Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:19 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:19 | SYDNEY

Afghanistan: What your bright idea?


Sam Roggeveen


18 January 2008 10:17

Deakin University academic Scott Burchill, a man of the left, may not thank me for this observation, but his latest op-ed for The Age sounds positively Burkean:

Interventions inevitably produce many unexpected consequences and insoluble problems, including terrorism, insurgency and resistance. As has been seen in Iraq, wars usually go awry and often become uncontrollable.

That kind of conservatism, sceptical of man's ability to impose utopian plans on others, is welcome. But having argued that there is no military solution to the Afghanistan problem and that Prime Minister Rudd, in saying Australia was in Afghanistan for the long haul, is committing us to what may be a huge foreign policy blunder, what alternative does Burchill offer?

Only diplomacy and compromise will spare (Afghanistan's) benighted population from further misery.

That's it? Just 'diplomacy and compromise'? Please, Scott, tell me this column was not just an excuse to bash the US and its allies, and that your constructive suggestions for Afghanistan's future were edited out.

Full disclosure: I took some of Scott Burchill's courses when I was a Deakin University undergraduate in the early 90s, and he (favourably) assessed my honours thesis.