08 July 2014

Cookies! Oh Yeah, and Democracy, Too

The Coalition surrendered important territory in Kandahar Province last month, marking a bump in the road to Westernization and democracy.

When TGI Friday's was dismantled, it signalled an abandonement in one of the most promising efforts to bring stability, and deep fried foods, and fatty sauces to this part of the world.

Just when I had almost lost all hope, I discovered the cookies.

Cookies, particularly of the chocolate chip variety, are some of the most important weapons in democracy's arsenal.

I've written about this before, sort of. Back in the days of the Kosovo counterinsurgency, the Camp Bondsteel cookies kept morale high and the force fully capable. Don't underestimate the power of good food.

These KAF cookies are doing much more. They are forging critical bonds between US forces and the Afghans.They are spreading the ideology of democracy. The pride on the face of the third country national was immeasurable when I told him his fare was as good as anything in the United States. He knows he has the best cookies, but my endorsement confirmed to him that he was as much a proponent of the great American cultural experience, rather than a consumer of it.

Let's face it, if Afghans develop the type of healthy addiction to cookies from which I suffer quite happily, then this would be a place fit for democrats, religionists, atheists, nihilists, dudists, and even hipsters, like the kid who served me. It's the latest iteration of Thomas Friedman's McDonalds Peace Theory; this one will hold up better than Mr. Friedman's original formulation, because chocoloate chip cookies make people happy in a way that a Big Mac never could.

Big Macs are, while delicious, are indicators of a level of prosperity, whereas the cookies indicate a level of cultural sophistication and have the added benefit of inducing  state of bliss that makes armed conflict almost impossible to contemplate.

Until you take them away. Then all gloves are off.

Nobody could muster much outrage over the closure of TGI Fridays. Disappointment and sorrow, sure. But I wouldn't fight over it.

I would fight for these cookies, though. Luckily I won't have to. Because we're goona make it.

Long live Afghan democracy. Long live the Kandahar Fresh Deli chocolate chip cookies. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, TGI Fridays is gone! That was one of the very first things that you emailed us about back in March when you told us you would be going to Afghanistan.
    Rich: I'm going to Afghanistan. I sort of told everyone at some point or another, but here is the official declaration. We leave next week for Fort Dox for some mobilization training, and then at some point we'll get on a big plane and hopefully end up in Kandahar.
    Evan: Kandahar is actually quite lovely this time of year.
    Rich: I hear there is a TGI Friday's on Kandahar AB. Can you confirm?
    Evan: I believe that information has been true in the past. Burger King, Taco Bell, yes. To Google! I am sure someone has blogged about it.

    At least you've still got the cookies!