Can Intervention Work?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rory Stewart, a member of the British Parliament, discusses political and military interventions and examines what we can—and cannot—achieve through "nation building." Can Intervention Work?, written with Gerald Knaus, looks at how the massive, military-driven efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans, the expansion of the EU, and the "color" revolutions in the former Soviet states affect international relations, human rights, and our understanding of state building.


Rory Stewart

Comments [6]

a listener

[[[Taher from Croton on Hudson
Leonard your staff needs to do their homework before you interview. Afghan turquoise stone is world-renowned.

Aug. 16 2011 12:22 PM]]]

...get over yourself.

Aug. 16 2011 02:32 PM
ANNIE from New Jersey

Can you ask your guest this, if he thinks the Afgahans (and Arabs in general) dont want to change to the west's ways of law and legal systems in their countries, why are so many of them happy to come and live in the UK and then try and introduce Sharia law into our society. If they like it so much, why not stay where it already exists?

Aug. 16 2011 12:39 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I sat next to a Honduran woman on a bus from DC to NYC in 2002 (or maybe late 2001) We got to talking, & she told me about lavish fundraisers held by US NGOs to help poor people in the country. She said the too much money was spent entertaining the donors than actually helping the people who needed it, & it gave them a bad image w/those people. It's not a military situation, but is there a parallel w/the kind of "intervention" Mr. Stewart is talking about?

Aug. 16 2011 12:35 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Leonard your staff needs to do their homework before you interview. Afghan turquoise stone is world-renowned.

Aug. 16 2011 12:22 PM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Intervention is highly risky in no small measure because interveners are too often acting on insufficient information about and understanding of the target -- the culture, history, worldviews, mindsets, ono-the-ground realities; the interaction of these. And worse, in their arrogance, interveners often don't know/ acknowledge that they don't know...

Aug. 16 2011 12:17 PM
snoop from Brooklyn

Let's keep in mind that although the State department gives (very) limited training to their diplomats, the State department's (including USAID) diplomats rarely leave the embassy compound.

In fact it is the USAID, State, and yes, DOD contractors who leave their compounds and interact with Afghans every day. These contractors are the people who actually implement development programs. These are also the people who are not on State or USAID rotation schedules... as opposed to the State people who rotate out after a year never to return, the contractors are often in country for 4 or 5 or 6 years and get to know the place well.

The amount of training State and USAID give to these contractors, the people who are actually working with Afghans, get zero language or any other training. While contractors are often maligned, many times it is these people who are really dedicated to the country and the people.

Aug. 16 2011 12:17 PM

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