Asia Society Southern California held a panel discussion Tuesday (before the announcement of President Obama's new timetable) to discuss the ramifications of an American troop drawdown in Afghanistan, reports the Huffington Post. Panelists included Saad Mohseni, "Afghanistan's first media mogul" according to The New Yorker, and Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC news; the discussion was moderated by entertainment executive and Asia Society Trustee Tom Freston.
Panel discussion highlights, via The Huffington Post:
The panelists discussed the threat of government collapse and civil war in Afghanistan after U.S. forces depart, conflicts similar to the ones that followed in the "power vacuum" left by Russia's departure in the early '90s. If an "Afghan Autumn" (analagous to the Arab Spring) were to take place, Mohseni and Engel warned, the country would be left in anarchy and chaos.
"There's a danger that there are protests that will spin completely out of control. And you have to understand that Afghanistan is more vulnerable to that spirit — probably for a long, long time," Mohseni said in the article.
During the discussion, Engel contrasted the American use of military force to overthrow dictators in the Middle East to the Arab Spring:
"Here's the rub. We spent a trillion dollars... to export democracy to totalitarian regimes, and it happened for free. And that is the great irony: That you can't beat people into moderation — or into democracy."
Huffington Post's post-event interviews:
Click here for the original Huffington Post article.