""The point is that Afghanistan has got to figure out how to get along as a nation, and there have been a lot of steps toward nation building," he said. "A lot of local warlord-type leaders have been marginalized - not all of them completely."
Mr. Boucher, who is assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, also attributed some of the chatter to political jockeying ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in Afghanistan late next year.
"That's bringing out a little more these days - resentments and alliances between groups and talk about ethnic politics, but I think there is a stronger movement toward creating a sense of nation."
The Northern Alliance was founded by mostly Uzbek and Tajik warlords and took power after the Soviet pullout in 1989. The Taliban was formed later as a Pashtun resistance to the alliance and seized control of most of Afghanistan in 1996. The Bush administration relied on the Northern Alliance to capture northern Afghanistan in 2002. Washtimes
This kind of policy formulation is derived from an excessive exposure to political science (PS) professors at an impressionable age.
PS sells the idea that human society is evolving towards higher forms. The creed in this secular religion holds that human behavior is universal in nature in all important aspects and that apparent differences are fated to disappear as mankind and its societies develop toward higher and more general forms. The form sought by the more practical is that of national states. Some of the more visionary seek the emergence of a globalized world culture and state. PS is an idea system, that originated in the age of cultural, literary and scholarly romanticism of the 19th Century. European scholars like Durkheim and Weber reflected the same set of ideas that created romantic nationalism, marxism (a very romantic idea), belief in the "Golden Ages" of various peoples, Germans, Italians, Jews, etc. For minority group scholars like Durkheim and Weber, the notion of redefining societies within a new paradigm is always attractive. The Arab World was late to the European "Romantic Age" so the creation of paradigms like Baathism, Phalangism or the Syrian Social Party came along a bit later than the European copies of this phenomenon. For the minority member, a new paradigm that does not recognize the old one that considered you to be marginal is clearly a good thing.
These State Department types are soaked in PS. It permeates their thinking as much as it does that of the Jacobins. The Defense Department is also infested with this kind of thinking since so many military area specialists and civilian policy people have been sent to graduate school in PS and/or International Relations, a related disorder and delusion.
In the early years of the Iraq adventure, the PS outlook ruled supreme on the American side. The "enlightened" sought everywhere in Iraq for opportunities to advance the interests of a unitary Iraqi state in which central government ruled supreme and ethnic, tribal and other particularist interests were ignored or suppressed. "Iraqi Man" was the goal, as it had been for the Baath. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) merely wanted a different "Iraqi Man."
It was only with the reluctant acceptance of the reality of Iraqi fractiousness and difference within the notion of Iraq, the state, that the situation in Iraq began to improve. More US troops helped, a maturation of the new Iraqi security forces helped, a willingness on the part of the Maliki government to see itself as needing Sunni Arab and Kurdish support helped. This last, of course, represented an acceptance on the part of the Maliki regime of the need to deal with the diversity of Iraqi COMMUNITIES, rather than individuals belonging to the "Iraqi Man" ethnicity. Most importantly, the acceptance by the US armed forces of the diversity of the human terrain they faced in Iraq and a newfound willingness to work with that diversity turned the tide in the struggle for Iraq. This change in US armed forces thinking occurred IN SPITE OF US national government policy, not because of it.
Now we have this man, Boucher, either sincerely or in his role as successful bureaucrat, mouthing the same crap with regard to Afghanistan that his colleagues and fellow members of the Foreign Service "club" mouthed with regard to Iraq.
There is no "Afghan Man." There will not be an "Afghan Man" in any time frame relevant to the US armed forces' efforts to pacify Afghanistan. Afghanistan was created by the Russian Empire and the British Indian Empire in an effort to build a buffer zone in a wild, high, incredibly diverse region in Central Asia that happened to be both ungovernable and located between their respective holdings. There IS NO AFGHAN PEOPLE. There are half a dozen peoples within the borders of the STATE OF AFGHANISTAN. They have never blended into one people and will not do so unless such a thing occurs at a glacial rate of evolutionary change.
Bottom Line: The US armed forces should say, YES, YES to whatever nonsense political "scientists" say about Afghanistan. At the same time, apply what you have learned about the uses of diversity. Oh, yes. Political Science is science in the same way that Alchemy and Astrology are sciences.
(originally published in 2008) pl