By Stephen J. Hadley and Kristin M. Lord, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Stephen J. Hadley is chairman of the board of the United States Institute of Peace and a former White House National Security Adviser. Kristin Lord is acting president of the United States Institute of Peace. The views expressed are their own.
As the United States draws down its forces in Afghanistan and shifts from direct combat to the narrower mission of countering terrorism and training Afghan forces, some might think this is the time to declare “job done” and focus U.S. attention elsewhere. That would be a mistake. As the current violence in Iraq illustrates, the gains won by our military are fragile. Peace, once won, must be sustained.
Afghanistan is now in the delicate process of laying the foundation for a democratic political transition – the first since President Hamid Karzai assumed the presidency. As many as 7 million Afghans, or around 60 percent of eligible voters, have twice defied the Taliban and cast ballots to select the country’s next president, first in the general election and again in this month’s runoff.
The high turnout and lower level of violence than many had expected are a testament to how non-violent conflict resolution and peacebuilding can multiply and solidify the investments of the United States and the sacrifices made by American troops. The potential for international assistance to help resolve electoral disputes that have cropped up in the past week illustrates the need for continuing engagement.
Organizations like the United States Institute of Peace, which we both serve, have been helping create the conditions for a peaceful transition that will make Afghanistan more stable and less violent, while improving the lives of the Afghan people. A stable and prosperous Afghanistan can be a vital ally of the United States in a troubled region, and will help ensure that al Qaeda and its associates never again gain a foothold in the region’s mountains and valleys.
Investing in the powerful tools of peacebuilding is both effective and cost-effective, but peacebuilding takes time. Some of the best-spent dollars are those used to prevent or reduce conflicts that can engulf regions and threaten American interests, investments that foster strong allies and partners. We should heed the lessons of our experience in Germany and South Korea, where our unflagging, long-term commitments in the aftermath of war have established thriving partnerships with now-critical allies.
For the past several years, U.S. and other international organizations in Afghanistan have been supporting local institutions and civil society groups, working hand-in-hand to develop and employ innovative approaches that would help ensure a credible, inclusive and transparent election.
Afghans organized forums where women challenged presidential hopefuls on economic, political and social issues, and the country’s burgeoning media outlets promoted an almost non-stop run of televised candidate debates. At the grassroots level, activists organized poetry competitions that drew on treasured Afghan traditions, and ran a radio show to raise awareness about rule of law. There was even a rap video contest to devise an election anthem, and graffiti promoting a peaceful election, to engage the youth who are so important to the process and to Afghanistan’s future.
The Afghan-led efforts were underpinned by research, expertise and financial backing from the U.S. and other international donors. The outcome might help U.S. troops and their NATO-coalition partners to withdraw most of their military forces, as planned, with greater confidence that the gains won by more than a decade of fighting can be sustained.
Tools for preventing, mitigating and resolving violent conflict – national or interfaith dialogue, facilitation skills, multiparty negotiations, and education and training to build support for the rule of law are just a few – will become only more crucial as technology spreads and global power becomes more diffuse. And the costs of such tools are relatively modest. USIP’s recent annual congressional appropriations of about $35 million equals approximately the amount needed to field one light infantry rifle platoon in Afghanistan. Imagine what we could achieve with even more concerted efforts and funding for peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
Well-done and well-resourced, peacebuilding can help prevent the loss of American lives, enhance American security and preserve U.S. tax dollars, while relieving human suffering and demonstrating America’s commitment to peace. It maximizes other U.S. government investments in diplomacy, foreign assistance and the armed forces. It also strengthens local institutions around the world that can sustain long-term campaigns against deadly violence for decades after America’s investment ends.
Piyush (his real name is not Bobby) Jindahl is a friend of Sarah Palin's and attends exorcisms. He also keeps his wallet and his car keys up his nose. We need someone like him in the WH.
Well I'm Piyush's car and I DON'T approve of him putting his car keys up his nose.
The GOP Prayer/Mantra/Solution: Dear God...With your loving kindness, help us to turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then, with your guidance and compassion, we will whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. God...Grant us the knowledge to then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. God...Give us the strength during our speeches to repeatedly yell........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!
In your name we prey (purposely misspelled, or is it?)........Amen
What a load of baloney.
For the run-off election, fewer than 5 million legitimate ballots were cast, or about 1/4th of the eligible voters. Another 2.6 million fraudulent ballots were orchestrated by Karzai, Karzai's chief of staff (recorded on tape), Ashraf Ghani (recorded on video tape held by Abdullah) and the Chief of Karzai's hand-picked Election Stealing Goon Squad, the IEC (recorded on 16 audios tapes). It was the most fraudulent election in human history, and US and UN diplomats, obsessed by process, and trying their best to ram this feces sandwich down Abdullah throat. To diplomats, holding an election is a means to getting promoted, and outcomes are unimportant.
