Making a nation democratic (was: Why Do They Hate Us?)

Sherry Listgarten
Tue, 30 Oct 2001 21:31:48 -0800

> This will be more difficult to do with Afghanistan than
> with Japan, because the victors would have to fund the
> schools and economy. But if we don't plan to do something
> like this, what is the point of the war?

Well, a war can shake things up so that the balance of power changes, sort
of like a simulated annealing. After the war, things may fall right back
where they were, or they might not.

A war is a form of "gardening" -- removing distasteful weeds.

A "helping hand" after the war is another form of gardening -- it can take
the form of pesticides to prevent weeds from growing back (e.g., occupying
forces), or enhancing conditions so the weeds are rejected by other plants
when they try to come back (e.g., improving economic conditions).

I think the question is (a) how energetic is the gardener; (b) how hardy are
the weeds; and (c) how do the other plants react to the gardening?

My view is that if fundamentalism is a weed, then it's a very strong weed,
and killing it will also mean killing the other plants. So to minimize its
impact, I think it's best to try to make the other plants stronger, in hopes
that what we consider to be a weed won't have as much room to grow when it
tries to come back.

-- Sherry.