How the IMF might save Afghanistan from its leaders … The International Monetary Fund used to be hated, blamed for the privatisation programmes it imposed across the world in exchange for loans. Then it spent a decade in relative obscurity. Now, as countries like Greece are forced to beg for loans, the Bretton Woods institution has again become a popular bogeyman. Every Greek protester thinks that all would be well if only their government… told the IMF where to go. – UK Spectator/Daniel Korski
Dominant Social Theme: War has not civilized these Afghan tribes; maybe the IMF can.
Free-Market Analysis: This article in the British neo-con Spectator magazine caught our eye because it made the case that the IMF could do the job that a million-man Western army had not been able to do – "civilize" the Afghan Pashtuns by building up a Western-style state around them. Ironically, we had no idea who the author was. When we searched the web to find out the background of Daniel Korski, we came up with this from a bio posted at the European Council on Foreign Relations:
Daniel Korski joined the European Council on Foreign Relations as a Senior Policy Fellow in October 2007. Previously, he was a Senior Adviser in the U.S State Department, a position he was seconded to by the British Government. He spent the first quarter of 2007 in Basra in southern Iraq as Head of the UK/US Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).
Prior to his US posting, Daniel was the Deputy Head of the UK's Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit (PCRU), an inter-departmental organization set-up up by the Ministry of Defense, the Foreign Office and Department for International Development. Daniel has also worked in Afghanistan as a Policy Adviser to the Minister for Counter-Narcotics. He remains a Special Adviser to the U.S Project on National Security Reform.
Though we could not find his full bio on the Spectator site itself, the European Council on Foreign Relations explains that he blogs for Spectator, so we are fairly sure that this bio provides us with his background. It is a truly remarkable article, presenting the idea of the IMF and the current banking environment as the ultimate civilizing influences.
How does he arrive at such a startling conclusion? He explains that the IMF, which he calls hard-nosed and unsentimental, provides exactly what is needed to "save governments from themselves." In making this statement, he avoids mentioning the World Bank that does a good job of providing these countries with the loans that the IMF later has to ameliorate.
As we have pointed out, the IMF and World Bank are a kind of tag team, with the World Bank facilitating dictator's borrowing and the IMF insisting that citizens pay for their country's indebtedness. This is exactly the process the Greeks and Spanish are now protesting.
It is also the situation in which Afghans find themselves. Because their fledgling banking system is now bankrupt due to mismanagement and corruption, the Afghan people are going to be required to borrow from the IMF and pay back the bank debt via taxes. This is what the Western mainstream press calls "progress." Before, the Afghans did not pay taxes and did not have a banking system. Western civilization requires both. Here's more from Korski's article:
As The Guardian reported yesterday, the Afghan government will struggle to pay its bills "within a month," after the IMF rejected proposals for resolving the Kabul Bank scandal. The IMF is holding out because Hamid Karzai's government have not agreed that taxes, rather than foreign aid, should repay the $820m taken out of central bank reserves last year to prop up the bank, and they are stalling on criminal investigations against managers and politically-connected shareholders.
Hamid Karzai has persuaded himself that it is all somehow the West's fault — because the US did not react to an audit report into Kabul Bank. He will likely do as he always does, which is to throw a childish tantrum, and the US will back down for fear of further problems. The IMF tends not to have any such qualms. They will hopefully push the Afghan government towards doing what it has never had to do: take responsibility. This will be an important marker of things to come, as the US draws down its presence and moves attention elsewhere.
Korski concludes his article by pointing out that by insisting rigorously on the mechanisms of Western finance, the IMF may "do more for the state-building process in Afghanistan" than have all the dollars, soldiers, drones and diplomats. We also note that for Korski, the IMF process is not only honorable, it is moral proselytizer. It is in fact a "responsibility enforcer." There is in our view a disturbing level of religiosity in these remarks. It reminds of us the famous remark by Goldman Sachs' head Lloyd Blankfein that his firm was doing "God's work."
The IMF is not a creature of God. The Anglosphere's gray central bankers are not acolytes. Central banking itself is not a spiritual endeavor no matter how much David Rockefeller proclaims it. Korsksi can cast it in these terms, but that does not make it so.
That such a position would be advanced is perhaps an indication of just how desperate the elites are when it comes to managing the Afghan fiasco. We have advanced the argument emphatically (see other article this issue) that the war in Afghanistan was not about oil or commodities but about finally defeating and Westernizing the Afghan Pashtuns and Punjabis that have inhabited the area for several thousand years. Without this pacification, the full job of imposing a one-world order must remain undone.
But it seems once more the Pashtun (Taliban) have resisted. The US is said to be searching for someone to speak to on the Taliban side so that NATO can declare victory and leave. Similarly, the US and NATO are finding that wars in Libya and Iraq are easier to get into than out of. All three wars are not going well in our view and now a fourth may start in Yemen. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Enter, now, the IMF. The IMF will insist that Hamid Karzai and the Afghans set aright the ship of state by rooting out corruption, expanding taxation and setting up an Afghan-style IRS. This is putting the cart in front of the horse. The Anglosphere elites use military might to destroy the current culture before introducing Western monetary and fiscal methodologies. In this case however they have not destroyed what they intend to replace. The Pashtun culture still exists. Afghans are not a conquered people.
How does the IMF expect to build a tax facility when the current culture is resistant to Western-style taxes? The entire thrust of the nation building process revolves around Western-style cultural architecture. But this is not an unmitigated good by any means. Most if not all of the modern Western state is designed to repress people, drain them of wealth and create a dependency on government. This is the "civilization" that NATO has been trying to impose on the Afghans, especially the Pashtuns. No wonder they don't want it.
The West has seemingly lost, or is in the process of losing in Afghanistan. Military engagements has not worked. So now, the big gun is to be brought in. The IMF is to do what the brutal process has not been able to accomplish. The war effort has seeded depleted uranium dust over the whole of Afghanistan so far as we can tell. Cancer and birth defects are up dramatically. Up to a million or more citizens have been killed, maimed or displaced. The Karzai government in Kabul is the most corrupt of its kind and most Afghans consider it illegitimate for good reasons.
Into this mess marches the IMF. The IMF is no more to be trusted than any other facility foisted on the Afghans over the past decade by the West. The Afghans know this. The idea that the IMF shall be either effective or respected is a foolish one. While the nation's fledgling banking system is foundering, there is in fact plenty of money in Afghanistan thanks to its opium cash crop. But the money is yet controlled by the Pashtun and the Taliban, not by the struggling central government. This is a matter of deep concern to the Anglosphere elite.
Do Western powers-that-be really believe – as Korski suggests – that the IMF will be able to do via a civil process what the military has not been able to accomplish? We would suggest this is wishful thinking. It is more of a desperate hope than a potentially logical outcome. It says something significant about the way the war is going and what the power elite hoped to gain and has not. What they didn't do with bullets they wish to accomplish with IMF contracts. Is this realistic?