Common sense: German defense minister says West should abandon hopes of creating democracy in Afghanistan

He says it’s because of its “history and its cultural orientation.” That is true, but those things are true because of the deep roots of Islam in the country, leading most people there to want Afghanistan to be a Sharia state. “Guttenberg: Afghan democracy impossible,” from The Local, December 26 (thanks to C. Cantoni):

Germany’s beleaguered defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has said the West should abandon hopes of creating a democracy in Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told the Sunday edition of the tabloid Bild newspaper that Afghanistan was simply not suited to democracy, and that any realistic government in the country had to include the Taliban.

“I have long since become convinced that because of its history and its cultural orientation Afghanistan is not suited to being a model democracy, measured by our standards,” said Guttenberg, who has come under intense pressure over his ministry’s public relations disaster following a deadly air strike in Kunduz in which up to 142 people were killed….

“We have to ask ourselves which of the insurgents represent a serious threat to the international community, and which are concerned with Afghan questions,” Guttenberg said. “The question of human rights has to be addressed here, without ignoring the cultures that have developed in Afghanistan.”

But he warned, “Negotiations and the inclusion of the Taliban should of course not be started without conditions. It would be unacceptable if universally acknowledged human rights were simply suspended.”

Well, don’t hold your breath, Guttenberg.

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  1. says

    “It would be unacceptable if universally acknowledged human rights were simply suspended.”

    So, no democracy is necessary, but “universally acknowledged human rights” are.

    The disconnect is obvious.

    Students of history understand that Afghanistan is a graveyard for foreign armies…and leaving the country may in the end be the only logical course of action in our allocation of resources against the larger global Jihad. But let there be no mistake, leaving will not be without national security and geo-political repercussions. Pakistan in particular will be faced with enormous pressure, and its nuclear arsenal could readily fall into the hands of people who make the current government look like a beacon of moderation and modernity by comparison.

    I’m not ready to cut-and-run in Afghanistan; there’s got to be a way to fight effectively there with limited manpower on a limited budget. We could literally flood the skies of Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan with thousands of drones, picking off insurgents here and there will hell-fire missiles, cut back significantly on manned-patrols, and reserve our limited forces (with air support) to deal with any large concentrations of Taliban.

  2. says

    Mr. zu Guttenberg wants also to talk to “moderate Taliban”

    Are there also “moderate Nazis?”

    Ali Sina has absolutely right, Page 260 “… To defeat Islam in the political sphere we need public awareness. Politicans are not leaders. They are followers. If the outcry of the from the public is loud enough, someone will step up to make those voices heard.

    This is war. The enemy is an ideology. We must take our gloves off and get tough with our enemy. Let’s not be intimidated by its size; Islam stands on a very shaky ground. It rests on nothing but lies. All we have to do to demolish it is to expose those lies and this gigantic edifice of terror and deception will collapse. Muslims will be set free and the world will be saved from the venom of Islam. We owe it to our children. It is our respondsibility to make their world safe and free. “

  3. says

    Who says we have to find a solution in all of Afghanistan? Why not set up secular zones around our existing military bases? It’s debatable that Afghanistan is a country in the way we understand it – it’s more a collection of warring Islamic tribes: E Pluribus Plus.

  4. says

    I remember Hugh commenting on how the Arab-mahoundian maxim, at your throat or at your feet, becomes simply at your throat or at your throat in Afghanistan and Porkistan… It’d be better not to allow anyone originating from those places into the West anymore, and keep anyone like Binyam Mahound (David Milliband’s non-British-citizen, £250.000 private-jet-ride-out-of-Guantanamo boy) and other such travelers to those places there, whenever they decide to go on one of those usual “mahoundian awakening” journeys. And those open sewers would simply “take care of themselves”, as any open sewer in Dar al-mahoundianism does.

