Sunday, March 22, 2009

Afghanistan's Delusion of Sovereignty or How the West Wants to Topple Hamid Karzai

Afghanistan is a sovereign nation, right? It's had a parliamentary election and another is just months away. It has a constitution. It has a judiciary. It has a president and a cabinet and a legislature. It has an army and a national police force. That sounds pretty much like a sovereign state - only it's not.

A report in The Guardian claims that the US and key European allies want to bypass president Hamid Karzai by "appointing" a prime minister to serve as Afghanistan's chief executive. They're also looking at ways to bypass Kabul so that aid money goes directly to the provinces.

Many US and European officials have become disillusioned with the extent of the corruption and incompetence in the Karzai government, but most now believe there are no credible alternatives, and predict the Afghan president will win re-election in August.

...A diplomat with knowledge of the review said: "Karzai is not delivering. If we are going to support his government, it has to be run properly to ensure the levels of corruption decrease, not increase. The levels of corruption are frightening."

Another diplomat said alternatives to Karzai had been explored and discarded: "No one could be sure that someone else would not turn out to be 10 times worse. It is not a great position."

"Not a great position" indeed. It's sort of like toppling the very government the West installed. This should send droves of nationalists flocking to join the ranks of the insurgency. Worse yet, it will give some of the corrupt warlords who've been sitting on the fence reason to also begin supporting the insurgency. After all, if Karzai is going to be sidelined by the West, it undermines the warlords' motivation to support the central government which could be enough to nudge the insurgency into a full-blown civil war.

The risk for the US is that the imposition of a technocrat alongside Karzai would be viewed as colonialism, even though that figure would be an Afghan. Karzai declared his intention last week to resist a dilution of his power. Last week he accused an unnamed foreign government of trying to weaken central government in Kabul.

"That is not their job," the Afghan president said. "Afghanistan will never be a puppet state."

Oh yeah? Says who?

No comments: