Friday, November 7, 2008

World Bank E Conference on Afghanistan [2001] - 8


Sat Dec 01 2001 - 03:23:46 EST

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Dear All,

The recent Developments in Afghanistan , reveal that the problems are far from being solved

1. The withdrawal of one member of the Northern Alliance from the talks in Bonn ( Star News ).

Does anybody know it was and why they have left?

2. The UN has offered three proposals for a security force

a. An Afghan force

b. A UN peace keeping force

c. an international security force

UN officials have indicated that an International force would be more realistic , but the Northeren Alliance chief delegate Younus Quanooni said the Alliance can handle the task itself. Depsite these claims eight foriegn journalists have been shot dead over the last several weeks . Un offiicials have also expressed concerns over unconfirmed reports that the Northeren Alliance have massacred hundreds of civilians and captured soldiers in thier push against the Taliban - Times of India 30th November. ( What sort of government will they offer if this is any indication ?

3. A $ 80 billion international package is being offered as an incentive to hammer out a solution. ( Economic Times 30th November).

4. A formula for an interim council, with 21 members from the northern Alliance and 21 from Zaheer Shah factions , till a National council of tribal leaders can be formed is being worked out ( Times of India 30th November ). An unstated fear is that Afghanistan may be looking for a shift in power from South to North . This may prompt countries like Iran to hasten a split in the country British Foriegn sectretary Jack Straw went to Tehran a couple of days ago in this connection. This concern became evident when Saudi Arabia made public a proposal to jointly control South
Afghanistan with Pakistan to preserve thier interests and that of the Taliban .The proposal has been rejected by the International community and the idea of splitting Afghanistan was denounced by Lakhdar Brahimi . The destruction of the Taliban has made the apprehension of a shift in power a reality. ( Times of India 30th November).

5. The US led coalition still needs the Northern Alliance to complete military operations.
( Economic Times 30th November ).It must be noted here that the intial plan of getting Osama Bin Laden has been submerged in the melee ( the real concerns as to the need for US military presence in the region is coming to the fore ) . The problems of Afghanistan can only be solved by the people of that country, no amount of meddling in its internal affairs will help. It is quite clear that all counties like America Britian, Russia, India, Iran and Pakistan really want is force the people of Afghanistan into a situation where a suitable puppet government can be installed ( will this happen with such diversity of interests and concerns and no real love for the people to boot !! ). Only a genuine militant peace movement can help to put an end to these machinations
Viren Lobo

Reynaldo Pareja

Fri Nov 30 2001 - 14:33:01 EST
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Very well expressed thoughts,specially those dealing with the equilibrium needed at the international level for all participating nations. There is no way we will get to the point of world governance if all the countries do not have an equal voice and vote in deciding what is best for them.

Reynaldo Pareja
Washington D.C.- USA
Marco Giaconi

Sat Dec 01 2001 - 06:32:47 EST
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Dear All,

Quite exact. But the fact is that European Union is a bundle of different strategies via vis the peripherical and third world areas; so USA is the only superpower to have things done. As an european strategist, and as a friend of american democracy (which is, by the way, a real fact) I would like a joint effort to pay for the reconstruction of a democratic Afghanistan, knowing that the only working democracy is the one based on the political freedom for every single citizen.

So, we should be going to pay for operations which determine the disruption of clan-based societies.

I don't think that islamic religion is at stake. Taliban way of using the Holy Koran for their purposes is an old trick. Establishing a free and correct knowledge of islamic laws should be a priority. We have a wonderful organization to be heared and respected in the islamic world: the Catholic Church of John Paul II. An effective collaboration of western powers with the Roman Church should work wonders.

Marco Giaconi
Director of Research
Centro Militare di Studi Strategici

Very well expressed thoughts,specially those dealing
with the equilibrium
needed at the international level for all
participating nations. There is no
way we will get to the point of world governance if
all the countries do not
have an equal voice and vote in deciding what is
best for them.

