Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Afghanistan: The necessary defeat?


Your tax dollars at work.


   Who won this war? The longest war the US has ever fought on paper (20 years). It even beats out Vietnam for long drawn out attrition against an enemy, despite modern weaponry, against an enemy that resisted defeat. For the Taliban 'resist' is the operative word. Hide. Use forbidding terrain. Manipulate the local population. It was a very Viet Cong and NVA strategy and it somehow worked in the rocky moonscape desert of Afghanistan just as successfully as the jungles of South East Asia. All that 5th generation drone tech, satellite surveillance, state of the the art air support did not win the war for US forces.

   And now the retreat is humiliating not because The United States military displays weakness to its enemies but because the US has now demonstrated weakness to its friends. A defeat and a surrender (which in good faith Trump signed in February in 2020 in Doha) was at least an end to conflict. A conflict that could not be won. Biden tore it up.

  Yet this is not a red v blue situation. The US government is a monolith. Voting is a nice idea for the plebs but if it ever changed anything then they'd... do something else so long as it was saleable as "freedom". And when there is only one opinion you fall into a black hole of opinion...

  • A) Because the cost of such a victory was too high for the attacking force.
  • B) There was no support from the indigenous population.
  • C) In warfare, time is as valuable as weaponry, and if your side has time and no weaponry, you wait. 

   Probably with an agenda in mind, the craven US media accidently  conducted a recent interview with a Taliban spokesman. One look in his eyes and you could see that this person was a high IQ individual and the US interviewer a mere shill for AP and Reuters news wires. But his answers and demeanor spoke volumes for those with eyes to see.

  
That look in his eyes when Bin Laden was mentioned.


  What he knows and the world knows is that Bin Laden was a CIA Asset working with the CIA and the Mujahedeen against the Soviets when they invaded Afghanistan is the 1980s. He was their boy. Like Colonel Trautman in First Blood, the local police in the hick town didn't know what they were dealing with. In warfare, I'm a big believer in leaving people the fuck alone. Even if they treat their women like shit and throw gays off whatever their version of the Tarpeian Rock is; at the end of the day, it's none of the West's business. I'm sorry you were born in a shithole but sometimes, you've got to play the hand you get dealt.


Bin Laden was a CIA asset. This is known.


  How it became the West's business was in the wake of 9/11 when US neocons were given carte blanche to do whatever they wanted is interesting. And boy, did they want a lot. Here we are twenty years later and still watching a shit show that should have ended by January 2002 after a few million tonnes of B-52 payload. But it didn't happen that way. The opium trade was just too juicy for black ops cash. Next time you're in the ER after breaking your arm watching Porn Hub, just know that pain shot came from the miserable moonscape of Afghanistan. And yet 2 trillion dollars later and 4000 US soldiers lost and who knows how many Afghan's dead, what has been gained? The problem with fighting in "the gravetard of empires" is that it continues to be, no matter how much tech you throw at it, a graveyard of empires. The Russians tried it in the 1980s and left with a very bloody nose that soon later lead to collapse of the USSR. The British tried it and failed as Kipling said not so eloquently in a poem more than one hundred years ago...
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,


But really that's not the point anymore is it? You can read this opinion in just about every US
newspaper op-ed piece in the country. If there were a real media apparatus in the US, or in fact, if there
a media apparatus at all anywhere in what's left of Western Civilization, there would be honest reporting
on what is really happening in the world. My favorite line of bullshit was the complete failure to evacuate
Kabul and Bagram Airbase. I'm no fan of authorities left or right but Trump did at least project a kind of
will to power. Not that he understands Nietzsche or anything so profound but through his mouth and
narcissism, through his bravado naivety and hard capitalism, he was willing to make a deal. And as
simplistic as it sounds, he made that deal.

Trump was always an idiot and accidental genius at the same time. He was a type of phenomenon
that divided the US so spectacularly that the audience lost a view of the big picture. And for all his failings,
he did make a deal. A deal with the enemy. And deals are how wars end. Of course the newspapers went
insane but fortunately nobody reads them anymore.

Either way, the new geriatric in chief tore it all up.

Not because it was bad but because the orange man had negotiated it. I am no fan of either but you know
what I am a fan of?

Pragmatism.

