Do as the Romans did
Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British Ambassador to Afghanistan, has an interesting plan to achieve longlasting stability in that country.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s In Defence of Bureaucracy, introduced by Gus O’Donnell, he declared that the real problem in Afghanistan is one of politics and civil administration. ‘It’s not a military problem, it’s not even fundamentally a security problem.’ Rather, ‘It’s a problem of a new political settlement underpinned by decent civil administration.’
Cowper-Coles recommends we emulate the Roman Empire in the way that the Romans dealt with much of Western Europe and the Middle East, leaving behind them on their withdrawal a decent infrastructure of public administration. ‘Bureaucracy at its best is a public good of immense value to any society, however sophisticated or unsophisticated [that society might be].’
I think he has a point.