Wednesday, September 29, 2004
The major media seems to overlooked the fact that Afghanistan will be holding elections next week. There will certainly be violence, but nonetheless, all indications are that voter registration has gone very well and that the elections will show millions of Afghans, men and women, streaming to the polls in a democratic election. I wouldn't underestimate the impact of that on the U.S. presidential election campaign. With justification, Bush can point to the fact that his policies have helped liberate the Afghan people from tyranny and that, however unsurely and problematically, it is moving toward peace, stability, and democracy. Maybe that would have happened even if Gore won in 2000, but as with the economy, Presidents get to claim credit for what happens on their watch whether they had anything to do with it or not. Plus, success in Afghanistan will provide a boost to the claims of the Bush administration that democratic nation-building can succeed in that part of the world, including Iraq. Finally, success in Afghanistan makes it harder to claim that the Iraq war has shifted necessary attention and resources away from securing and rebuilding Afghanistan.