Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mixed Views on Harper and Karzai

On the one hand, it is pretty delightful to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper react to Karzai's request for more of the aid to be directly funneled through his government by indicating that that would be fine if Karzai would make progress on fighting corruption. 
“We will not dispense a dime to the government of Afghanistan unless we are convinced that that money will be spent in the way that it’s intended to be spent.”
On the other, we have learned that when Karzai is confronted publicly, he tends over-react and not in a good way. 

On the balance, I think Harper's line is fine, as he should taking the line that Canada cares about where its $$ go.  Blindly giving more to the central government would be irresponsible stewardship of Canadian tax dollars.  Saying so loudly may not get Karzai to cooperate, but he is unlikely to cooperate whether you appease him or confront him. 

Indeed, the lesson of the Presidential election fiasco was to direct money to the regions and not to the center.  So, even if Harper is a weenie, his stance here is almost certainly the correct one. 

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