Monday, May 24, 2010

This is What Reconciliation Looks Like

Nope, not another Lost post. Afghanistan, instead, which may be just as Lost in the sense of we don't know where it is, where it is going or how it is going to end.  Ok, Afghanistan is now more lost than Lost.

This article shows what reconciliation looks like.  It is not pretty and not a 100% guarantee of success.  But it really focuses on separating out the small guys and relying on communal pressure.  Not a bad combination.  People are scared about Karzai and reconciliation at the grand level: what will he sell out for peace?  Women? The Constitution?  Not clear.  We are not likely to see a large scale awakening like we did in Iraq simply because the sides here are much less coherent to begin with.  The analogy that I am stealing again is that of a pick-up basketball (or ultimate or soccer) game: shirts and skins, sides change after each iteration.  Even if the Taliban leadership switched sides tomorrow, there is no guarantee that the rank and file would follow.

To win this war requires separation/filtration.  Folks joined for different reasons, so they will un-join or not depending on varying motivations/changes/reforms.  Focusing on both levels--the micro and the macro still make sense.  But betting on Karzai is always going to make folks a bit, ahem, sea-sick.

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