A ‘Strategic Apocalypse’ in Afghanistan: A Seismic Shift, Years in the Making
China is more determined to shape the region than many analysts realise, Alastair Crooke writes.
A huge geo-political event has just occurred in Afghanistan: The implosion of a key western strategy for managing what Mackinder, in the 19th century, called the Asian heartland. That it was accomplished, without fighting, and in few days, is almost unprecedented.
It has been a shock. Not just one of those ephemeral shocks that is soon forgotten, but a deeply traumatic one. Unlike the psychological impact of 9/11, the western world is treating the experience as mourning for the loss of ‘a loved one’. There have been ministerial tears, chest beating and an entry into the first three stages of grief simultaneously: Firstly, shock and denial (a state of disbelief and numbed feelings); then, pain and guilt (for those allies of ours huddled at Kabul airport), and finally, anger. The fourth stage is already in sight in the U.S.: Depression – as the polls show America already swinging towards deep pessimism about the pandemic, economic and prospects, as well as the course on which the American Republic is set.
Here we have a clear statement from the editors of The New York Times of who that ‘loved one’ was:
[The Afghan debacle is] “tragic because the American Dream of being the ‘indispensable nation’ in a world where the values of civil rights, women’s empowerment and religious tolerance rule – proved to be just a dream”.
Michael Rubin representing the hawkish AEI pronounced an eulogy over ‘the corpse’:
Biden, Blinken, and Jake Sullivan might craft statements about the mistakes of earlier NATO overreach, “and the need for Washington to focus on its core interests further West. And Pentagon officials and diplomats might contest any lessening of America’s commitment with indignation, yet the reality is NATO is a Dead Man Walking”.
An earlier piece, reflecting fury at Biden – and the sense of a strategic apocalypse having befallen Washington – is best caught in this agonised cry, again from Michael Rubin:
“By enabling China to advance its interests in Afghanistan, Biden also enables it to cut-off India and other American allies from Central Asia. Simply put … Biden’s incompetence now risks the entire post-World War II liberal order … God help the United States”.
Rubin says plainly what Afghanistan was always truly about: Disrupting Central Asia, to weaken Russia and China. Rubin at least spares us the hypocrisy about safeguarding girls’ education (others, who are close to the U.S. military industrial complex, continue the mantra of the need to re-deploy to Afghanistan and for continued war – and consequent weapons sales – in Afghanistan, in part ‘to protect’ women’s rights). Rubin concludes: “Rather than enhance America’s position against China however, Biden has hemorrhaged it”.
In Britain too, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tom Tugenhadt, has lamented Biden’s strategic mistake, and the imperative to not give up – but to persevere: “This isn’t just about Afghanistan”, he writes, “It’s about us all. We are engaged in a challenge over the way the world works. We’re seeing autocratic powers like China and Russia challenge the rules and break the agreements we’ve made …”.
Tugenhadt believes that: “We can turn this around. We need to. This is a choice. So far we’re choosing to lose”. Many hawks in Washington acknowledge that this is, of course, impossible. That era is now gone – indeed, what the last days events in Afghanistan represent is a paradigm lost.
Many are deeply angry at Biden (albeit reflecting mixed agendas), and are bemused too, at how this could have occurred. The explanation however, may be even more disturbing. The writing had long been writ
Article from LewRockwell