The British ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, said it would take “decades” to create a stable Afghanistan since “it is going to take a very long time’ to deal with insurgency and instability. His statement reminded me of a World War II film entitled, “A Walk in the Sun” in which a soldier mumbles throughout the film, “1982, we’ll be fighting in Tibet.”
Assume, the ambassador’s statement is close to the mark. Which American politician is going to openly inform the people of this nation their sons and daughters will be fighting in Afghanistan in 2027? Or, should we be posing a different question — which steps can we take today, to accelerate development of stability in Afghanistan? The key word is “stability,” not “democracy.” Bush failed to grasp the difference between the two words. I would argue democracy emerges from an extended period of stability and relative prosperity. George Kennan, architect of the Truman Doctrine in 1957, wrote a fascinating article in which he argued that America should contain Communism, avoid any hostile military action, and allow the generation educated under communism to reach maturity. It was his assumption that generation would be more receptive to democracy. Actually, Gorbachev was in the generation that Kennan discussed. George Bush never grasped the brilliance of the containment policy which fervently opposed hostile action. Kennan argued against the Vietnam War because it focused on force rather than being defensive. It might pay neo-conservatives to go back and read the works of George Kennan.