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OldschoolofRock2 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA! I read the recent piece on you in the New Yorker and find your work very interesting. The concept that systemic corruption affects the long term stability/security of the government seems so obvious yet I get the feeling that the recent COIN wave in Iraq and Afghanistan never fully appreciated the importance this idea.

Anyways, my question- A few months ago I attended a Senate briefing by SIGAR and it was quite depressing. These extremely capable and professional people seemed somewhat helpless in their task of building a functional democracy in Afghanistan. I remembered a quote from a former Ugandan president (can't remember which one) that essentially said "it is ridiculous to just parachute democracy into a country with no history of it and expect it to work". Meaning it took Europe and N. America hundreds of years of centralized government and bureaucracy (and lots of wars) before we could establish sustainable democracies.

So: A. Is it unreasonable/naive to try and establish Westernized Centralized democratic governments in countries with no/to little history of centralized government or professional bureaucracy? and B. would it result in less corruption (and less citizen discontent) if we allowed these countries to be ruled by a decentralized, tribal form of government?

Sorry for the length and thanks for doing this AMA!

OldschoolofRock1 karma

"the only thing worse, perhaps, than "imposing Western norms and standards" is imposing Western notions of local norms and standards." Wow thank you, great answer. If I ever get to a PhD I think doing a comparative study between the Marshall Plan and the Reconstruction of Afghanistan or Iraq (not sure which I'd choose) would be so interesting; especially on this question of governance introduction.