Author: Charles L. Barry
This study looks at democratic governance and what might be expected to take root in a society such as Afghanistan. More than 7 years into the presence of the United States and the UN, and more than 5 years into NATO's mission in Afghanistan, it is worth analyzing the state of governance in that country and examining how-- and to what extent-- the goal of democracy might be achieved. Key research questions are: what can the international community hope to leave behind in terms of democracy? What will it take in terms of time and resources? What related tasks must be achieved for democracy to take hold and flourish? What are the realistic prospects for success? What are accepted criteria for knowing when we get there? This analysis attempts to answer these questions. It sheds light on what is necessary, as a minimum, for democracy to take root. It also suggests replacements for goals that may be simply unattainable, such as an Afghan democracy held to an unrealistic Jeffersonian standard. Finally, it aims to impart a sense of what can be accomplished before international political will runs out.