Western eyes??? I'm only referring to what Central Asians have tought me and to how they see things!
If European forces had not intervened in Afghanistan in the 19th century (and basically created the country), it would have made a lot more sense if northern Afghanistan had belonged to current Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (as the population there is 99% Uzbeks and Tajiks), while western Pakistan and southern Afghanistan could have constituted a Pushtun homeland. The current mess is very much dependent on the creation of an Afghan kingdom in the 19th century that has little or no bearing historically. And in any case, we have to deal with the facts on the ground as they are now. Just don't expect Tajiks and Uzbeks in northern Afghanistan to feel any commitment to a Kabul-lead government and don't expect peace anytime soon in Waziristan in western Pakistan. Waziristan was conquered by the British in the 19th century but has historically never been a part of Indian or Pakistani culture at all. An old mess creating a modern mess. Naivety wasz never a good medicine for solbing political dilemmas. That's just the way it is.
Zambia and Zimbabwe are very different cases. You know them much better than me. I trust you on that one.
Regarding your assessment of Afghanistan, I think you are completley wrong and looking at it through Western eyes. What makes a country? A common language, common religion, common culture and so on? My own country consists of 72 tribes and 56 languages! I am a part of one of the myriad of tiny minorities that are not a part of the 72 tribes (there are only a couple of hundred Zambian citizens of European ancestry). It is for this very reason that my country is peaceful and democratic. Look at some of our our neighbours, Angola, DR Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, yet we have never been to war since WWII which wasn't our decision anyway...
In tribal societies blood-ties are paramount and if Afghanistan or my own country for that matter were broken up along ethnic lines then the laws of kinship would dominate and democracy wouldn't stand a chance. If you want to make the region more democratic then make sure the ethnic groups are represented in the whole and that the country has enough diversity of tribes to make tribalism a weak force. Zimbabwe is completely dominated by the Shona who are a larger group than all other ethnic groups combined. For this reason the entire country is effectively at the mercy of Mugabe's clan, tribe and linguistic group in that order of dominance.
If Afghanistan and its region are ever going to be a democracy (and the same applies to large parts of Africa) then the same needs to happen as did in India, take all those smaller groups and combine them into one and make them a nation. Afghanistan is not ready for "one man one vote" but it is ready for "one tribe one vote". Unfortunately the Pashtuns dominate in numbers. That imbalance needs to be adjusted. If Afghanistan and Pakistan were one entity I believe there would be much greater chance of a form of Democracy developing.
--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard
> Dear Friends
> I actually think representative democracy is even better than any system of
> direct democracy.
> Simply because political issues these days are co complex that often only
> experts can view them properly.
> While Switzerland works rather well, California has practiced a form of
> dorect democracy in the last 10-15 years which has now practically ruined
> the state. Simply because people again and again vote for new expenditures
> but also constant tax cuts.
> The sums do not add up. And do you think the voters take the blame? Nope,
> they blame the politicians!
> With freedom comes not only rights but also obligations. Like the rule that
> the sums must add up at the end of the day, even if that means giving people
> bad news.
> This is why representative democracy is better. And explains why
> Scandinavians left a system of directr democracy and changed to a system of
> representative democracy.
> Even when it comes to democracy, we must be pragmatic. Democracy only works
> as an organic system, not as a superimposed principle. Afghanistan is not
> even a country, just a historically unfortunate combo of cultures that are
> extremely uncomfortable with each other. In a free and fair election in such
> a country, the first thing people would vote for is for the country itself
> to split!
> Democracy and naivety do not match.
> 2009/12/13 Special Kain
> > Dear Rory
> > I know that it's a fairly pretty picture, but it's quite exhausting.
> > There's way too much anti-intellectualism amongst Swiss people. University
> > students are constantly being dissed and discriminated against: to the vast
> > majority of people university students are theorists only that have spent
> > too much time in their ivory towers, being completely detached from «the
> > real world».
> > I've recently graduated, but I still get same rejection. University equals
> > bullshit, that's how people see me. Anti-intellectualism as a problem in
> > democratic societies is as long as the notion of democracy itself, see
> > Plato. All opinions and whims are treated as equal, as if the political
> > equality of all people would justify such nonsense. But there's
> > anti-intellectualism anywhere, simply because both dictatorships and
> > democracies live in fear of a bright mind's smart conclusions.
> > It's really tiring. I wonder if it's resentment. Anyone who's different and
> > has a strong desire to stand out is discriminated against. That's why
> > there's no praise of plurality in Switzerland. And what are democracies
> > without pluralism - or with pluralism «on the paper», but not in their thick
> > heads? It's nothing. But Switzerland is famous for its xenophobia and
> > dismissal of individualism. You can't help but becoming a cultural radical
> > when living in Zurich. ;-)
> > Ushta, Dino