Small Wars Journal

The United States Cannot Force Stability on Afghanistan

The United States Cannot Force Stability on Afghanistan by Jerrod A. Laber - The National Interest

Afghan officials have begun counting ballots from the country’s parliamentary elections, even as a suicide bomber targeted the election headquarters in Kabul early Monday morning. Voters in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan went to the polls this past Saturday, October 27, delayed by a week due to an insider attack that killed regional police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq and intelligence chief Gen. Abdul Momin, while wounding Gen. Jeffrey Smiley, the head of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan. The rest of the country voted last weekend, and election day violence killed at least fifty people.

Despite these attacks on the heel of a very violent election season—in which ten candidates were killed—the Pentagon continues to insist that U.S. efforts in Afghanistan are working: “The ANDSF [Afghan defense forces] security is working,” Col. Rob Manning said last Monday, October 22. “By all accounts, our assessment is the South Asia strategy is working.” This is wrong, and no one should buy it. The strategy is not working and it’s long past time we end this war.

The Pentagon argues that the elections occurring, combined with the fact that attacks are down by two-thirds compared to the 2010 elections, is proof that progress is being made. But the elections were delayed by three years due to security concerns, and 2010 was the highpoint of the war. There were more than one hundred thousand troops present then, as opposed to the ten to fifteen thousand fighting there now . Of course, insurgent violence is going to drop when the occupying force drastically decreases its numbers…

Read on.


Is it "stability" that we have tried to force on Afghanistan -- at the expense, for example, of "transformation" (more along modern western political, economic, social and value lines)?

Or is it "transformation" -- more along modern western political, economic, social and value lines -- that we have tried to force on Afghanistan; this, at the expense of "stability?"


... Western concepts differ fundamentally from those prevalent in other civilizations.  Western ideas of individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free markets, the separation of church and state, often have little resonance in Islamic, Confucian, Japanese, Hindu, Buddhist or Orthodox cultures.  Western efforts to propagate such ideas produce instead a reaction against "human rights imperialism" and a reaffirmation of indigenous values ...


(From S.P. Huntington's 1993 "The Clash of Civilizations."  See the section entitled "The West Versus the Rest.")

From a broader perspective, thus to understand how:

a.  Throughout the world today, the U.S./the West has sacrificed "stability" for "transformation."  And, thus, why -- much like the "transformation"-driven Soviets/communists before us -- 

b.  Likewise today the U.S./the West must, now, prepare for both large and small wars.