Afghan election poses genuine challenge to interventionists

In an earlier post I adverted that I’ve come to be an adherent to a kind of atheistic ‘just war’ approach to multinational military intervention in the affairs of states. While I don’t intend, nor think it possible, to go into all the reasons why I think Afghanistan was/is a good example of this approach in this post alone, I think that’s an important staging post for the comments that follow.

You see, establishing democracy is, I think, a Good Thing. Sure, different models have various problems, Australia included (again, a subject for another day), but by comparison with alternative systems I like it. So, to the extent that establishing democracy in Afghanistan was part of the rationale for the war that I supported, the reality has this year been proven to be a massive flop.

I’m not talking about the regressive legislation that was passed by the former government in their final months. There’s been a bit of discussion about that elsewhere, and if you’d like to go into it here a bit more, fine. What has been made abundantly clear to all who are following the Presidential election, though, is that the process itself is irredeemably flawed.

People are now scrabbling to try and find a way to save the election.

It should be obvious to anyone that the election just held cannot be saved: they need to annul the results and try again. And if the same rigging and rorting occurs, try again. And again, until they get it right.

Democracy was part of the deal, and if we’re going to compromise on issues of the self-determination of laws that may contravene human rights standards (which, though I may be damned by all and sundry for it, is a short term compromise we should make – I may expand on this another time) we should at least ensure that the governments that pass those laws do so on the basis of democratic legitimacy.

Indeed, the democratic legitimacy of our support for intervention demands it.

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