NATO chief wants more Afghan troops trained … NATO's secretary-general says the alliance should step up efforts to train the rapidly expanding Afghan army and police force. Anders Fogh Rasmussen told NATO's defence ministers Thursday that trainers are needed "to enable Afghanistan to stand on its feet as a sovereign country and defend itself from terrorism." The talks follow an appeal by U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates (left), who is pressing nations who have failed to offer combat troops to step forward with trainers. Bolstering the training effort is important because NATO wants Afghan troops to replace its forces in the war against the Taliban. There are some 243,000 Afghan army and police officers now, but NATO wants that number to reach 300,000 by 2011. A parliamentary motion passed March 13, 2008, calls for Canada to "end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011" and for all forces to have left by the following December. – CDC News
Dominant Social Theme: NATO will leave, but the Afghans themselves will pick up the slack.
Free-Market Analysis: We want to return to the topic of the Afghan war because the end-game is becoming more apparent – and we wish to present both the scenario and its consequences. To be clear, we were always skeptical of the military surge planned for Afghanistan. We never believed that it worked in Iraq – payoffs not soldiers consolidated Iraq's current tenuous peace – and the kinds of tactics that were used in Iraq may not prove effective in Afghanistan.
Yet winning in Afghanistan is important to the power elite. And thus it is a dominant social theme, as well, that goes something like this: "If the West does not confront the failed nation-state of Afghanistan and turn it into a Western regulatory democracy, then sooner or later the Afghans will cause the West terrible trouble once again."
Of course this theme assumes that the Afghan Taliban indeed conspired with Osama bin Laden to lob three or four planes at strategic American landmarks – a claim that has made more doubtful by John Farmer's book providing details about how the 9/11 Commission was serially lied to by the Bush Administration, the CIA, the FBI, etc. John Farmer was chief legal counsel for the Commission and is currently Dean of Rutgers law school.
It has always been our belief that the Anglo-American axis has targeted Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East not for fear of terrorism but to consolidate Western-style governance. The same thing happened in Asia, so far as we are concerned where the US fought several wars (along with the French) to "protect" Viet Nam, Korea, etc. from Communism. But the inevitable result was that the Western footprint of regulatory democracy was established in the region, chiefly in Korea – and also, ironically in China. There is plenty of evidence that while decrying "Red China," the power-elite has been instrumental in China's rise and its turn toward a hyper-regulatory quasi-capitalist structure.
The Anglo-American power elite is after ever-increasing global domination and Muslim countries need to be brought into fold. As we have pointed out many times before, Afghanistan especially was not a country ever apt to be part of the Western world. About 40 million Pashtuns could care less about Western regulatory democracy and had a tribal form of government that had worked well for several thousands years or more. It is tribalism, in fact, that the West has to tried to eradicate around the world in favor of the power-elite system of top-down regulatory democracy.
And so … to war. 9/11 was the proximate cause but the rationales for the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan have changed so much it is hard to keep track of them. Of course, the rationale doesn't really matter so long as there IS a rationale – oil, commodities, 9/11, getting rid of the Taliban, freeing women from the Burkah, whatever is the rationale du jour, that's what the Western mainstream media will dutifully repeat.
But it is more difficult these days to realize a dominant social theme than to promote one. The power-elite's fear-based promotions are, of course, as ubiquitous as ever, but they are not perhaps having the desired effect (or not the effect they had in the 20th century). Because of the truth-telling of the Internet, many of them are starting to unravel. The global warming meme was perhaps the first, but the central banking meme itself is in trouble, as is the European Union (see other article, this issue) and we believe the 9/11 fight-them-there-so-they-don't-come-here meme is in difficulties as well.
We think, despite the brave talk of the Obama administration and its generals, the war in Afghanistan is not going particularly well. We do not write this with any great pleasure, for we grieve for the brave boys who have died over there and of course for their families. And it is not just Americans that have died in Afghanistan during this horrible, senseless, eight-year struggle – Australians, British, Germans and other European soldiers have been maimed or killed by the thousands.
We think, in fact, the power elite is on the way to failing in Afghanistan and perhaps in Iraq as well. One way to recoup may be through a war in Iran, but even here there are major obstacles – particularly Russia and China (as well as Turkey and Venuzuela), countries that value Iran's ability to irritate the West and its strategic position on the world map.
If the power elite (and we do believe it is an elite that is waging the war) DOES ultimately fail in its Afghanistan war, this would be news indeed. As much as the euro promotion, the elite needs the war in Afghanistan to succeed from the standpoint of advancing global governance. Indeed … there must be no corner of the world immune from power elite promotions and influence. Russian and China, despite their adversarial stances, are partial to some Western blandishments. So are the generals in Pakistan. The Pashtuns could care less. They are world's last, vestigial tribal entity of martial significance.
At one point there were said to be only several hundred Taliban, but there are sure a lot more of them now. As the West has stepped up its invasive "surge" to win the "hearts and minds of the Afghans," the Taliban seem to be surging as well. It has not apparently occurred to the NATO/American brain-trust that it may be too late to win the hearts-and-minds of most Afghans. As the surge ramps up, more and more Pashtuns silently and nocturnally begin fighting for alongside their brothers, fathers and cousins – for the Taliban is a Pashtun entity.
Almost every day now come American apologies for blowing up or shooting down civilians. And almost every day now come tales of Taliban atrocities intended to cow Afghans that might be contemplating cooperation with Western forces. And while we read article after article about the schools and post offices that Marines are building for Afghan communities, we have a sneaking suspicion that Western soldiers – after so many years – are looked on as interlopers and violent meddlers, not friends of Afghanistan.
It doesn't seem to us that the Pashtun Afghans have any great love for the Taliban political and religious extremism – but the increasing dislike for American/NATO forces trumps any queasiness over the Taliban, at least for now. The much-heralded invasion of Kandahar, has been put off a bit; reportedly Western forces have found it more difficult to consolidate gains in Marjah than they initially believed. Invading was the easy part.
So now it has come to this. Western forces will speed up training of the Afghan army and police forces. The grunt work will be carried out by Afghans themselves. A regulatory democracy will be built by Afghan, not Western, force of arms. Only, as we understand it … the Afghan police and army forces are not entirely or predominantly Pashtun. They are in some measure (perhaps in large measure) comprised of other ethnicities, and there are literally centuries of historical tension between the Pashtuns and such Afghans. This strategy may turn out to be not a formula for pacification, so much as for continued civil, political and military difficulties.
The West seems to us to be struggling in Afghanistan. And the unsuccessful unwinding of the war (if it comes to that) could have major consequences for the elite's strategy of global governance. It could surely usher in additional instability elsewhere in the world. Certainly, it would be perceived as a setback for what is increasingly perceived as an Anglo-American gambit. Time will tell, of course. But Afghanistan has never proven an easy region to subdue. The 21st century may be no different than the 20th in this regard.