by Patrick Appel

Joe Klein is not optimistic about the election in Afghanistan:

This is another terrible legacy of the Bush Administration, which figured that the appearance of democracy was all that mattered--while flagrantly neglecting the factors on the ground that create an environment where democracy can actually take hold.  Elections are only one aspect of democracy; they do not define it. They can easily be exploited by the powerful and the corrupt, if the proper conditions for a ballot don't exist. In this case, an election is standing in the way of developments--security, the rule of law, education, the creation of a viable middle class--that could make democracy possible in Afghanistan, after a time. Make no mistake, I'll be thrilled if the election comes off credibly and Taliban mischief is minimized. But I'm worried that this vote could turn into a major step backward for our efforts in Afghanistan.

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