The phenomenon of the west pouring money into “building the institutions of democracy,” “human rights,” and “humanitarian aid,” without putting processes in place, is not unique to Afghanistan. Iraq, the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority are all excellent examples of how dependence on the west, with predictable results, is created. In all these places, money was poured into building nations with any understanding of their unique characteristics, limitations, realities, and the ramifications for the day that same future state will need to establish and maintain itself without help from outside.
According to a probe by the NGO Monitor research institute, the European Union and governments of Europe have invested half a billion euros a year in promoting rights, building democratic institutions, and providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The Americans spent even more. Everything collapsed in the space of 72 hours.
This is not merely a lack of understanding or how to withdraw forces gradually and wisely. There is more than a little irresponsibility here, a lack of transparency and oversight – common in the aid industry, many of whose players have long since abandoned the principles of neutrality, promoting universal values and independence from political interests. The same phenomenon exists on the donor side, especially in governmental funding systems. The money is colored by interests, and generally there is no way of finding out how decisions were taken to fund one organization or another, even though the negative results are often a foregone conclusion.
In the anarchy of the international system, the principle is a simple one. The longer the dependence of the beneficiary on the benefactor continues, the greater the chance that cutting off that connection without proper planning will lead to a deep crisis. This is true for the Americans’ long presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, the billions poured into the Palestinian Authority without any oversight, and the aid money to Hamas in Gaza. And this brings us to the main question – what is the correct way to build institutions in a future independent state, in a way that won’t in with terrorism and tragedy?