The first election took place, not in "relative peace," put on the single most violent day in Afghan history, a fact adroitly covered up and concealed from the world public, but known perfectly well to American intelligence agencies.
And the notion that Afghanistan is a democracy, simply because we say it is,is fatuous. "Democracy" is simply another game to Afghan politicians, another means of taking power whose methods and loopholes are to be exploited in order to gain the reigns of national corruption. The idea that the people should select their leaders by voting is absolutely unknown in Afghanistan, which has no tradition or history of democracy. It's just a game to be played and won. Calls by Ambassador Cunningham and his ilk to "respect the process" are absurd, given that Karzai, Ghani and their cronies have no respect for the process whatsoever.
This entire op-ed piece is just complete rubbish.
Karzai has once again his finger in the pie. He didn't want to sign the BSA with the US and said he would leave it to his successor. He favours Ashraf Ghani, a Pashtun and has tried to prevent Abdullah – who has the Tajik vote bank – from being elected. The latter has declared the election rigged. This may delay the process of installing a new president. If no successor is found, no BSA will be signed and Karzai remains in power.
I totally agree. To suggest we stay in this tribal narco-state because it worked for us in Germany is silly. We killed Bin Ladin, and that hole is not worth one more American life or $. I support the troops, which to me means bring them home.
We need a peace plan and economic development plan for the greater Middle East region – this would create great benefits and a million new jobs for us and them.
I am an insect. I am in a pond in Afghanistan. A big bull frog is chasing me. Please help me. It wants to swallow me whole.
and I can't fly. My left wing is broken
Still gargling with Massengill, I see, Roem.
Banasy. Are u trying to be funny? Well u are not. There are a lot of things happening over there.
Please refrain from such bizarre and childish remarks.
Good post Stuart. I couldn't agree more.
Time for an outraged post from the "real" 'George Patton'. Get on it, 'phunnie boy.'
I say those people will never change. G.W. tried to help them but apparently they just don't want it.
If W had not dodged the draft during the Viet Nam war, he might have learned the folly of trying to democratize tribal nations.
Afghanistan has many problems. One of many has to do with perspective. It seems after hundreds of years of fighting imperial powers it continues to reject western ideologies. It brings up a lot of good questions. Many of which never seem to be asked from a western perspective in print. We may widen any point of view by a careful study of the facts as much as possible. Can we learn from mistakes made? This in my mind is a more important question as we observe a reaction to our present policy in the entire region.
Can we learn from our mistakes?, Allan. Yes, we can. Unfortunately, the stupid Neocns in Washington evidently don't think so! They just go blindly on and on and..............!
An important point about opinion. Thomas Paine suggested it is important for all opinion to be open to examine every point of view. What makes this an interesting endeavor is to allow us to change our minds. But I notice you don't use the same name as Mr. Isotta-Fraschini which has a copyright. I am curious why are you trying to be another person? What is wrong with your own opinion? This seems an injustice, don't you agree?
U.S. job far from done in Afghanistan? This is one "job" that never should have been started in the fist place!
A tsunami just hit ohio. Why is this not in the news.
I am in a sink hole water chin deep.
who stole my name and icon above. Stop it
Lol @ Allan Kinsman, that would require common sense and a conscious. Neither of those things possessed by this troll. And good one @ banasy on the phunnie boy post! And @ rupert, its a mud puddle dude, im in ohio right now and its hot and sunny. If you quit laying down and putting your chin in the mud puddle you will be just fine. Physically only. Go see a doctor for the mental thing!
It's essential to know chrissy, that the same person is posting under all these different screen names for his (or her) own amusement. This is why the true George Patton refers to him (or her) as "Phunnie boy". This individual, as you may have noticed, does this to me all the time. As for Afghanistan, we need to return that country to it's own people instead of trying to occupy it by proxy as in setting up a pro-Western pseudo-democracy.
Ummm. Faux Joey. You say this while you steal JIF's name.
You might be more credible if you used your own name. It is ironic you saying that, as you do the same precise name. You name thief.
Lol @ Tom GMTA!
JIF signed in and left.
JIF, go back to the copyright. The @ is a common troll tactic.
Thank you. I was not aware that the symbol changed.
EU has great interest for stability, peace, business, economy for the greater Middle East region. People in the Great Middle East are our friends – not enemies.
can the america go to their own country, since they came it has became worth. go we do need ur fake peace
So, can please 'j.a.p.a.n.e.s.e, south koreans and chinese' go out from America.
