We're Not Winning. It's Not Worth It … Here's how to draw down in Afghanistan … GOP chairman Michael Steele was blasted by fellow Republicans recently for describing Afghanistan as "a war of Obama's choosing," and suggesting that the United States would fail there as had many other outside powers. Some critics berated Steele for his pessimism, others for getting his facts wrong, given that President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan soon after 9/11. But Steele's critics are the ones who are wrong: the RNC chair was more correct than not on the substance of his statement, if not the politics. The war being waged by the United States in Afghanistan today is fundamentally different and more ambitious than anything carried out by the Bush administration. Afghanistan is very much Barack Obama's war of choice, a point that the president underscored recently by picking Gen. David Petraeus to lead an intensified counterinsurgency effort there. After nearly nine years of war, however, continued or increased U.S. involvement in Afghanistan isn't likely to yield lasting improvements that would be commensurate in any way with the investment of American blood and treasure. It is time to scale down our ambitions there and both reduce and redirect what we do. – Newsweek/Richard N. Haass, President, CFR
Dominant Social Theme: Heck, the West is peaceful and pragmatic never wanted war in the first place.
Free-Market Analysis: Because the Bell's mandate is to analyze the dominant social themes – the fear-based promotions of the power elite in this age of Internet truth-telling – we are often able to stumble on larger sociopolitical evolutions sooner than many. It is merely a function of our job, and we have no false vanity in this regard. We do not mention this to "blow our own horn" so much as to re-emphasize that one can gain much understanding of current events by paying attention to Western power-elite rhetoric in all its varied manifestations.
Thus it is that we were able to determine last year, far sooner than most (if not all) publications, that the American Federal Reserve was going to come under sustained attack; we made this prognostication when we noticed that the Fed was not mounting convincing counter-arguments to critics and was sending unprepared personnel up to the Hill to testify on significant issues. Likewise, by analyzing the rhetoric surrounding global warming we were able to discern its basically fraudulent nature and were not surprised, therefore (nor were our readers), when a cache of emails was unearthed which basically confirmed the falsehoods supporting the movement.
Earlier this month, we detected a significant shift away from support for the Afghanistan war – and this led to a series of recent articles analyzing the potential cessation (or evolution) of what we consider to be a watershed 21st century military struggle. We know we may have taxed the patience of those who provide us the gift of their occasional patronage of these modest pages, but nonetheless we felt it was important to dwell on the war because of what was obviously and evidently a changing approach to the struggle. You can read the Bell article here: "Beginning of the End of the Afghan War?"
Anyone can perform the kind of analysis the Bell attempts to provide. Simply accept (a terrible and fearful thing to be sure) that there is a power elite – a group of extraordinarily wealthy and powerful families and individuals engaged in an intergenerational conspiracy to create world governance – and then begin to track the dominant social themes that they utilize to shove a hitherto-unsuspecting public in the desired direction.
The hallmarks of a dominant social theme are its fear-based nature, the provision of convenient authoritarian answers that are presented as solutions to the false problems and the often exaggerated or even ludicrous nature of the promotions themselves (global warming, peak oil, etc.) Dominant social themes are often scarcity based.
In the case of Afghanistan, it seemed to us that the war was a promotion, as are so many power-elite activities. It was not a scarcity-based promotion but it was certainly fear based: "Terrorism emanates from Afghanistan and if the nation is not brought fully into the 21st century of the Western world, then terrorism in various forms will manifest itself and life will not be worth living."
However, we are always on the lookout for shifting rhetoric which in turn signals a shift in strategic direction. Steele's comments, derided in the mainstream media as a kind of "mouthing off" were no such thing in our view. We took Steele's remarks seriously.
We wrote: "Perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of a rhetorical repositioning here. It is certainly possible that the powers-that-be might be contemplating a climb-down over Afghanistan. If so, this would be a remarkable step and one that would save numerous American lives and give the war-torn country of Afghanistan the potential for a little peace."
While we speculated on a power-elite climb down, we never anticipated that we might have additional confirmation so quickly. But this cover story in elite-mouthpiece Newsweek (excerpted above) by the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, tends to confirm our initial impression.
