The recall in California goes on as nation building in Afghanistan comes to an end.

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September 14 is the last day for Californians to vote in the gubernatorial recall election. Recall supporters are making a final push to remove Governor Gavin Newsom from office. Photo by Shutterstock.

Joe Matthews, Zócalo columnist and President of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, tells KCRW’s Warren Olney that California’s recently adopted top-two election system is a threat to political parties. When the top two vote-getters are from one party, members of the other party have no voice in the run-off election. But Matthews admits party systems are here to stay as there is no place in the world that doesn’t have parties. 

Also, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of “Little America,” discusses a suburb the U.S. constructed in Afghanistan 70 years ago. He says Afghan leaders in the 1950s really wanted to rebuild their country in the American image. But U.S. developers with public money went about it all wrong, and the American-style village finally collapsed when the Soviet Union moved in.  

Plus, Col. Andrew Bacevich, president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and international relations and history professor at Boston University, says America’s nation-building exercise that aimed to transform Afghanistan was “utterly preposterous.” That 20-year blunder, along with mistakes made with COVID-19 and climate change, led him to title his new book “After the Apocalypse,” which proposes major changes in U.S. policy and leadership.




Warren Olney


Andrea Brody