November 18, 2004

Who's Responsible for Nation Building?

From a 2002 interview of Condoleeza Rice by Jay Nordlinger:

JN: Do we take a less dim view of nation-building than we used to? Many of us used to say, "That's blue-helmet work, we should leave that to the pale blue hats," and so on.

CR: I don't think we ever had a dim view of nation-building. We had a dim view of nation-building done by the 82nd Airborne. . . . But there clearly is a recognition that in a place like Afghanistan, our war aims were to defeat al-Qaeda, defeat the Taliban, but also to leave Afghanistan more stable, so that it doesn't return to its awful past. And in order to do that, you have to enter into a partnership with the Afghans to build their nation.

One of the problems with the concept of nation-building is that it implies it's our job to do. But of course, it's really the responsibility of the people themselves, with international help, to build their nation.

So how do you keep the balance, especially when people in a dictatorship are heavily conditioned to be passive? Unfortunately, the answer that seems to be coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan is, to a certain extent, let them bleed while not letting them fail. I wish it weren't. I truly do wish there was a better way. So far, one has yet to appear and our loyal opposition does not seem to be overly concerned with improving the Bush solution to this problem. Perhaps they should. It would certainly improve our country's results and their electoral prospects as well.

Posted by TMLutas at November 18, 2004 09:16 AM