And what would you do without them? Beer and supper ball?
i think the americans dont feel at home anymore, in their own country lives the entire world. and there is probably more middle easterners now living in the usa than there has ever been americans in the whole middle east combined. but yeah i agree, Americans go home, everyone just go home. i think overall, countries around the world are tired of foreigners, wether they are soldiers or just simple people. afghanistan for Afghan people. lets let them figure it out by themselves. once upon a time, the French got tired of their greedy royal leaders, and the French people beheaded them. no one helped them, they simply had enough of it. my point, only the people of the country itself can fix a problem. because its up to the people in it to decide and unite against whatever tyranny they are dealing with. could take 10 years or 100 years for the people to have enough, but eventually, they have enough to be motivated and rise. yes, i am a nationalist, an anti multiculturalists, and a true human diversity lover and i love it when the people, whatever people unite together to fix their own country. and i hate it when some others countries feels like it has the power to fix another. its arrogant, and it undermines true human diversity. who are you to know how to fix a completely different culture than your own ? people, focus on your own country. simple
We have no right being Afghanistan. Our original purpose for being there is over. Complete. It's time to do what we should have done in the beginning. Wipe the slate clean and leave. End of Story!
THE Bush and Obama Administrations have done nothing but feed the American people a pack of lies. Deceit since, if not before, 9-11. We invaded Afghanistan before Iraq, when Bush promised at Ground Zero to go after those responsible for 9-11. The truth was, Bush, Like Obama, has a separate Agenda. With Bush, the fuel prices dropped, then they escalated to at or more than $4.00 at the pump and haven't dropped since. With Obama, He has focused on nothing. He continues to lie to the American People about Behngazi as well as other cover-ups to prevent the American people from seeing the truth. The United States is in ruins. The word FREEDOM means Nothing. The U.S> is run by corrupt Big Business and corrupt politicians. THE U.S. has become the joke of the world. The politicians fix elections to prevent a true leader to do the right thing and lead by example, not with lies and deceit.
The days of the U.S. as we knew it, are numbered.
ECONOMIC COLLAPSE REASON ILLEGAL WAR AND ROYALBUDGET $1.7TRILLION
next BBC All press and media Arabs leader and G20 leader ELECTRONIC VOTE ,,WHITE HOUSE HOUSE OF COMMAND,HOUSE OF LORD,,MICROSOFT, under control by CONGRESS ATO Z CONTROL BY QUEEN ELIZABETH still British rule the global 21 st century
Royal budget and wedding cost. 10 generation total $ 57 trillion
Each every politician rolling 8 years only
But queen family enjoying 10 generation
GLOBAL ECONOMIC FALL REASON WAR. Improve economy only peace and prayer
WAR cost total $ 3.5 TRILLION. Every poor human blood tear .please saves economic
POVERTY FAMINE &Effected education many people suicide. Many people Drug addict
Jobless PRESENT ECONOMIC CRISIS
Effected All liberal democracy. Billion of people tax pays.
FDI INVESTOR &Joint ventured, effected global Federal Reserve
Effected CNC manufacturer & energy power
BANKRUPT 170 BANKS OVER ALL 87000 BRANCHES
Million of people death and is wounded. NATO &US. Coalition troops 8000 wound 35000, public 800000
Increase every day by day OPEC. Every good leader 8years but queen family enjoying10 th generation Y
Global environment climate change this leads to agricultural &human health problem
HISTORY + 114. MDCCLXXVI +114.UNITEDKING+114.HOUSE OF COMMAND +62
WHITE HOUSE +52 =114. QUEEN+62 POPE +52 =114
Please bring original HISTORY .Six thousand journalist are suppressing the truth of history but in one day it will come out
Now we are in 21st century there were times former journalist exposed truth and sacrificed their precious life for the sake of truth, they unveiled the real history. Perhaps contradicting to their present power and money clouded their mind and our upcoming generation becomes a victim.
We do not believe politicians as we used to, we do not believe the media, and whereas we believe each other”
Thanking you this is turning point of improve GLOBAL ECONOMIC
1. Press freedom 2.libral democracy 3.all country equal currency4.open emigration 5.free trade policy 6.avoid electronic vote 7. Every one equal right
Pragmatism has now fallen foul of the continuing power of the press.
Economic save only 6 point. Peace, prayer, liberty, unity, friendly, simple
Seriously CNN? North Korea and Cuba are at the forefront of news and I am currently viewing the contribution of the 60's influence of music. What a huge disappointment!
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