Steve Coll discusses Afghanistan:

Afghanistan's most successful period of modern politics occurred between the late 1920s and the late 1960s. The country was very poor but it managed a sustainable, multi-ethnic system of governance that included a role for a weak central government and diverse regional powers -- some tribal, some other -- backed by a national Army. The present circumstances are different -- huge flows of international money and support tend to seek and even require a strong central government. But the model I elude to is probably more plausible. It's a balance between central and local authorities. That's more plausible than wishing for a central government that can deliver presence and justice in every nook and valley of this mountainous country.

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