Reynaldo Pareja
Washington D.C.- USA


Sat Dec 01 2001 - 15:34:59 EST
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To those who see no role for the US or other "outsiders," consider the views of Alan Schwartz in his NY Times (12/1/01) article, "Getting at the Roots of Arab Poverty."Even though the poverty of Muslim countries is not America's doing, the United States may be able to help these nations work their way out of it. We can push them toward more constructive economic policies with free-trade treaties, like the one we have with Jordan, and through our influence with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. We can explain, loudly and often, the link between local economic performance and local political institutions. We should support local democratic movements not only because of the intrinsic merits of democracy, but because it is more difficult to pursue bad economic policies when one's citizens can openly criticize them. Sept. 11 has taught us anew how important it is for the United States to take this kind of active interest. If we do not promote economic growth in Muslim nations, we will by default promote growth in the supply of potential terrorists.

Alan Schwartz is a professor of law and management at Yale.
S. Hackbarth
NYC Public Schools

Fri Nov 30 2001 - 19:00:43 EST
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Dear Participants,

I have followed with interest the discussion so far, which has increased my understanding of a region of the world where I do not have direct experience. I have, however, spent 30 years working in international development on issues of governance, administrative reform, policy implementation, and public management, including living overseas in a country undergoing a period of regime transition, violence, political conflict, and social upheaval. I would like to share a few thoughts that I hope will be helpful in considering the question of "Where do we go from here?"

One of the common threads I see in the discussion so far about where to go/what to do relates to sequencing. Experience and the literature on post-conflict transitions posit a generalized sequence of restoration (of physical infrastructure, basic services, key government functions), reform (political, economic, social, military), and consolidation (building the capacity of new organizations and systems, increasing efficiency and effectiveness, making adaptations and changes along the way). All of these steps appear in various of the contributors' messages. Debates revolve around:

1) whether reconstruction and economic development activities can or should take place before a political settlement is reached,

2) whether efforts should start at the local community level or at the center, and

3) whether change can take place without the restoration of some degree of hope and optimism.

The enormous complexity of the Pakistan-Afghanistan situation means that any sequence will necessarily be multi-track, with parallel and intersecting activities going on at all levels. There will not be one sequence but many sequences. This suggests that restoration-reform- consolidation sequences will proceed iteratively and in cycles, building on small successes, experiencing setbacks and reversals, and then moving forward progressively. I think that what this means for the dialogue is that there is no single "correct" sequence of what to do or where to
start. It becomes very important, then, to note the interconnections among the starting points and the actions taken, as for example, Professor Kee's observations about decentralization and Mr. Mecklai's arguments for community-based leadership.

Whichever restoration-reform-consolidation sequences are pursued in rebuilding Afghanistan and the region, I would argue that the process of pursuing change will be more successful if the change agents (whether international donors, NGOs, Afghan civil servants, community leaders, etc.) pay attention to a set of tasks that come out of work on policy implementation but can be applied more broadly to change efforts of nearly any variety.

The tasks include:

Legitimization, or getting the particular change idea accepted as legitimate, important, desirable, and worth achieving. An important outcome of this task is the emergence of a "champion" (an individual or group who believes in the change) to take on leadership.

Constituency Building, or gaining active support for the proposed change from groups that see it as desirable or beneficial. This support needs to translate into commitment to take actions that will help to achieve the change objectives.

Resource Accumulation means ensuring that funds, equipment, and human resource allocations are sufficient to support the implementation requirements for the change. Accomplishing this task can involve a variety of activities: for example, lobbying constituencies to contribute resources, negotiating with donors or other agencies for funding, designing new resource allocation systems, and so on.Organizational Design/Structure involves adjusting the objectives, procedures, systems, and structures of existing implementation agencies, or sometimes establishing new organizations, formal or informal.

Mobilizing Actions builds upon the favorable constituencies for change and marshals their commitment and resources to engage in concrete efforts to make change happen. Its focus is on identifying, activating, and pursuing action strategies.

