The Rambler: An Open Letter to Hamid Karzai


I was deeply troubled upon reading of your dissatisfaction with the joint action taken by Russia and the US within your borders. Seldom do I pause to criticize the US anymore. As my radical passions have waned, so has my distaste for American public policy. But in this case I can certainly see her in the wrong. We are nothing if not a communicative people. Any casual stroll down a Philadelphia street, the air full of the colorful language of perturbed morning commuters, will drive home this point. We have never been shy about making our intentions clear, whether it is to stick the buffoon who cuts us off or to conduct a drug raid across international borders. But somehow when it came to informing you that Russia, that perpetual thorn in your side and ours, would participate, we were utterly and curiously silent.

I urge you, however, to consider the hard facts of our situation. Our present age, sir, has lost all interest in abstract principles of governance. It is unfriendly to idealists like you and me, men who enjoy what Kant would call “the metaphysics of politics.” I lament the passing of the days when a man could make his living selling dialectical materialism and social constructivism, but – alas! – they are no more. “Transparency” and “mutual consent” are such cumbersome words nowadays; they demand a sanguinity that none of our politicians – short of those with nobel prizes – find fashionable or necessary.

Our colleagues are fixed on the dreary business of “empirical data” and “quantifiable results.” I am sure you are aware that your country is the largest producer of opium in the world. Therefore a seizure of $250 million in narcotics, all 1088 kilograms of them, makes an excellent story, not only for the papers, but for a global public that prides itself on practicality. You and I know that Russia is particularly adept at the art of subterfuge, both in warfare and democratic procedure. What does a bit of bad blood matter, if she might help us get the job done? Besides, it appears that you could use the help. Five members of your elite force, sir, were killed in an assault that encountered grenades and heavy mortars, hardly the weapons of a benign and unthreatening cartel.

In sum, I entreat you to be generous and, barring that, hopeful. Men like us, who still hold to a sort of political bushido, may yet have our day in the sun. For now, however, we must put up with the vogue of instrumentalism and efficiency, or else find ourselves a new line of work. Here’s to definite results.

Respectfully yours,

The Rambler



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