Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A different result?

Not for the first time, we find ourselves making a contrast between the UK and Afghanistan, the latter where president Karzai has been formally re-installed after the run-off election had been cancelled. With the initial election mired in fraud, Karzai resumes office, without a mandate and with no legitimacy.

Inasmuch as it is a state, however, Afghanistan is at least nominally independent – albeit shored up with foreign aid – and, even though the process was mired in fraud, their president was elected. It remains ironic, therefore, that the UK, which is no longer an independent state, is expending blood and treasure to shore up this state, against an insurgency of its own peoples.

As to Karzai being elected, this is more than can be said for the president of our state, the European Union. There, the "colleagues" have found the ultimate answer to preventing electoral fraud. They have simply dispensed with the idea of an election.

But there lies a huge trap. In the fullness of time, as the unelected EU president imposes himself on the scene, siren voices will be heard demanding that we have an elected president, to make the EU more "democratic". The colleagues will, of course, be only too keen to oblige, springing the trap shut on the member nations, as an elected president will then claim the "legitimacy" to rule us all.

To see why this will not be a democratic solution, though, all you have to do is look at Afghanistan. It may be a state, but it is not a country. Its population is fragmented into ethnic and tribal components, which have nothing in common but mutual antagonism.

In the north, you have the Uzbeks, the Tajiks and the Turkamen (amongst others) plus the Aimaks. In the central belt you have the Hazara, and the Pashtuns, who themselves are divided into two rival tribes, the Ghilzai and the Durrani. Then, in the deep south, you have the Balouchi, inhabiting a segment of a formerly independent country which was annexed by Afghanistan in the 19th Century.

The great mistake the "international community" has made, in seeking to impose a democracy on this geographical entity, is to ignore the central requirement, the need for a demos. There is not one in Afghanistan – and there never will be in the foreseeable future.

Likewise, there is no demos in the European Union. In both instances, the advocates of democracy are confusing process for substance. An election does not a democracy make. No more can the EU be democratic than can Afghanistan.

Belatedly, the "international community" has recognised this in Afghanistan, having effectively appointed Karzai to his position, where he remains only for as long as they allow, effectively kept in place by force of arms, the coalition forces increasingly resembling an army of occupation.

But, for some strange reason, no one can see the parallels. The result in Afghanistan is already a central government which is manifestly unable to govern by consent, with the civil war growing in intensity, past the point where there is any serious expectation of a resolution.

Yet the "colleagues" are seeking to impose a single state, with a supreme ruler, on the 27 member states of the EU. Without either a demos or consent, do they expect a different result?