Monitoring Impact involves setting up and using systems to monitor progress. Monitoring systems not only alert change agents to roadblocks, but also inform them of the intended and unintended impacts of their efforts. While these tasks may sound like so much common sense as I have listed them here, it is surprising how many reform efforts run into problems by ignoring or treating superficially one or more of the tasks, particularly legitimization and constituency-building. In the rush to action that characterizes crisis and post-crisis situations, assumptions that everyone agrees with what needs to be done and supports the change can be misplaced.

I interpret a number of the dialogue participants' emails as indicators that a great deal of work needs to be put into creating legitimacy and building constituencies, not just for political reform, but for the technical and sectoral interventions envisioned for Afghanistan as well. While it may be a clich to talk about building local ownership for reform and rebuilding, there is a solid grain of truth there. Outsiders can help(setting aside for the moment the real or imagined transgressions of agencies like the World Bank and the IMF), but Afghan leadership at many levels, among men and women, from all ethnic backgrounds will be critical to sustain change. Choosing the new path and the sane future for Afghanistan that the moderator of Topic 2 refers to in his summary requires attention to how to move along the path as well as where it should lead.

Derick W. Brinkerhoff
Principal Social Scientist
Abt Associates Inc.
4800 Montgomery Lane, Suite 600
Bethesda, MD 20814 USA
Sat Dec 01 2001 - 00:13:05 EST
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Hello Derrick and Fellows:

I concur completely with your assessments. I have called for a task force to structure an implementation framework. I have suggested that the UN Energy Trust and other funding methods be approached by the collaborative task force for the funding.

One UN constituent of Afghanistan has expressed interest in a pilot project. I have explained that there are several levels which can be discussed for the "economy of scale." Job creation, food production and energy generating with water developments are feasible in my estimation and can or rather ought to be begun.

A term "Gestalt" is used currently in "Sustainability" discussions. It is mirrored in the ecological or ecosystem approach to watersheds and the "Web of Life." Derrick Brinkerhoff is suggesting a "Gestalt" approach and describes what we can expect when implemented.The approach to a single goal may be different by many different people or agencies. The goal is related to the recovery and the sustainability of the community, the economy and the environment where these elements constitute a healthy situation for improvements.

All three elements have constituent subset elements or are themselves constituents of one another in the interconnected and interrelated Gestalt.

Derick discusses what is known as "Adaptive Management" where a project or activity can begin without complete scientific certainty. Nor is a complete consensus required, but all will understand the activity and have knowledge by the data from monitoring and evaluation which permits timely adjustments or adaptation. A very scientifically sound progression of actions. Perhaps the UN should be a monitoring agency with a "Sunset" on that after sufficient evaluation.

I do have a project that will help several endangered species, it feeds them. Trees are grown and fish can be helped. Siberian Tigers can be helped and although humans are not listed as endangered species, which could be argued, nevertheless be fed as well. More than that, it would be able to improve the Global Climate Change condition create jobs and more.

I agree that it takes a community, I cannot do it alone. I do not however want a well paid bureaucrat to tell me to be a donor. I have honest expences and good intentions. I will openly discuss my plans that I am working on that can benefit our discussion in a technical way and perhaps earn the wise investments by the community. The working title was, "Lowering The Greenhouse Gas With Green Greenhouses". It would qualify for the Climate Trust request for proposals to begin early 2002. You can visit the Internet site at and you may wish to visit for some insight. The project is a Gestalt. The project is where we need to go from here. I will submit some framework details next.

