Sunday, September 26, 2004

# Posted 1:51 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE AFGHAN MEME: Suddenly, there is a spreading wave of optimism about a nation most of us had given up for lost. Leading the charge is Peter Bergen, whose liberal credentials force you to take his optimism seriously (although MY raises some concerns about the accuracy of his report). One also has to give credit to OxBlog's most excellent correspondent in Kabul, whose first-hand observations have garnered the attention of Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds, and the National Review.

My gut instinct is that this is all too good to be true. But that's all I have to go on. Just like everyone else, I've paid a lot more attention to Iraq than I have to Afghanistan. At first blush, the impending success of the Afghan presidential elections seems like a major victory for George W. Bush. But what does it say about this administration or about the United States that things are far better off in the country where we only have a handful of troops and have kept a much lower profile throughout the occupation?

With the benefit of hindsight, we'll probably realize that Afghanistan was simply much closer to being "ready" for democracy than Iraq. For some reason, the warlords and the heroin trafficking and the ethnic divisions didn't wreck the occupation. Even so, the prospect of success in Afghanistan only underlines how violent Iraq has become.

UPDATE: Brian Ulrich isn't so optimistic about the upcoming Afghan election.
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