Help and change – only for those who want it for themselves

Tress and I watched a documentary on Afghanistan last night. I wonder now why the west bothers. The Taliban was always going to find a nest to hatch more perpetrators of violence in the name of Islam and in the case of Afghanistan, it looks as though they (the Taliban) are just sitting it out, waiting for the Americans and their allies to wear themselves and their families (and nations at home) out and go home. David Kilcullen was an expert interviewed and he was one of the most insightful and practical commentator who sounded like he was a true expert who really understood not just the issues at hand but the macro and even historical context of the conflict.

I remarked to Tress, as we watched the Americans struggling to train local Afghans to be police many of whom appear to be either under heavy drug influence (marijuana and opium were plentiful) or just too tribal and uninterested in modern policing methods, that the west is really wasting their time because you can’t help someone who refuses to be helped. The Afghans appear likely to slip into their old ways the moment the western forces leave, and the Taliban would return and re-impose their presence and will on the people. Or maybe they don’t see a problem – it is even likely they perceive the Americans and their western allied to be the problem.

A similar thread flowed through this morning’s news items. Most of them dealt with Julia Gillard’s new team. Lightweight, inexperienced, unskilled politicians who’re the Steven Bradbury’s of politics after the purging of the Rudd supporters. Still, she blames everyone for her own lack of judgment and political skills – everyone but herself. If she doesn’t see herself as the problem, she would just soldier on. Never mind the country suffers as a result – her own perception of how best to manage the situation overrides the interests of the country.

Without the objectivity of identifying the problem, and especially without the honesty to tell the people you are supposed to serve that there is a problem, self-interest carries the day. If one doesn’t see the need to change or for help, no change will take place. Status quo – for better or for worse, will be the order of the day.