Best regards,
Clouston Energy Research
Sidney Clouston

Fri Nov 30 2001 - 23:06:35 EST
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rightly noted that:

"Overall, the importance of education was highlighted, particularly because only education provides people with the ability to know their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and to articulate and advocate for their own priorities. One writer also stressed the importance of ensuring that women are again able to participate fully in Afghan society. While another questioned whether he emphasis on existing local institutions would be constructive, given hat they often exclude women and the poor." >>

The constructive role of women, and of their informed participation in society has been alluded to by some, and their present exclusion has been noted by others. However, even "isolated" North Americans have become keenly aware of the vicious misogyny, perhaps rooted in dread of female sexuality, that leads to the abortion, genital mutilation, starvation, acid burning, social
exclusion, early/forced marriage, imprisonment, and outright murder of countless innocent girls and women, concentrated along the "Islamic Crescent" (MENA, Indonesia).

Such pervasive maltreatment of females at every level, from tribal "custom" to legal neglect threatens to undermine all efforts at reconstruction left to the men, and a few token females, as blind to their own prejudices and rationalizations as Americans allegedly are to theirs.

Since the powers that be will continue to exert their own influences for their own gains, the hope for the future will rest a great deal on any concessions given at this time to the education of girls and women. Recall that James Grant, former Executive Director of UNICEF, referred to the education of women as the "Trojan Horse" in the campaign for human rights and development.

Thus I join with the voices here advocating meaningful female participation, and more equitable access to health, education, and social services.

S. Hackbarth
NYC Public Schools
"Teach a girl to fish, and you will transform civilization."
Nadeem Haque
Sat Dec 01 2001 - 07:35:50 EST

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Let us try once again to review the problem in the realm of reality and history.

I notice tha people are suggesting the empowerment of women and education as well as restoration/reform sequence as a possible remedy for the problems that Afghanistan faces. I do agree wholeheartedly that the eventual answer will involve those "motherhood and applie pie" elements. owever, I do think that there is a hint of Islamaphobia in these suggestions. The implication is that the answer lies only in a reformation of Islam-- a thesis that has reached fever pitch in recent days. We do need a historian to remind us that the Muslim world had undertaken such a task early in the 20th centruy before the "great game" and oil overtook them. Let me remind you.

Led by Kamal AtaTurk, Turkey began a process of modernization and reform. This included women where the veil was dropped and women adopted the mdoern dress--skirts and jeans. They were in the workforce and in education.

This ws not restricted to Turkey but spread to Iran, Iraq, Egypt and indeed Afghansitan.

As late as the eighties, this situation prevailed in Afghnistan. Even today, Iraq, Egypt, the gulf states, Palestine and all other Muslim coutnries apart from Iran and Afghanistan retain this. Islamic scholars like Iqbal had already started a rethinking in Islam which the repressive states in the post war era have slowly been marginalizing.

What Happened? Some solid scholarhsip is necessary here. But its is important to remember that the post-second world war period saw the rise of Saudi funding and US backing for conservative Islam and repressive regimes.Oil-based and domestic lobbies developed an inequitable arrangement for the muslim countries.

Democracy in the middle east as well modernization was discouraged by the west as it could lead to rising nationalism. Witness what happened to Nasser. Democracy was destroyed in Iran and a medieval harsh kingdom installed. Instead of tempering the Shah, he was provided with intelligence and arms for oppression at home. Small wonder that we had fundamentalism as the only response.

Reaactionary policies in Saudi Arabia, including the financing of fundamentalism is encouraged even today. Do we know what happened to Faisal? Israel-centered policies established a dualistic policy that marginalized liberalism and strengthened reaction and fundamentalism.

Even a liberal Saudi investor, who is asking openly for electiosn at home, is insulted when he makes a donation to NYC for WTC vicitms only because he says that the US should be fair in its dealings with the Middle East. hile I agree that the answer lies in these good things--refomration, emanicpation and education of women-- the enabling environement of an awakening for fairness and justice that goes beyond aerial bombardment in the West is needed. Islam will moderinse and awaken if the "great game" allows the people to focus on themsleves.

For example, why was Saddam Husain left to oppress his people for 10 years? Why was the job not finished with the establishment of democracy then. Indeed we do not even question, why was Saddm husain armed against Iran. Was it only the hostage crisis? How many times do the poor Iraqis who are a gentle liberal people have to pay for their oil.

