Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Lancebloke on Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:26 pm

FOX news.... :facepalm: 

I think there very many instances from history that we could probably learn from when it comes to the way forward in Syria. I am sure we wont though.

The bloody Russians seem to be slipping ever further in to a cold war stance and enjoy propping up regimes against the West for their own gain. The Chinese I think are saving it all up for something else and only move when they have to.

Between the US, UK and France we seem to be wanting to give everyone a piece of TNT up the arse and arent prepared to wait for any facts to support pro and against. I am sure that most facts have now been swept away by the relevant party in this latest case but I dont think we would wait if they hadnt.

I don't think we should sit and watch these people die but then I also dont know where the line should be drawn. Who do you help and who is willing to receive help for the right (by our standards) reason?

Short of nuking the lot of them I don't think there is an answer that would end in a decisive result.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by David H on Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:39 pm

Ideally I'd like to see the moderate voices empowered and the extremists on both sides marginalized. Even if the moderates aren't pro-Western (and they often aren't) you've got room for diplomacy with a moderate that you'll never have with a partisan extremist.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Mrs Figg on Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:57 pm

I think the West is dealing with a mind set in the Middle East, namely dictators using force against their own people pretty much immediately. they have these dictators who are entrenched in power for decades, the people start to call for freedoms, and violence escalates, neither side backs down as a show of force is essential on both sides, you never hear of negotations or settlements before the violence, the dictators never back down or try to calm the situation. its doomed from the start.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:06 pm

Completely inconsequential to world events but-

'The Scottish first minister has said the case for military action in Syria has not yet been made.
Speaking ahead of the security council meeting, Mr Salmond said: "The Scottish government condemns unreservedly the actions of the Assad regime over recent months and years.

"In particular, we condemn and deplore any use of chemical weapons by any party as a crime against humanity.
"If the findings of UN inspectors do point to this appalling attack having been perpetrated by the Syrian regime, Assad and those responsible should face the full accountability of the International Criminal Court."
But he said any resort to military action should "always be approached carefully, on an evidential base, and within a clear legal framework - and only after full consideration of the aims, objectives and consequences".
The first minister added: "At this stage, we consider that these criteria have not been met and therefore that the case for military action in Syria - or the UK's participation in it - has not yet been made.
"The Scottish government believes that the UN inspectors should be given the time and the full support of the international community to complete their investigations."

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:22 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Few democracies are born of peace sadly.
But once instuted, even bad democracies are better than religious regimes - like Islamism and Communism.

As to 'Exceptionalism' - if it's possible, why not? We Ozhobbits take it as the status quo. {{{American Exceptionalism, Eldo? Laughing Oh you Americans! Laughing You're funny because you don't know you're funny. Mad }}}

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:26 pm

Orwell wrote:But once instuted, even bad democracies are better than religious regimes - like Islamism and Communism.
Bad democracies have a tendency to regress into dictatorships very quickly if they're established in a country with no democratic traditions or institutions to build on.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:29 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:... ... But he said any resort to military action should "always be approached carefully, on an evidential base, and within a clear legal framework - and only after full consideration of the aims, objectives and consequences".
Shocked What? Shocked Not jump to conclusions or believe who you want to believe without due dilegence to actual fact finding? Shocked  

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:33 pm

Eldorion wrote:Bad democracies have a tendency to regress into dictatorships very quickly if they're established in a country with no democratic traditions or institutions to build on.
I'm not talking about formerly bad democracies, Eldo. In a bad democracy people still have a say and presumably there's still time to save it from not being a bad democracy anymore but a tyranny, instead, maybe even turn it back into a good democracy. Here to help! Very Happy


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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:36 pm

I get what you're saying, but I'm not sure what there is to do. You can send advisers and economists and political scientists and give the country aid and whatnot, but you can't magically transform their political culture from the outside.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:40 pm

I agree with Petty about the pain involved in the process of democratization. I do wonder though if he has the will - and the guns - to make positive change? Do we stick our nose in and commit to a long term democratization process? Not in Afghanistan we don't. Sad about women and girls, but we shouldn't stick it out, we should run away.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:44 pm

Occupying a foreign country is a lot more likely to make the people in that country resent you for invading them and killing their fellow citizens than it is to make those people want to adopt your system of government.  So yeah, we shouldn't have invaded Afghanistan in the first place, and we should leave now.

Edit: on the topic of Afghanistan, if you have 90 minutes to kill I recommend watching this documentary (or even just the first 30 minute segment if you're short on time).