The CFR is but one of a number of entities populated by power elite proponents; like all such entities, it is also seeded with prominent individuals who have little or nothing to do with a power-elite agenda. However, there is no question in our view that the CFR president represents some sort of power-elite perspective.
Is the appearance of this article around the same time as the one-day "conference" of some 60 states held in Afghanistan (to promote a "changing of the guard" and increasing Afghan governance) a coincidence? No, from our point of view, these are likely multi-faceted, deeply manipulative promotions that use every tool the elite can bring to bear to mould public opinion as it wishes. Something certainly seems to be happening. The amount of planning, timing and mustering of resources – generally speaking, anyway – is continually amazing to us. Here is some more from Haass' Newsweek article:
What should the president decide? The best way to answer this question is to return to what the United States seeks to accomplish in Afghanistan and why. The two main American goals are to prevent Al Qaeda from reestablishing a safe haven and to make sure that Afghanistan does not undermine the stability of Pakistan.
We are closer to accomplishing both goals than most people realize. CIA Director Leon Panetta recently estimated the number of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to be "60 to 100, maybe less." It makes no sense to maintain 100,000 troops to go after so small an adversary, especially when Al Qaeda operates on this scale in a number of countries. Such situations call for more modest and focused policies of counterterrorism along the lines of those being applied in Yemen and Somalia, rather than a full-fledged counterinsurgency effort …
All this argues for reorienting U.S. Afghan policy toward decentralization—providing greater support for local leaders and establishing a new approach to the Taliban. The war the United States is now fighting in Afghanistan is not succeeding and is not worth waging in this way. The time has come to scale back U.S. objectives and sharply reduce U.S. involvement on the ground. Afghanistan is claiming too many American lives, requiring too much attention, and absorbing too many resources. The sooner we accept that Afghanistan is less a problem to be fixed than a situation to be managed, the better.
This startling admission coming from the president of the CFR has a number of ramifications. If the elite has decided that the war in Afghanistan is not going to be pursued to a successful conclusion (the full imposition of regulatory democracy on the stiff-necked Pashtun tribe) then the war on Iran may not be pursued either.
We suggest this based on the logic that the only way for the West to win the war in Afghanistan is to expand the war dramatically and a new war with Iran would do just that. Alternatively, of course, a war with Iran may yet be contemplated (we are not fortune-tellers) and resources in Afghanistan may be needed elsewhere. Time will tell.
What is of more certainty (assuming the war is not enlarged) is that a draw-down in Afghanistan would mark yet another defeat for the current power elite agenda, already weakened by problems with the EU and the disintegration of the global warming promotion. The Pashtuns, and to a lesser extent the Punjabis in Pakistan, have never accepted the current model of regulatory democracy that is prevalent in the Western world and the generalized centralizations of power that are all-too-prevalent in tribal Sunni Islam as well.
In fact the Pashtuns and Punjabis are tribes with thousands of years of culture in these specific regions and Islam has obviously been a secondary influence in the area. Haass' article would seem to be a confirmation of this. His analysis, following on the heels of an examination of a Pashtun partitioning (the creation of a Pashtun nation-state) includes the following:
Another approach, best termed "decentralization," bears resemblance to partition but also is different in important ways. Under this approach, the United States would provide arms and training to those local Afghan leaders throughout the country who reject Al Qaeda and who do not seek to undermine Pakistan. Economic aid could be provided to increase respect for human rights and to decrease poppy cultivation. There would be less emphasis on building up a national Army and police force. …
Under this scenario, the Taliban would likely return to positions of power in a good many parts of the south. The Taliban would know, however, that they would be challenged by U.S. air power and Special Forces (and by U.S.-supported Afghans) if they attacked non-Pashtun areas, if they allowed the areas under their control to be used to supply antigovernment forces in Pakistan, or if they worked in any way with Al Qaeda. There is reason to believe that the Taliban might not repeat their historic error of inviting Al Qaeda back into areas under their control. Indeed, the United States should stop assuming that the two groups are one and the same and instead start talking to the Taliban to underscore how their interests differ from Al Qaeda's.