Pakistan, a poor debt ridden country is still waiting some 15 years later for its payment for some F16s to be returned or planes delivered. Why can this money not be spent on education in Paksitan?

The answer lies in th adoption of sound and just prinicples that are equally applicable to all. Otherwise the Muslim population regards those of us who preach modernization with suspiscion. For whichever way they go, the curse of oil, Balfour, and Islamaphobia will not let them progress. And that brings them back to the hatred of the America. And it is interesting that despite so many lives being lost, the myth that all Muslim society's problems are within it and that Taliban are representative of Muslims.

I strongly object. Talbian should not be confused with Islam. They were a product of the "great game" produced by very clever tacticians sitting in metorpolitan centers living of well-funded, powerful lobbies. Please do not insult a people for the stupidity and venality of such experts. Why not engage them?

How many US voices--expert and military-- had said in the nineties that the Taliban were brave trustworthy and necessary? So many liberal voices (eg Ahmed Rashid) in the Muslim world were not listened to then.Sometimes, I get the feeling that there is no one really listening to the voices of the Muslims.There is a kind of subliminal censorship that is saying villify Islam and forget the historical context. Every dignitary, when asked to comment on why the WTC bombing took place says "we should nto go into it! It was pure evil" What are we doing? Overturning everything we know of the scientific or philosophical method which teaches us to look for causes. We try to understand even mass murderers through their past and what happened to them.

Why not the WTC terrorists?

What is the point of such discussions if we only talk past each other?

Tolstoy summed up the current mood well."Nought remains But vindictiveness here amid the strong, And there amid the weak an impotent rage."

Impotent rage will produce evil faces like Osama Bin Laden unless we deal with both sides of the problem. And we will nto have dealt wih the poblem if we do not prevent anotehr Bin Laden.

Nadeem Ul Haque
IMF Res Rep--Sri Lanka
C200 International Monetary Fund
Washington DC 20431 USA
Tel off 941 477022
home 941 556 308
fax 941 346 259

W. Kasprzik

Sun Dec 02 2001 - 05:16:19 EST
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I imagine the war in Afghanistan being over, a transitional government being in place and the caravan of multilateral and bilateral donors arriving in order to 'help' Afghanistan in its efforts of restoration, reform and consolidation.

This undertaking could become a wonderful experience of international solidarity. It can also become a nightmare. I suggest that the donors, bevore lecturing the new Afghan authorities, hould get their act together. In order to achieve this the new Afghan authorities should create their own development agency. The agency should be staffed with Afghans as well as with experts from major multilateral and bilateral donors.

The staff, be it local or international, would be exclusively responsible to the Afghan people and to central and regional governmental and non-governmental agencies.

The main tasks of the indigenous development agency would be:

- to assess the needs of the people, the country and its institutions,

- to draft programmes and projects (and thereby harmonising the conditionalities of the different donors to one standard set of conditions),

- to screen which multilateral or bilateral donor is the most qualified for the task on the basis of past performance,

- to establish a mechanism of risk sharing for loans between Afghan units and the donors in case the implementation of a programme or a project fails,

- to assess the quantity of programmes and projects Afghanistan can absorb in specific time frame given the institutional and organisational constraints.

The creation of such an indigenous development agency would help

- to set at least some clear devleopment priorities for the country,

- to avoid the often lunatic competition of donor agencies on the spot,

- to begin with a much needed coordination of donor activities,

- to streamline and harmonise donor conditionalities and

- to counterbalance, at least to some extent, the steamrolling behaviour of some multilateral agencies.

There have been efforts to establish such an indigenous development agency in Eritrea, Mongolia and Azerbaijan. They failed miserably in Mongolia and Azerbaijan, due to a strange but powerful coalition between some core ministries and some donors. Eritrea has experimented with the approach for some time and then decided, to ban all donors. I am in no position to judge, if the decision was wise. But it is an interesting decision, worthwhile being studied in more detail.