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:50 pm

Eldorion wrote:Occupying a foreign country is a lot more likely to make the people in that country resent you for invading them and killing their fellow citizens than it is to make those people want to adopt your system of government.  So yeah, we shouldn't have invaded Afghanistan in the first place, and we should leave now.
Let 'em rot, hey? I'm not convinced that the majority of Afghans don't want Freedom. We only hear from Whimpy Western Liberals and a Press that won't let us hear the voices of women in Afghanistan.


"So yeah, we shouldn't have invaded Afghanistan in the first place, and we should leave now."

Yep. Wash our hands. It's not our problem. Women and girls have it good nowadays - in comparative terms - in Western Cultures. Let sleeping dogs lie.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by David H on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:50 pm

Eldorion wrote:  So yeah, we shouldn't have invaded Afghanistan in the first place, and we should leave now.

Or perhaps not have armed and empowered the radical mujahideen during the Soviet occupation in the first place?  Those training bases sure came back to haunt us!Shocked

Arms to Ideologues is always a bad idea in the long run.


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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:53 pm

Orwell wrote:Let 'em rot, hey? I'm not convinced that the majority of Afghans don't want Freedom. We only hear from Whimpy Western Liberals and a Press that won't let us hear the voices of women in Afghanistan.
If by freedom you mean foreign occupation then ... maybe seek out news sources that actually get on the ground and talk to Afghans? The documentary I posted before is as good a place to start as any.

Yep. Wash our hands. It's not our problem. Women and girls have it good nowadays - in comparative terms - in Western Cultures. Let sleeping dogs lie.
America cannot force other countries to fix their social ills. At best it's a band-aid fix that falls apart after the troops leave. And it comes with a shitload of death and human suffering on the side because that's what happens during civil wars.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:54 pm

David H wrote:Or perhaps not have armed and empowered the radical mujahideen during the Soviet occupation in the first place?  Those training bases sure came back to haunt us!Shocked 
Well yeah, if we're going back that far then it definitely would have been a good idea not to throw money at everyone who was willing to shoot at the Soviets. Incidentally I think it'd be a good idea not to throw money at everyone willing to shoot at Assad's troops too. Razz
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:54 pm

[quote="David H"]
Eldorion wrote:... Or perhaps not have armed and empowered the radical mujahideen during the Soviet occupation in the first place?  Those training bases sure came back to haunt us!Shocked 
Now, that's something I can agree with. That was democracy evily subverting itself.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:05 pm

Eldorion wrote:If by freedom you mean foreign occupation then ... maybe seek out news sources that actually get on the ground and talk to Afghans?  The documentary I posted before is as good a place to start as any.
I am not totally ignorant of events in Afghanistan, Eldo. I find this 'foreign occupation' business terribly misleading. The forces you describe support the democratic government there - yes, a bad democratic government, but better than the alternative, and one that will likely crumble without support. Women and girls will have the hope of emancipation ripped away from them. Btw I believe the use of 'foreign occupation' is disgustingly distortionist.  

Eldorion wrote:America cannot force other countries to fix their social ills.
 

I think women and girls there - if given a voice - would say they want emancipation - i.e democracy.

Eldorion wrote:At best it's a band-aid fix that falls apart after the troops leave.
If one cuts and runs, then it would have been a band-aid. If you stay the long haul, then hope blossoms.  

Eldorion wrote:And it comes with a shitload of death and human suffering on the side because that's what happens during civil wars.
If folk had fought back against Hitler during his rise, there would have been deaths, but not as many as doing nothing achieved.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:51 pm

Orwell wrote:I am not totally ignorant of events in Afghanistan, Eldo. I find this 'foreign occupation' business terribly misleading. The forces you describe support the democratic government there - yes, a bad democratic government, but better than the alternative, and one that will likely crumble without support. Women and girls will have the hope of emancipation ripped away from them. Btw I believe the use of 'foreign occupation' is disgustingly distortionist.
It's a government that only exists because of the American invasion in 2001 and that only continues to exist because we keep troops there to back it up.  If any non-democratic country on earth did the same thing (like, say, the Soviets did in the 1980s) then I can't imagine anyone being reluctant to describe it as an occupation.  I understand that you want to spread democracy, but let's not use too many double standards here.  NB our allies in Afghanistan can be pretty despicable themselves (as can we) when it comes to causing human suffering.

