The involvement of women in Afghanistan’s public life is decreasing. Attacks, vigilantism, and legal processes that contradict the basic principles of human and women’s rights are the order of the day.
The United States and the European Union share much in common, including a similar religious and cultural heritage, strong democratic institutions, and a commitment to civil society. One thing they do not share, however, is a common set of political attitudes and attendant policies on how best to integrate immigrant and minority groups into their larger societies.
2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the worldwide protests of 1968. The events of that time such as the protests against the war in Vietnam, the Prague Spring and the student protests in Western Europe and the U.S. are closely connected – it was truly a global movement!
Though Middle Easterners desire democracy and seek to reform their own political systems, public opinion data show that they are also unhappy with American democracy promotion efforts, and that they believe the U.S. does not genuinely and consistenly support democratic reform. Analysis of this polling data suggests that the U.S. needs to seriously reassess its impact on political reform in the region.
Afghanistan faces an acute crisis with three inter-related dimensions: insurgency, opium, and dissatisfaction with the government and its international backers. Sustainable solutions to these challenges all require a long-term commitment to improved governance in Afghanistan.