Friday, September 10, 2010

conflicting goals and unintended consequences

I am also not an expert on Afghanistan. So I read with dismay but not surprise the Washington Post article saying that U.S. anti-corruption efforts in that country may have made things worse.

The United States has numerous, and not always compatible, goals in Afghanistan. ALready we have seen conflicts between the desire to strengthen the central government in Kabul and the desire to strengthen local warlords who are willing to fight the Taliban. Our aid programs are torn between U.S.-managed efficiency and accountability and locally empowered contractors who are accustomed to bribes and favoritism. We want Afghanistan to have a modern banking system but don't like the cronyism and overseas villas of the current banking leadership.

I hope U.S. officials have a clear sense of these inevitable conflicts and have a set of priorities that can allow them to navigate through them.

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