“The problem with trying to induce the benefits of nationhood onto Afghanistan is that there’s no nation there. Afghanistan is a more of a blank spot on the map where neighboring nations aren’t.” — Stephen Green, via Instapundit
Many Americans just can’t seem to understand that many people groups don’t want to live like us, and that our efforts to shape them that way is seen as aggression of the highest order. One cannot make a state where there is no national identity. And for much of the Middle East and Central Asia, identity is found in family, kinsmen and tribe. Lines drawn on a map by outsiders mean nothing, as the Pashtuns of both western Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan have shown.
Same is true of Iraq, an artificial conglomerate of Sunni, Shia and Kurds. Left alone without Saddam as the heavy-handed glue to hold them together, the country would fragment and the Kurds would no longer be the largest ethnic group in the world without its own homeland. While I was in Baghdad years ago, President Bush announced our mission had shifted from toppling Saddam to building a free, united and stable Iraq. A quick wit on our team quickly turned that into a drawing on the wall, with the caption of “pick any two.” That’s still the wisest assessment I’ve ever heard about that instance of mission creep.
Notwithstanding efforts to spread the Gospel, it’s time to let others live as they’ve chosen, and stop bringing so many of them here so we can do the same.