I encountered this article from BBC reporter Humphrey Hawksley. He seems to share my doubts about "democracy" as the solution for everything and to share my belief that "good government" is more important. With Khalilzad he doubts whether the elections in Afghanistan were a good idea: it leads to rising ethnic tensions and harmful populist policies. His latest book “Democracy Kills: What’s So Good About Having the Vote?” will be released in September.
What may be interested for Balkanians is his opinion about international rule. He compares Liberia - where the internationals took over - with Sierra Leone:
For examples of missions still in progress, one can look at West Africa where interventions in Sierra Leone in 2000 and neighbouring Liberia in 2003 have stopped wars, but have yet to secure enough confidence for a lasting peace. Given the ethnic and religious mixes, the poverty, corruption, collapse of institutions and infrastructure and a tendency toward warlordism and violence, these two countries present us with important tests in dealing with the failed state — and all it implies for the security and welfare of their citizens and that of the wider world.
Most Liberians and Sierra Leoneans bought into the interventions and stopped fighting. As in Bosnia and Kosovo, Liberians accepted infringement of their sovereignty — albeit to a lesser extent. The Governance and Economic Management Assistance Programme (GEMAP), initiated by Liberia and international institutions, gave foreign technocrats budgetary control of government ministries. The aim was to ensure that corruption did not hamper rebuilding.
GEMAP was not implemented in Sierra Leone which, arguably, is facing more problems in its transition from emergency conflict-prevention to long-term nation-building. Corruption continues to strip main hospitals of essential medicines. Roads to the eastern area where the civil war began are virtually impassable. Young men, who used to be child soldiers, have no jobs.
In Liberia, most hospital pharmacies are well stocked. Lawyers and administrators in remote places have trained at some of the best Western universities. Officials have canvassed at the grass roots to determine exactly what the people want.