Thursday, September 3, 2015

Afghanistan and W

Bruce B. de Mequita, The Logic of Political Survival, 2003, pg. 483

Direct and indirect military intervention [in a foreign country] provide mechanisms through which institutions can be improved. Unfortunately, the political incentives of leaders from large-coalition interventionist systems do not promote the establishment of large-coalition systems abroad. Unless the foreign policy goals of the foreign state coincide with those of the nation-building state—as was the case in the two great exceptions, opposition to communism for Japan and West Germany—military intervention will not fulfill its potential for institutional reform.

Events in Afghanistan reinforce this point. The United States intervened militarily in Afghanistan in 2002 to support the rebels of the North Alliance in removing the Taliban regime because of the Taliban’s support for international terrorism. Although the United States relied heavily on the troops of the North Alliance to defeat the Taliban, the United States still took a dominant role in shaping Afghanistan’s new government. The United States chose to support an interim government led by Hamid Karzai. These arrangements paid lip service to greater inclusiveness, because the government requires the support of tribal leaders and offers the prospect of future elections. Yet, rather than having the leader rely directly on the independent support of members of a mass electorate, the reliance on tribal leaders created a hierarchical aggregation of support. The chosen institutions required the leader to retain the support of a small number of people from the small pool of tribal leaders. Even if elections are held, they are likely to be dominated by bloc voting.While such a small-W, small-S system does not encourage the promotion of public welfare, it does require the leader to spend considerable resources to reward supporters. The low loyalty norm created by small-S, small-W systems makes leaders most ready to trade policy for aid, and hence most likely to do the bidding of the United States.


Yes - vertical divisions decrease W (which may not always be related to what is usually known as "democracy"), ppl vote based on race, clan to that one party that "represents" them. This indirectly means a small winning-coalition creating the conditions for inept governance.