Three main lessons may be drawn from the postconflict democratic transitions in Afghanistan and Iraq. First, the rules of the game need to be designed in such a way that they produce political dynamics responsive to the host-country’s challenges. Second, external actors should continually engage local leaders and steer them toward political strategies that move their countries forward. Third, organization and mobilization of constructive political forces are crucial. At a minimum, the United States should do more to encourage democratic forces to coalesce in order to exert greater influence.