The indigenous development agency should also consider

- to develop economic models beyond the Washington Consensus. There are for instance Islamic economic thinkers like Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr (an Iraqi killed by Saddam Hussein's regime),

- ideas for institutional development in the Muslim world (the jirga system and an interesting discussion in the Sahel on decentralisation based on the Sharia, with powerful arguments for the management of natural ressources),

- to separate poverty alleviation from the mainstream of development activities, to transfer it from the political realm to a comprehensive programme of the civil society. The shortcomings of HIPC/PRSP are too obvious to be copied. And the Islam has a long tradition in the field, which could be reinforced and modernised.

Waldemar Kasprzik
Institutional Development

Sun Dec 02 2001 - 14:15:50 EST
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Nadeem: Some musings on your propositions.

It might be useful to separate the assumptions stated in these propositions from the proposed actions to address them.

Proposition 1.

This first proposition is stated as an assumed scenario. The next sentence is another assumption which could stand on its own, even if the previous statements were untrue. "Science will democratize the word despite the egos of our rulers". The real question is what can be done about them, and what ought to be done.

Proposition 2.

The denial of individual rights often manifests itself through structural exclusion (e.g. prejudice against groups identified by class, caste, race or ethnicity {indigenous populations, untouchables, gypsies} or denial of linguistic/cultural expression {Timorese, Kosovars, Kurds, etc.) or cultural segregation(e.g. gender-based exclusion pervasive in many societies). These violations of individual rights are based on group characteristics. While I agree that individuals need to have equitable rights, such rights will not be achieved by the struggle for individual rights. I will cite the
civil rights movement in USA and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa illustrate my point.

The key lies in the creation of conflict resolution mechanisms that allow social groups legitimate opportunities to articulate their grievances and challenge those who use instruments of state or culturally sanctioned powers to perpetuate those inequities. Perhaps it is time to mobilize support for an International Court of Human Rights where social groups who feel their rights are being denied them within the framework of a nation-state can appeal to international norms and seek redress or reparations.

Proposition 3.

"We need to develop a new international social contract that gives minorities who feel oppressed the right to obtain freedom" YES! YES!.

Nation-states are becoming increasingly anachronistic. The process of state creation has evolved from the freedom struggles against colonialism to redrawing of borders (Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Indonesia, etc.) However, two processes mitigate against this trend -- EU integration and globalization. The race for EU Accession demonstrates that when states cease to become oppressive and when economic and social benefits exceed the costs, people prefer integration to isolation. Globalization has resulted in a transformation of the state. Participation in the global market place requires acceptance of global norms of commerce and some form of political stability. Unfortunately, in many middle eastern countries the globalizers have found it more cost-effective to deal with undemocratic ruling elites. The rapid transformation of the former socialist bloc in Central and Eastern Europe has proven that more open societies carry lower political and economic risks and greater benefits for their own people and for global investors.

National borders are essentially an anachronism. Nation-states need to reinvent themselves as the equivalents of current municipalities and provincial governments. Insofar as they are able to provide an institutional framework that enables the provision of essential goods and services, and protects the interests and security of their people and their external partners they serve a purpose. If they do not, they are redundant at best, and cannibalistic at their worst. t is time to think of a "world without borders" that is safer and better for all. A "world without borders" would be a world where people have the right to choose to be part of a country or to opt out of that into a global society. Increasing migration and globalization shows that people are voting with their feet and with their wallets.

It is time to institutionalize this right by giving people the right to choose a passport (or a religion) that is independent of the legacy they are born into. We accept the right to economic mobility and social mobility. Why not political mobility?

Proposition 4.

The bombing of Serbia to resolve the Kosovo crisis is the first major intervention by NATO in support of a muslim people, a possible by-product of the recognition that the intervention in Bosnia held back too late to prevent ethnic cleansing. "Recognition is healing; denial is dangerous. American recognition of injustice to Japanese citizens or apologizing to Vietnam was healing". While I agree in theory that recognition of injustice is healing, I do not really see a change in public opinion toward the Muslim countries in the foreseeable future. Acknowledging past injustices is easy when there are common interests between the aggrieved people and the perpetrator of the injustice and when their is a recognition that perpetuation of the injustice is no longer a feasible option because the costs are too high, even to the perpetrator.

