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

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 15:22:23 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 laudable as these things are, we have absolutely no right to
impose any system of government on Afghanistan or any other

> 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?

Force is force. It would be meaningless for these things to be
imposed rather than coming from the people themselves.

> 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.

What is important is ending the current violence and creating to
the extent possible, starting from what is already present, an
environment that a more civil and healthy country may grow out
of. What is most needful is to create a process for the
resolution of conflict that does not depend on violence and the
forceful imposition of religious or other dictates on the entire
population. I don't know if there is space to fully get there
or how close it is possible to get. What won't happen is that
Afghanistan will not become like a little US culturally or
politically any time soon. I don't think it would be terribly
good if it did.

- samantha

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