    The only requirement from our side, before the West leaves those places to sort themselves out, insh’a-mahound’s-imaginary-alter-ego style, should be the acknowledgment that there is no such thing as a mahoundian refugee fleeing a mahoundian country. That way, their self-inflicted illiteracy, backwardness, perpetual economic and intellectual failures, child-molesting, misogyny, Mein-Qurampf-thumping and the rest of the “mahoundian-blessing” package wouldn’t be used as an excuse to let any of those inbred savages move to the West in order to wage their demographic, suppository and gang-rape and welfare-draining jihad.

  5. says

    Maybe there could have been more stability in Afghanistan had the US and UN not worked so hard at trying to install a kinda sorta Democratic government with their own hand chosen President.

    The big mistake I believe was simply dismissing a thousand years of religious traditions in favor of a democratic legal one. Afghanistan traditionally had a monarchy and to ignore that tradition was a serious mistake. They should have re-installed the monarchy even if for ceremonial purposes only and yet the US chose to quash even that. Imagine if another military tried to destroy Americas 200 year of traditions.

    A lesson should have been learned from General MacArthur after the defeat of Japan. The General recognized that there where thousands of years of traditions in Japan and so he chose not to completely alienate the Japanese people buy keeping the Japanese monarch in place if just for ceremonious purposes only as well as respect most Japanese traditions.

    This lesson should have been learned in Afghanistan also.

  6. says

    “I have long since become convinced that because of its history and its cultural orientation Afghanistan is not suited to being a model democracy, measured by our standards,” said Guttenberg.

    While our Orientalists of old could speak of Islam directly, we must today endure the circumambagious nonsense of our Orientationalists who at best dip their little toes into the waters of “cultural orientation” around it.

  7. says

    When one fights a war there are two options: either you fight to get to a stand even with your opponent, like rebels or indepedency fighters do, or you want the complete destruction of your enemy, whatever time and deceit and false treaties it costs. Islamist are of the second kind, they just want to destroy you, so don’t look for any treaty with them, it’s false, deceiving and lethal. Fight this enemy until it has dissappeared from the globe and do not comprimise, because they will only take this as a weakeness and try to make a final blow to your existence.
    It’s them or Us, it only depends on us how to react to it.

  8. says

    “I have long since become convinced that because of its history and its cultural orientation Afghanistan is not suited to being a model democracy, measured by our standards,” said Guttenberg,”

    Mr. Guttenberg, this should come as no surprise, this happens wherever Muslims can vote. The main difference between Germany and Afghanistan is would be Muslim demographics. Islamic law is basically a crime against humanity, therefore Muslim “democracy” is a crime against humanity. Most of the time when a Muslim casts a ballot, it probably is a crime against humanity on some level.

  9. says

    You do realize that this is actually a very old issue, something that was dealt with during colonial times. These people need to be sat upon in order for them to behave like civilized human beings. It is how Islamic societies behave, due to the religious prescriptions of their faith. It is beginning to look like Iraq will need to be dealt with in the same way as long as we are associated with it. Maybe Christians will have to be caged for their protection there just like Christians of Kosovo?

  10. says

    If you don’t address the spiritual side of these people there is no hope for this country. In fact that is the problem with all of the countries lock in the Islamic mind clamp.

    Just as Mr. Churchill famously coined the Iron curtain phrase describing what exists between the free world and communism. A simple yet meaningful phrase is needed here as well.

    Please, don’t cast me in the light of how Spain moved into Central and South America with negative connotations because that is another lie from the left. If you study history whenever a superior society came into a new area they imposed there will culturally, economically and spiritually. If they did not they would pay hell later. The Romans come to mind and I am sure many others fill the definition.

    Unfortunately we, the United States of America, have lost its way because we don’t think of ourselves a superior society. There could be many reasons but the biggest is that we have lost our sense of spiritually. This IMO is the work of the secular left as well. We need to be all inclusive, even to the detriment of our own good. Because the left does not know the difference from right and wrong, truth from evil or rightness from perversion.

    Sorry for painting such a poor picture just had to show how far we have falling. And what needs to be done to do it right.