One can see in this perspective much that confirms what the Bell has been reporting. This was a war against the Pashtun's inconvenient affection for a "weak ruling center." Just as we have speculated, Haass' admission that the Afghan Constitution "places too much power in the hands of the president" is evidence of what the West planned for Afghanistan – the kind of regulatory democracy that is currently afflicting the US and Europe, with all of its manifold ruin.
Haass makes at least one other statement in this extraordinary article that we would like to draw attention to. He writes, "At the other end of the policy spectrum would be a decision to walk away from Afghanistan— to complete as quickly as possible a full U.S. military withdrawal. Doing so would almost certainly result in the collapse of the Karzai government and a Taliban takeover of much of the country. Afghanistan could become another Lebanon, where the civil war blends into a regional war involving multiple neighboring states. Such an outcome triggered by U.S. military withdrawal would be seen as a major strategic setback to the United States in its global struggle with terrorists. It would also be a disaster for NATO in what in many ways is its first attempt at being a global security organization."
It is this last sentence that caught our attention: "It would also be a disaster for NATO in what in many ways is its first attempt at being a global security organization." You see? The Afghanistan war as currently constructed was never about facile objectives such as plundering oil or staking out claims for "vast" resources. The Afghan war was about centralization of Western power and the pursuit of globalization via new military methodologies.
The proto-appendages of a global infrastructure-in-waiting are increasingly evident, of course. The UN is the main legislative body; the IMF is the Treasury; the BIS is, perhaps, the central bank and NATO is the army. Ironically, these elements are increasingly clarified by the waning of elite power. Indeed it may be said that the early 2000s were the high-water market of elite influence and progress toward a fully realized and robust internationalism. At the time, the EU experiment seemed solid, the global warming meme had momentum and Western wars were being waged aggressively and without crippling push-back from Western populations.
What a difference a few years makes. The combination of a fiat-money collapse in the West combined with the ascension of the Internet, a truth-telling device of considerable power, has ravaged elite memes. The dominant social themes that worked so well in the 20th century are failing in considerable ways. We have seen this before of course, most prominently nearly 500 years ago when the Gutenberg press ushered in an era of increased truth-telling that led to the Renaissance, the Reformation and eventually the populating of a New World and "these united States."
Often, the Bell receives criticism for not offering up "solutions" to the "problem" of power elite global promotions. It is hard to address these complaints on a piecemeal basis because it is necessary to put into context what is actually occurring – and that actually would mean writing an article like this one. Suffice it to say that what is happening now is a kind of huge and unstoppable tidal wave, one that is sweeping all before its path. Cultures and belief-systems will be reconfigured before all this is over. We believe the elite may have finally recognized this – certainly we see rhetorical indications that it has. (Perhaps elements read the Bell?)
The struggle is not over, of course. The elite has travelled the torturous path from secretive and compelling promotions to increasingly overt exposure. Unsure, perhaps, of how to handle this unexpected phenomenon, the powers-that-be are currently in the "double-down" mode, insisting on supporting failing memes through legislation and other forms of legal and military force. Ironically, these will likely only increase the push-back that is already occurring.
The reason that the elite uses dominant social themes is that campaigns of secret persuasion are the only feasible weapon when there are, say, 6,000 of YOU and six billion of THEM. We would suggest the outcome is in a sense pre-ordained. Censorship of the 'Net will not help in our view, not now. Legislative mandates may begin to meet civil resistance. War is an increasingly expensive and overly broad methodology of control, especially in a nuclear age. Support of dominant social themes is critical, yet this support is most difficult to initiate when one has lost control of the media. And when memes fall apart, the elite must inevitably take a step back, as we have long forecast. It's happened before.
We are not forecasting that this will be an easy process, or even a compressed one. History (even secret history) is not a neat process. But the process is occurring. On a more mundane note, those who wish to preserve their health, wealth and employment options in the 21st century would do well to pay attention to this larger, fundamental struggle. The battle between the power elite and Internet-based free-market thinking has long been joined. The results will unfold.