Afghanistan has been out of the news for some time since the Middle Easter revolutions took hold. I am confident it will arise again once the July deadline starts to draw near. Until then, Ted Galen Carpenter writes for the National Interest the American hubris of nation building. In particular these paragraphs really resonate with me:
Similar requirements existed in the program to improve municipal governments. Bids needed to have measures to develop a “gender strategy that supports the inclusion of women in municipal governance,” a commitment to “implement gender awareness courses,” and establish “leadership training for women” in municipal governance. The key goal was to have women constitute 30 percent of the work force in such governments. This isn’t merely nation building. It’s not even merely nation building on steroids. It is nation building on crack. America’s social engineering bureaucrats actually seem to think they can impose 21st century Western standards of gender equality on a pre-industrial, tribal society based on a highly patriarchal religion. Not surprisingly, USAID has had to greatly dilute its standards for bidding on Afghan contracts, since it soon became clear that there was no chance of any firm achieving such ambitious goals. That tactical shift, in turn, has led to allegations that the Obama administration is abandoning its commitment to Afghan women.Afghanistan would certainly be a much better place if women there enjoyed equal rights instead of occupying, as they do today, a status midpoint between male children and family pets. But it is not a proper function of U.S. foreign policy to risk the lives of military personnel and spend hundreds of billions of tax dollars in a quixotic crusade to transform other societies.