to be a cultural
> imperialist?
> NOTE: Spike & Mike & Co., please hold your fire. I already know what
> your take on this is, and it's not without merit, but this question is
> mainly addressed to the Doves. I still want to know what's more
> important, human rights or the Prime Directive, and maybe this time
> I'll get an answer.

Heh. I'll refer instead to the Ecolitan Directive (see L.E. Modesitt's
"The Ecolitan Enigma") to turn the words of a leftie against the left.

"Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose". This can apply
collectively to collectivist societies. A country that initiates force
absent of any pan-cultural standards is asking to be rehabilitated.

The difficulty, of course, is that Afghanistan, for all of its brutality
toward women, is a very chaotic place. Not very totalitarian in fact,
merely in fantasy, so holding everyone responsible as individuals is not
necessarily a good idea. S. Andrew Swann's planet Bakunin reminds me a
bit of it, if sprinkled with goats milk, Allah, and opium.

Rather, what needs rehabilitating is not the people, but the memes which
infect them. They can be looked at as innocents in all of this, as much
as any victim of the plague or smallpox. Treating Afghan society as an
epidemic, rather, that needs tight quarrantine controls along with
generous doses of anti-memetic counter-programming in the form of
information, technology, and development assistance, along with a
generous dose of education of Enlightenment philosophy and the
prohibition of Wahhabis from the country.

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