Monday, September 19

Would President Karzai care to call the US 2006 elections?

Bruce Kesler, who in recent months has been churning out one great essay after another for the Democracy Project, just send me his latest post; it contains this delicious news:
Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, had perhaps the most accurate prediction of the inconclusive German elections. “I think you very soon will see in Europe an exhaustion of political parties,” Karzai told an interviewer from Der Spiegel, the text of which appeared one day before Germany’s elections.
Bruce goes on to note:
Karzai’s interview is full of wisdom and insight into the situation in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. For example, he distinguishes between the colonialist border-drawing that made modern Iraq, contributing to its internal divisions, compared to that not being the origin of Afghanistan’s composition, and that Afghans have a long tradition of building consensus compared to less experience with that among Iraqis.
Well. What with consensus-building busting out all over in Afghanistan, and with Germans in a snit at both their major political parties -- wouldn't it be an interesting reversal if the world's youngest democracies taught a civics lesson to old Europe's?

But then this turn of events would be displaying an established pattern. After World War Two, the United States lavished attention on Germany and Japan's political process. When Americans put considerable attention (and yes, considerable funds and patience) into nursing along democracy in other countries, democracy blooms.

I wouldn't discount the efforts by many determined Iraqis to hold their country together. The Iran-Syria funded terrorist attempts to create a civil war in Iraq are having the opposite effect. Yet consensus building is of course a process that takes considerable ongoing citizen involvement; Iraq's experience at this time is a strong reminder of this for Americans -- and Germans. If you can't always have what you want, it's self-destructive to hold to a standoff that hurts the entire country.

Bruce's correspondence with David at Medienkritik blog has yielded a hopeful speculation about Germany's troop involvement in Afghanistan. For this and the rest of Bruce's post, click here.

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