Orwell wrote:I think women and girls there - if given a voice - would say they want emancipation - i.e democracy.
I'm sure some would.  I'm sure some would say they don't, too.  I wish it were as simple as just liberating women and girls, though.

Orwell wrote:If one cuts and runs, then it would have been a band-aid. If you stay the long haul, then hope blossoms.
Honestly, what do you think is going to change in the future?  We've been attempting nation-building in Afghanistan for 12 years now and it isn't working.  We've discussed this topic before and your posts seem to boil down to hope but I'm wondering what concrete differences you think the US can make in Afghanistan that will be worth the suffering that continuing conflict brings.

Orwell wrote:If folk had fought back against Hitler during his rise, there would have been deaths, but not as many as doing nothing achieved.
Now you're just taking the piss.


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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by bungobaggins on Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:56 pm

David H wrote:Or perhaps not have armed and empowered the radical mujahideen during the Soviet occupation in the first place?  Those training bases sure came back to haunt us!Shocked

Arms to Ideologues is always a bad idea in the long run.
Yes! Lest we forget!

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:17 am

Eldorion wrote:It's a government that only exists because of the American invasion in 2001 and that only continues to exist because we keep troops there to back it up.
Largely true, but are you saying there is not a hunger in many for the Freedoms we have in the West? They don't want Free Speech and Freedom of movement?

Eldorion wrote:If any non-democratic country on earth did the same thing (like, say, the Soviets did in the 1980s) then I can't imagine anyone being reluctant to describe it as an occupation.
Democratic Russia? Shocked   

Eldorion wrote:I understand that you want to spread democracy, but let's not use too many double standards here.
I view democracy as a Freedom Movement. Religion and Communism are not Freedom Movements. Yes, it's my opinion. And I'd fight to preserve democracy and support it in other countries againt repressive regimes and cultures.

Eldorion wrote:NB our allies in Afghanistan can be pretty despicable themselves (as can we) when it comes to causing human suffering.
That's patently true - democracy is not always - or ever - perfect, just the best we have. Believing in democracy doesn't automatuically make you a nice person, nor a democratic government actually a 'good' government.

Eldorion wrote:I'm sure some would.  I'm sure some would say they don't, too.  I wish it were as simple as just liberating women and girls, though.
Woman is the Nigger of the world. The emancipation of women is incredibly inportant to democracy. Not something I'd be glib about. Female emancipation lies - for me - at the heart of democracy. Democracy - for me - without the emancipation of women and girls, can only ever be a partial democracy. (The same goes for the emancipation of gays and other marginal folk in Afghanistan btw). It can't happen without the support of countries who have the courage of their convictions. So, it is and it isn't as simple as liberating women and girls, but the 'belief' it has to be done is implicit to the whole thing as far as I see it.

Eldorion wrote:Honestly, what do you think is going to change in the future?  We've been attempting nation-building in Afghanistan for 12 years now and it isn't working.
It may take a hundred years - but many in Afghanistan want Western Freedoms. Ask any woman or girl in America if they should be allowed to be Educated and the vast majority would say they prefer Western Freedom to any kind Patriarchal suppression which is implicitly connected to their Right to an Education. Why not give women and girls in Afghanistan the choice too? Americans are building schools. What would an Afghanistan where all girls have access to Education and Freedom of thought be like? The Feminist Movement in the West achieved much but it hasn't been easy or without pain. Why would it be any different in Afghanistan?  Do nothing?  Is there such a thing as moral cowardice here?

Eldorion wrote:We've discussed this topic before and your posts seem to boil down to hope but I'm wondering what concrete differences you think the US can make in Afghanistan that will be worth the suffering that continuing conflict brings.
You obviously have a fixed view that the Americans are there as an occupying force and not as a support force for what a lot of people in Afghanistan want. It's dangerous in Afghanistan to voice what could loosely be called 'Western views' of Freedom. It's a suppressed country worth un-supppressing. Again, America is supporting the Afghan Government in un-suppressing it's country. But it does boil down to who you support in Afghanistan. I believe America supports democracy, and so it should.  

Eldorion wrote:
Orwell wrote:If folk had fought back against Hitler during his rise, there would have been deaths, but not as many as doing nothing achieved.
Now you're just taking the piss.
Not in the least. Not one iota. That was a truthful analogy, whether you agree that it's true or not. Agree or disagree as you please, you're in a democracy, we are allowed to differ. That was probably the most serious suggestion I made in my whole post and lies at the heart of why American-knockers rise my ire. I believe in giving credit where it's due. American democracy is not all evil. American democracy represents a lot of good. Despite it's fervent detractors - both internal or external - it is largely a robust democracy supporting Free thought and movement.  

