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Special Operations: The Tribulations Of Tribal Politics

November 1, 2009: In this year’s American defense budget, over a billion dollars is allocated, in effect, to bribe Afghan tribal leaders. This is not something new. U.S. commanders have been buying the loyalty (or at least neutrality) of dozens of Afghan warlords and tribal leaders since 2001.

via Special Operations: The Tribulations Of Tribal Politics.

What a great article illustrating the realities in most of the world.  While the left likes to hold pretend indignation over corruption (they don’t hold a candle to anyone with respect to corruption- -just look at Chicago, NJ, the UN, and where the stimulus money actually went), most of the world does indeed operate within a corrupt environment.  The more government, the more corrupt.

Bribing the tribes is indeed a path to success, but what I love about this article is the notion that it isn’t just about the money or gifts, that’s a given, it is about the relationship itself.  To be successful, even with corruption, in associative countries a relationship must exist first.  Relationships are not just quickly and automatically created, they need to be developed and nurtured, which takes time.  It is one of the reasons why the MPRI team here has been so successful, we’ve been here since 2006 and the Afghans know us well and listen to us.  The Brits however rotate every 6 months, and so a good portion of their tour is spent just developing relationships.  They lean on us to help bridge-that-relationship-gap, so we often help the UK folks “get there” with the ANA.

In the hinterlands, the 1 year tours can hurt because whatever deals were made with one team have to be renegotiated and redeveloped with the replacement team.

I like how the folks at Strategypage recognize this key element in working with collective/associative cultures… great job!

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