“Smart Power Setback” by David Brooks (TIMES, 6/21/11)

 I suppose we should be grateful that David Brooks is reporting on the failure of the U.S. effort to promote development in Afghanistan.

However, when he claims that violence “doesn’t stem from poverty” but from “grudges, tribal dynamics and religious fanaticism,” he minimizes the Afghani opposition to a foreign presence.

“Smart power” is not viewed as beneficial to Afghanistan because it emanates from an occupying army. No matter how well-intentioned such “aid” might be in the hands of some genuine reformers, it is viewed as the work of imperialism.

Moreover, the U.S. economy cannot support it, certainly not for generations. Whether he likes it or not, Brooks has made an argument for the withdrawal from Afghanistan.



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