David made a good point about America supporting Islamist forces against the Russians. That was bad democracy. Supporting the Afghan Freedom Movements and democracy is ethical democratic behaviour. But it is a painful committment when lives are lost, even in a worthy cause.


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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:37 am

I'm too tired to do a full point-by-point response right now so I'm going to make just a few brief points.

1. There is a big difference between Western (or American) style democracy as it is practiced domestically and the the idea that you can convert other countries to democracy by invading them.  I'm down with the first idea, but the second one hasn't been born out by history.

2. I have trouble taking you seriously when you go on about the "Afghan freedom movement".  Are you familiar with the government of Afghanistan?  It was set up by the Northern Alliance, which fought alongside US troops during the 2001 invasion.  The Northern Alliance is/was anti-Taliban as well as anti-Communist, but it's hardly a model of democracy.  The commanders of the Northern Alliance were warlords responsible for atrocities just the same as every other faction in the Afghan Civil War, and their successors in the current government of Afghanistan are similarly interested in their own power.  Remember the widespread electoral fraud carried out by the government during Hamid Karzai's 2009 re-election?

I know that you're just going to say that he's better than the alternative, because that's what you always say, but if you honestly believe that 100 years of civil war and foreign troops on Afghan soil is going to lead to democracy then you're deluding yourself.  Democracy emerges from stable, albeit non-democratic societies, not directly from civil war.  But as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan they will continue to prop up a corrupt, ineffective government that does not enjoy widespread support and will continue to give the Taliban easy propaganda material because lots of people don't like having foreign troops stationed in their country, regardless of their feelings about democracy.

The paternalism and the willful disregard of history inherent in the idea that we can successfully implant democracy in Afghanistan just by staying the course is mind-boggling to me.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Eldorion on Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:44 am

Basically, if you want a majority of Afghans to support democracy, then it would be good to separate the pro-democracy faction from the pro-foreign military involvement faction.  Believe it or not, a lot of people aren't actually yearning to be like the West, but if more people are going to come around, it'll be because of genuinely local democracy movements, not groups that are perceived as allies or puppets of foreign countries that have invaded the country recently.
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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:07 am

Eldorion wrote:I'm too tired to do a full point-by-point response right now so I'm going to make just a few brief points.

1. There is a big difference between Western (or American) style democracy as it is practiced domestically and the the idea that you can convert other countries to democracy by invading them.  I'm down with the first idea, but the second one hasn't been born out by history.
'Convert' - or 'support' local movements? An Afghani Democracy would not be a carbon copy of an American (or European, or Australian or Japanese) Democracy btw. Every democracy eventually plies it's own course.


Eldorion wrote:2. I have trouble taking you seriously when you go on about the "Afghan freedom movement".
You hold me and Afghan Freedom Movements in contempt then. You say they don't exist? They can be almost completely invisible in suppressed countries.  

Eldorion wrote: Are you familiar with the government of Afghanistan?  It was set up by the Northern Alliance, which fought alongside US troops during the 2001 invasion.  The Northern Alliance is/was anti-Taliban as well as anti-Communist, but it's hardly a model of democracy.  The commanders of the Northern Alliance were warlords responsible for atrocities just the same as every other faction in the Afghan Civil War, and their successors in the current government of Afghanistan are similarly interested in their own power.  Remember the widespread electoral fraud carried out by the government during Hamid Karzai's 2009 re-election?
Politics makes strange bedfellows. We're talking about nascent democracy here. The starting point. Full blooded democracy is not a simple thing to achieve, remember.

Eldorion wrote:I know that you're just going to say that he's better than the alternative, because that's what you always say, but if you honestly believe that 100 years of civil war and foreign troops on Afghan soil is going to lead to democracy then you're deluding yourself.  Democracy emerges from stable, albeit non-democratic societies, not directly from civil war.  But as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan they will continue to prop up a corrupt, ineffective government that does not enjoy widespread support and will continue to give the Taliban easy propaganda material because lots of people don't like having foreign troops stationed in their country, regardless of their feelings about democracy.
You're right about what I'd say, Eldo. You got me there. And I hold to it. But the idea is not to prop up a corrupt Government - or I hope not - but to encourage the development of a healthy democratic state - in time.  (Thank you for noticing how consistent my view is, Eldo. It's good that you recognize I'm committed to my principles). (I might be taking the piss here a little - but if you are going to cast put-downs, then you must expect that reaction from a pompous chap like me. Very Happy  I cite: 'I know that you're just going to say that he's better than the alternative, because that's what you always say...' Accurate statement and cheap shot - congrats. Very Happy )  

