A solution for ethnic conflict: democratic governance in Afghanistan, a case study

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Lyon, Peter David Sterling
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This thesis considers Michael Ignatieff’s theory regarding ethnic conflict and applies Afghanistan as a case study. Ignatieff correlates the outbreak of ethnic violence to the breakdown of state government which creates societal anarchy and war. Ignatieff argues that ethnic relations can improve through the creation of democratic institutions. Afghanistan represents a model empirical case study to explore the central tenets of the Ignatieff thesis. Ignatieff’s argument is critically analyzed by assessing the viability of transplanting democratic institutions into Afghanistan. According to democratic theory a successful democracy requires a strong economy, a vibrant civil society, an advantageous institutional history and a positive security and geopolitical environment. Based on these five key variables it is reasonable to conclude that Afghanistan is not predisposed to pluralistic governance. Such analysis highlights the limitations of Ignatieff’s thesis as his theory is only relevant to those post-conflict societies that possess the requisite preconditions for democracy.
Afghanistan, Nation-building, Ethnic Conflict, International Relations, Ignatieff, Democracy, Taliban, Insurgency