Charles Krauthammer (reg required) applauds nation-building in Kabul, and ponders the reasons why things have gone better there than in Baghdad. Is it possible that Afghanistan's backwardness has been an advantage?

"Iraq has for decades been exposed to the ideas of political modernism -- fascism and socialism as transmuted through Baathism (heavily influenced by the European political winds of the 1920s and '30s) to which Saddam Hussein added the higher totalitarianism of his hero, Stalin. This history has succeeded in devaluing and delegitimizing secular ideologies, including liberal-democratic ones. In contrast, Afghanistan had suffered under years of appalling theocratic rule, which helped to legitimize the kind of secularist democracy that Karzai represents.

Furthermore, Afghanistan had the ironic advantage of having just come out of a quarter-century of civil war. As in Europe after World War II, the exhaustion that follows is conducive to pursuing power by peaceful political means. In contrast, Iraq's Baathists, fresh from 30 years of unimpeded looting and killing, are quite prepared to ignite a civil war in pursuit of the power and privileges they have lost."
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2004/12/progress-charles-krauthammer-reg.html|||12/10/2004 10:45:00 am|||||||||