In fact, one of the main political motives of those who resort to terror is to raise the costs of the injustice to a point where the perpetrator, such as former colonialists, find it no longer worth their while to continue. Often, however, that comes with a very heavy price to both sides, specially to non-combatants. Simply appealing to a western sense of justice and fairness is not likely to be adequate. Attitudes are more likely to change

(1) if Muslim countries themselves institutionalize good governance and rule of law;

(2) if scholars who speak for oppressed groups do a better job of analyzing the historical and institutional causes of injustice both within their societies and due to unequal relations between nations; and

(3) if the groups who feel oppressed realize winning the public opinion was may be more effective than winning the battle in the field: the growth of international news media and communication technology has reduced the barriers to entry and made it more possible for their voice to be heard.

Al-Jazeera seems to have been highly effective in shaping public opinion in the Middle East. In an increasingly globalized world, insularity and millenarian movements are relics that are bound to fail in the long run.

What is needed is a two-pronged strategy by activists and scholars:

one aimed at changing social and political reality within those countries, the second aimed at communicating those struggles effectively through the international media to shape global public opinion.

Proposition 5.

I am not too optimistic about the value of preaching to those who conveniently suffer from amnesia about their own values when it comes to the rights of other peoples. I seen an internal debate between those who see foreign policy as an instrument to promote US self-interest Rice), and those who see foreign policy as an instrument to build an international comity of nations where stability will come from equality and negotiation among nations. While the recommendations are desirable, they are not actionable.

Proposition 6.

"The UN system and the BWIs must truly become international if they are to save us. The world is crying out for justice and development in so many places with their pleas unanswered. International bureaucracy must be responsive to little people especially today".What concrete steps would lead to this goal? Jim Wolfensohn would argue, with some validity, that the World Bank is much more responsive to 'little people' today than ten years ago. The authorizing environment of these international institutions conditions what they are able to or unable to do. Perhaps one should not expect more from them on their own. One could, however, argue that Transparency International has done a great deal by drawing attention to governance and corruption. International organizations now recognize that corruption is a regressive tax on the poor and is as an impediment to development. NGOs have successfully lobbied for debt relief. If we want to promote social and political justice, the impetus may need to come from elsewhere.

Proposition 7.

"Involve the Afghan Diaspora..."

I agree entirely but this will not be easy. Already the signs are regressive. Those who have captured territory have no experience of management or government. If they continue to exercise power Afghanistan risks slipping back into the civil war of the 1990s. At the same time, the international consulting world is licking its chops at the prospects of a flood of development assistance to Afghanistan. The lesson of the past 23 years is that little knowlege is a dangerous thing. If extremism is to be replaced by good governance this has to involve Afghans from the diaspora who have local knowledge as well as the technical experience needed to build a modern nation. Can the global community build a meaningful partnership with the Afghan diaspora as well as with those who have retained some credibility through the 23 years of war?

Proposition 8.

While the focus has been on Afghanistan, Pakistan itself has barely stepped back from the abyss of religious extremism. For these trends to be consolidated, both countries need a new social contract. Ironically, this might be easier to achieve in Afghanistan than in Pakistan.

Proposition 9.

"Lead with education..."

Yes. And education does not mean primary education alone. While primary education is absolutely necessary, the future development of those countries depends on going beyond that. Last summer the Government of Pakistan initiated measures to bring religious madrassahs under state regulation. This move has to be strengthened and control exercised both on the curriculum, quality and funding. This trend is likely to continue. I am less confident about the government's ability to deliver an alternate education system. With education spending under 2 percent of GDP, not much can be achieved.

Anis Dani
Social Scientist
Washington DC


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