  11. says

    Islam is not necessarily the main or sole explanation for the lack of democracy in Afghanistan or the poor prospects for it taking root. How is Islam – as opposed to culture as you suggest Robert – the main cause? I thought you had read Salzman’s Culture and Conquest in the Middle East and therefore would have grasped the importance of the tribal basis of the Arab-Muslim culture to see that culture is incredibly important. How is it that you can separate Islam from its cultural edifice and then elevate it above this edifice? Where is the empirical basis for your assumption that in Afghanistan islamic doctrine -rather than a permeated tribal mentality – is the key issue for the prospects of democracy in the country? Where is the evidence of the demand for shari’a that you mention? Is this really based upon an erudite understanding of classical Islamic literature or in fact suggestive that a “return to Islam” – however rightly or wrongly perceived – and a rejection of Western interference is at play?

  12. says

    When it comes to Afghanistan and Iraq we need to take a long hard look at what can be achieved by military means within any Muslim nation. Apart from a small clique of educated westernised elites within some of the cities, most of the native rural population have no interest in democracy. They don’t need it, they have their own political structures. If any attempt is made to explain the funamentals of democracy to them, they immediately sense that it conflicts with Islamic teaching and law, leading to an extreme negative reaction. Any truly representational democratic election within either country would almost certainly return an Islamist party to power. The bulk of the populations within Muslim countries simply do not even understand the democracy we are fighting to give them. History shows us that we cannot talk people into accepting democracy. It can be imposed, and successfully, but only after unprecedented destruction has been inflicted.

    That’s not to say these wars are unwinnable, they are eminently so, when one contrasts the purely military resources at the disposal of our troops and theirs. By any military assessment it should be a walk-over for us. So why then are we still struggling to gain a clear victory in both Iraq and Afghanistan?

    No-one doubts the total victory of democracy over tyranny during World War 2. Both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were reduced to ashes, they ceased to exist, infrastructures destroyed, most of their men dead in the fighting and the starving survivors struggling for life in the ruins of their bombed-out cities. When our allied armies moved in to occupy these devastated nations we left their stunned populations in no doubt that they had brought all this destruction on their own heads, and that by following and supporting the aggressive, expansionist, supremacist ideologies of Nazism and political Shinto they had triggered the justifiable wrath of the free world, which had done nothing more than take the necessary steps to defend itself. We then wrote new constitutions for these countries, outlawing the evil ideologies which had caused the war. Both Germany and Japan are now solidly democratic staunch allies and fully integrated into the free world. By this we see that military victory is only half the battle and to achieve a true victory the battlefield is also an ideological one. We can only win a war by clearly and unequivocally standing against the philosophy that empowers and motivates our enemies.

    In both Iraq and Afghanistan the ideology that powers our enemies is Islam and although our troops outmatch their opponents on every level we will continue to lose people ad infinitum because our political leaders lack the moral courage to state this plain truth and take a clear stance in opposition to Islam. The situation we have there is akin to our having defeated Nazi Germany militarily but telling the German people that it’s ok to be a Nazi, that Nazism is a philosophy of peace and hey, we even support you in being Nazis! My guess is we’d still be fighting in Central Europe today.

    The wars in Muslim nations today are easily winnable wars rendered unwinnable by the cowardice and the lack of moral certainty displayed by our own craven political elites.

    If our leaders are unwilling to oppose Islam we should withdraw our troops from all Muslim lands, including those states that we are told to regard as allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. We should then redefine our military policies unapologetically along the lines of our own interests and right to self-defence. We should increase co-operation and joint planning structures with our democratic partners and re-draw our military formations for increased and improved surveillance, intelligence gathering and long-range strike capability. We should then move at will across the middle East and South Asia, neutralising and destroying threats as they arise, without prior warning. Such a policy would be firm, coherent, clear and easily justified. It would send a powerful message to our enemies, encourage our allies and would, at a stroke, make the world a safer place.

    Before I go I must stress that many of these ideas are from minds far greater than my own and for whom I am merely acting as a mouthpiece. I would never steal the laurels that belong to another. If you see your own words reflected here I hope you take it not as plagiarism but the hommage it is truly intended to be.