26 March 2010

Top 10 Themes from USF Af/Pak Conference

Top 10 Themes from USF Af/Pak Conference

(Just from my perspective, of course)

#10: Afghanistan and Pakistan are more complicated than you think (even if you already think they are complicated).

#9: Afghanistan is not Iraq.

#8: The interests and policies of neighboring countries - perhaps especiallyPakistan, India, & Iran - are vital considerations for Afghanistan's long-term success.

#7: Aristotle was right. It is more difficult to organize a peace than to win a war.

#6: Effective governance is probably the biggest and most important infrastructure challenge for Afghanistan.

#5: There is no effective “one-size-fits-all” national governance solution for Afghanistan.

#4: Never underestimate the power of tribes.

#3: The Taliban is neither static nor monolithic.

#2: Available electricity is perhaps the greatest practical challenge for economic development.

#1: Afghanistan could ultimately be a model for how the US and Iran might cooperate toward shared interests. A fascinating proposition offered by Dr. Mohsen Milani, the conference ooordinator.

Bonus Theme:
“The state that does not govern, abdicates its power to those who will.”