Should James Carville Be Involved In Afghanistan’s Politics?

2919975671_d83fcb11a3The Democratic strategist and former President Clinton’s key adviser has joined the campaign of one of President Karzai’s challengers, Ashraf Ghani. Ghani is a former finance minister and was an analyst at  the World Bank.

The elections are taking place on August 20, so far President Karzai, despite his slip in popularity for allegations of corruption,  has a comfortable lead of about 20-points over his two main challengers. Ghani is in 3RD place, behind Abdullah who was a commander in the Northern Alliance.

Carville’s objective is to try to get his candidate into a second round against Karzai. The political strategist is already in full attack mode against the current President, he made the following statement about Afghanistan: ” Just because it has a failed president doesn’t mean it has to be a failed country.”

Ghani claims Carville is ” volunteering his time “, and not getting any kind of financial compensation for his work as a campaign adviser. James Carville, when asked by NPR, declined to say if he was getting paid for his work. Carville’s refusal to comment on the matter probably means that he is getting some kind of monetary compensation.

This is not a first for Carville. The man who is widely credited for getting Bill Clinton elected in 1992 has helped other candidates in various international elections in the past. However, in the current context of Afghanistan, and considering that the country is de facto occupied by US troops, the official involvement of someone as high of a profile as James Carville will be interpreted as a form of US meddling in Afghan’s politics.

Further, it could make Karzai’s re-election bid easier by making Ghani appear to be the candidate endorsed by the US. It will also, in a likely win by Karzai, make dealing with Karzai a lot more difficult for Richard Holbrooke and the Obama administration. Someone of the stature of Mr. Carville should know that he can’t really act as a private citizen especially in a country such as Afghanistan.


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