Outside Reading: Don’t Turn Conflicts into Proxy Politics

by Joshua Foust on 1/6/2009

This is way off topic here, but readers might like to read my latest column in the Columbia Journalism Review about coverage of the war in Somalia. It’s mostly critical of how people seem to be turning it into a prism through which they filter their own partisan politics, but I do manage to draw an Afghanistan connection:

The sad part is, Somalia bears a striking resemblance to the site of another internecine war in which the U.S. is currently embroiled: Afghanistan. Years of collapsed, weak, or nonexistent government, combined with a raging factional civil war driven by clan, tribal, or ethnic loyalties, now coming under the sway of an Islamist movement that grows its popularity every time it imposes justice and order no matter how brutal, with security and economic consequences that reach into every neighboring region in a negative way: this could be either Afghanistan in the late 1990s or Somalia today.

Anyway, I think the point there is applicable to Central Asia as well, or, hell, all of political discourse. It’s one of the many reasons we tend to shy away from domestic politics on here.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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