|About the Book|
It is debatable whether Afghanistan historically meets most accepted definitions of a nation-state. Afghanistan has historically been governed by local and tribal leaders with short-lived attempts at a strong central unitary government. Whenever there has been a strong central government, it has relatively quickly been removed from power. The people of Afghanistan resent strong central government and demonstrate this through their repeated revolts and coups that follow any bold government intrusion in their lives. King Amanullahs sweeping attempts at westernization of the country and the subsequent coup that overthrew him demonstrates this. This historical trend raises questions about the United States current efforts to strengthen Afghanistans central government. Given the current United States administrations goal to reevaluate Afghan policy, this research is timely. This monograph asserts that Afghanistan should be governed utilizing a federal system with strong autonomous areas. It begins with a discussion of the modern history of Afghanistan, focusing on governance, and a brief background of Afghan cultural demographics. The second segment defines a federal system and an autonomous region. It also shows the strengths and weaknesses of each form of government. The third segment will be a case study of the countries of Spain, Belgium, and the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq. Both Spain and Belgium are examples of nation-states that are made-up of strong ethnic groups in which a federal system with autonomous regions has helped to stabilize. The region of Kurdistan within Iraq is an example of a country using an autonomous region to decrease ethnic violence and separatist movements with a positive outcome. The analysis of these three case studies will focus first upon the strengths exhibited by these chosen political systems.