Cargo cult democracy in Afghanistan
Just after World War II a number of cargo cults started in the South Seas. During the war they had seen airplanes arrive with cargo to equip the troops. Once the war ended the troops left and the cargo stopped arriving. Seeking to remedy the situation they created airstrips. They carved headphones from wood and wore them while sitting in bamboo control towers. They waved the landing signals while standing on the runways. They lit signal fires and torches to light up runways. But it didn’t work. No airplanes landed. These cargo cults followed all the apparent precepts and forms of aviation, but they missed something essential, because the planes didn’t land.
A similar thing is happening in Afghanistan. There is a cult that has created ballot boxes and ballot papers. They’ve created polling stations and electoral registers. They’ve even created an electoral commission. And they think democracy will magically come to Afghanistan. But it’s not working. They’ve missed something essential.