Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Afghan Solution: Build a Trans-Asia Highway with a McDonalds at Every Exit

Any President trying to “fix” Afghanistan is doomed -- by geography and culture -- unless a novel new approach is taken. Iraq is civilized compared to wild Afghanistan, where people live in hundreds of remote isolated valleys with no way to go anywhere without facing broken axles.

Kabul might as well be on the moon for these isolated people. This isolation is perfect for the bands of Taliban who can set up shop without concern that the Afghan police will ever be able to reach them. Imagine foreign troops trying to capture or kill our own rebels in America’s mountainous west and how difficult that would be.

Put a million troops on the ground if you want, but if the people don’t have jobs -- and an easy way to get from A to B -- the whole exercise is doomed to failure along with the billions spent. Farmers can’t sell to markets if they don’t have roads.

Nothing has worked since 2001 because we have had a military focus instead of a civilian development focus supported by the military. But there is a solution that could worked. It worked well in America the last century.

Solution? The only solution is to find a way for remote peoples in Afghanistan to travel and create jobs. The best way to do that is to take a page from America’s past – and create a Trans-Asia highway that cuts through Afghanistan and connects the country’s transport system together. The jobs would include everything from construction to long term jobs working in all the gas stations and McDonald’s built along the highway selling kabobs and tourist maps of Tora Bora. Farmers could then get crops other than poppies to the market.

Just see if the Taliban can possibly compete with 7-11 convenience stores and color HD TV’s! And if the Trans-Asia highway also connects to the remote badlands of Pakistan -- where Al Qaida is hiding out -- it will lose its nuclear sanctuary to Jack in the Box and WalMart with their shopper specials. Nothing could be more hideous to Osama bin Laden than men and women shopping together at the Swat Valley Macy’s.

Think about it Mr. President..

No comments: