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Afghanistan ‘will continue to tempt external actors to play out geopolitical games’
Posted by The Agonist on March 30th, 2010

From our partners at The Agonist

Let’s say everything works out as well as we could hope. AQ remains exiled. The insurgency shatters and most of the fighters reconcile. What is left is a desperately poor country, with a massive military (relative to its population and wealth), and an entire economic elite whose way of life is built around diverting international aid dollars.

. . . writes Bernard Finel at his website. . .

Corruption in Afghanistan… and the Future of Afghanistan


Run with that scenario for 10 years or 15. Maybe it turns into South Korea, but more likely you get a dysfunctional state, prone to military coups, and constantly being threatened by competition among elites for a bigger piece of the pie. It remains a country that for a variety of reasons will continue to tempt external actors to play out geopolitical games — the Iranians looking to manage their Balochi problems, Indians looking tweak the Pakistanis, Pakistanis trying to create “strategic depth.” In the meantime, various and sundry jihadis will continue to focus on the country due to its connection to the “glory days” of the 1980s. The best case is simply not likely to transition into a sustainable state. And of course, the United States will want to remain involved until the place is stable, and yet our actions while perhaps managing short-term challenges probably undermines the possibility of a long-term solution. The Afghan war is the epitome of a worldview focused on the in-box — crisis management over strategic planning.

Do Agonist readers think there’s any chance of Afghanistan becoming a sustainable state? Is the U.S. expediting or retarding that process?

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