Sunday, November 20, 2005

How Not To Do Nation Building

Just as the British imperial experiments of the 1800s taught us all lessons on how not do many things, the Bush administration's efforts at nation building also offer many lessons that can be learned.

In September 2002, nearly a year after an American-led coalition deposed the Taliban, the United States launched what would become an aggressive effort to build or refurbish as many as 1,000 schools and clinics by the end of 2004, documents show. However, design flaws and construction errors caused the initiative to fall far short.

Yes, along came the war of choice in Iraq, and the war that had to be fought was forgotten.

a $73 million U.S. Agency for International Development program -- had produced only 100 finished projects, most of them refurbishments of existing buildings. As of the beginning of this month, only about 40 more had been finished and turned over to the Afghan government.

The whole story is worthy of reading, but the lesson is one that we should have learned ages ago. Good intentions, without understanding the history and cultures involved, are bound to fail. Just another indication that those who are a part of the reality based community were right, and those neo-imperialist who thought that they could create their own reality are again, like the British in the 1800s, clueless, and will fail.

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