Beating people into believing the Afghan dream

Rory Stewart writes in the London Review of Books about the illusion of bringing “democracy” to Afghanistan:

When we are not presented with a dystopian vision, we are encouraged to be implausibly optimistic. ”˜There can be only one winner: democracy and a strong Afghan state,’ Gordon Brown predicted in his most recent speech on the subject. Obama and Brown rely on a hypnotising policy language which can – and perhaps will – be applied as easily to Somalia or Yemen as Afghanistan. It misleads us in several respects simultaneously: minimising differences between cultures, exaggerating our fears, aggrandising our ambitions, inflating a sense of moral obligations and power, and confusing our goals. All these attitudes are aspects of a single worldview and create an almost irresistible illusion.

In the meantime, latest reports suggest that US-backed prisons in the country are notoriously filled with human rights abuses.

Ah, democracy.

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