Eldorion wrote:The paternalism and the willful disregard of history inherent in the idea that we can successfully implant democracy in Afghanistan just by staying the course is mind-boggling to me.
I wonder how far you can take this 'implant' business. I think you have an ideological view there. The word 'support' comes to mind again. You don't like Karzai's Government. And maybe a better party needs to be elected. Maybe I agree. That's democracy.

I find your contention that Afghanis don't want genuine personal Freedom quite hard to stomach. My view is that all humans want to ply their own course in life - even fanatics. The difference between fanatics (Religionists and Ideologues) and democrats is that genuine democrats believe in live and let live but fanatics believe in do as I say or die. I say this fully aware I have an 'ideological' view on democracy and the freedom of women and what needs to be done, except that I would tolerate difference, the other kind of ideologue doesn't.

I do worry about how casual you are regards the true victims in Afghanistan - women and girls. I don't think it is paternal to accord women and girls a fair go and support them in their emancipation from 'paternalism'.

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:36 am

Thinking more on this, can I suggest you read 'Reading Lolita in Iran', Eldo. It is a good excursion into the life of women under a repressive (but not quite Taliban-repressive) regime.

(The 'journalism' in the doco you posted, btw, seems obvious. Journalism is a degraded art nowadays, I reckon. I guess - in part - it stirs one, but I suspect a political viewpoint underpins it. 'Reading Lolita' is a more honest kind of thing. Can't explain in a few words - but read it and see if you see what I see. If you see something else to what I see, that's okay - I'm tolerant of difference, you know. Very Happy ).

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Re: Should America/NATO support Syrian resistance the way it did in Libya?

Post by Orwell on Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:18 am

Eldorion wrote:Basically, if you want a majority of Afghans to support democracy, then it would be good to separate the pro-democracy faction from the pro-foreign military involvement faction.  Believe it or not, a lot of people aren't actually yearning to be like the West, but if more people are going to come around, it'll be because of genuinely local democracy movements, not groups that are perceived as allies or puppets of foreign countries that have invaded the country recently.
Missed the above earlier. You were posting while I was scribing, methinks. Very Happy 

"Basically, if you want a majority of Afghans to support democracy, then it would be good to separate the pro-democracy faction from the pro-foreign military involvement faction."


Why? You said yourself that without American support - or even with American support, and we must agree to disagree there - democracy will fail.

"Believe it or not, a lot of people aren't actually yearning to be like the West, but if more people are going to come around, it'll be because of genuinely local democracy movements, not groups that are perceived as allies or puppets of foreign countries that have invaded the country recently."

So say you - and of course some would see it that way. The question for me is who and how many hold that view. And Western influences are already in the country anyway. Afghanistan has never been totally isolated from Western influence.  And cultural influences in the modern world flow readily back and forth and all about. In that sense, we are being influenced by Afghan culture too. Contact equals influence. The idea is that people have a say in their own country - like voters in democracies do. The culture must react under those condition as it pleases.

I don't see that America is telling Afghanis how to live per se, or how Afghani 'culture' should manifest itself, providing it's toilet trained , i.e. respects the Freedom of thought and movement of the individual. Okay, America is advocating that Universal Suffrage is better than religious tyranny, so that must influence culture, but nonetheless it will be an Afghani cultural change, self-adapted, not Americanisation as such.

Suddenly I'm remembering something... Remember the Pilgrim Fathers' thoughts on Freedom? Are thery unworthy thoughts? Are they worthy of being embarrassed about if you're an American? (Actually, extend those laudable aspirations on Freedom of Religion - and Freedom generally - to women and girls and you have my whole view pretty much in a nutshell).  

You know civilized civilisation should be allowed to spread without folk being embarrased about it. Democracy is a 'political' philosophy all said and done, not a strict personification of modern "Western' culture itself. It was in it's most nascent form an ideal of the Ancient Greeks which long preceded Islam and, in a sense, is even more archaic and old fashioned than Islam, though still an excellent and workable idea that can bring Freedom of thought and movement in spite of it's archaism. It requires commitment though. Sadly, some of us can be a bit... err... un-commited, what! Very Happy

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