Watching the politicians holding and passing the bag for the whole debacle is probably worth a cable TV
subscription but I've endured enough CNN in airport bars to last a lifetime. So I'll stick to clips on
YouTube. And by god were they selling the general public a narrative. After the truck bomb and by the
sudden entrance of Player 3, named ISIS K you knew US foreign policy had fully decoupled from reality.
The new enemy sounded like a Covid Variant in keeping with the Zeitgeist and was so stage managed that
any thinking person was reaching for the drinks cabinet even if they didn't have one.

Just imagine if you're the Taliban sitting back and watching America via satellite TV. They are not even
laughing because humor requires a degree or irony and tact. Major Steuber in the following vid means the
US tried to "nation build" but it local reality's could never be overcome. Especially the kid fucking.



Google fu has hit this link. Drag the timer to 23:55 to meet Major Steuber.


Do I have to quote Sun Tzu here? Maybe I do.

Country in which there are precipitous cliffs with torrents running between,
deep natural hollows, confined places, tangled thickets, quagmires and crevasses,
should be left with all possible speed and no approach.




The real question is, what's next geopolitically now that the US has lost Afghanistan and Bagram AFB
which was there ostensibly to threaten Iran? There is the obvious loss of international prestige but not a loss
of military dominance. But, the Taliban have proven just like the Viet Cong before them, that disparate
forces armed with small arms, RPGs and roadside bombs can win.

All you need is intent, balls and patience.

China has already made a deal with the Taliban. (Not officially but you know it is in place).

Their belt and road initiative (with the evacuation of the Americans) just opened a fresh square on the
chessboard that they will fill or have already filled. The Chinese aim is to recreate the Silk Road
(the most profitable trade route in history) but this time with two lane highways in each direction and
high speed rail.

We're talking something US military planners have feared for at least a century.

Never fight a land war in Asia
Never fight a land war in Asia...


The unity of the European and Asian (and African) landmass in one continuous travel route.

When China's belt and road initiative is complete, you'll be able to drive from Paris to Beijing so long as
you've got enough meth to stay awake. And this highlights the difference between US and China's foreign
policy. The Chinese are mercantile. They see the world as a transaction. If they want a road through
Afghanistan, they're just going to pay the Taliban 20 billion dollars not to fuck with it. The US could make the
same deal but their home population would riot for making a deal with the bad guys who make women
wash dishes and throw gays off mountains. The Chinese don't give a fuck so long as they get their road. The
US, on the other hand, is zip tied by "democracy".

And because of this, the US and the Europeans who spawned it, are in decline.

The belt and road initiative makes the US an island on the fringe of a world economy where dollar
hegemony is gone. The question is, "is this the necessary defeat" to set US foreign strategic policy on a new
realpolitick based track? Just by the blow back alone the US public, both left and right, are so against the
idea of foreign desert excursions, or foreign intervention of any kind, that it leaves neocons and hawks
in a tough position as far as their geopolitical aims are concerned. Does it mean a step backward for
Western power in terms a force projection? Are we entering the multi polar world beyond the dual
superpower paradigm that lasted until 1990 and, for the last thirty years has been a litany of made up bad
guys, amorphous terrorists somewhere in a desert and dictators that don't like Israel and ISIS "K".

For this writer, this black eye to US force projection, inflicted by goat herders in a formidable land is a
defeat no matter how you frame it. The question now is... what happens next?

And just like the insanity of the last 18 months, like most, I have no answer.

Usually I can sift through the geopolitical bullshit and spot the shot. But this time, I got nothing.
All I got is that Afghanistan is not the loss of American Empire but it is a major breach in the wall.


31 comments:

  1. You come back at the darkest period in history and make it darker. Is there good news anywhere? I need it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "the darkest period in history"? You need to read more history.
      Not meaning to be an ass, but reading history does put things in perspective. While current times are very strange and changing rapidly they are by no means the darkest. With all that said truth/history/perspective is determined by one's point of view, so perhaps this is the darkest time in your personal history. If so I'm sorry, it can only get better - right?

      Delete
    2. You can forgive the previous commentator. It is the darkest period in history for most people alive today. The only people who can comprehend real darkness are those who know history and that's 20% of the population at best Just imagine if the power went out via "cyber attack". Dr Strangelove even made a video about it... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtBGjr0X9nk a while back. Just imagine if the lights go out, not only will it be dark but it will be DARK. How many are prepared?

      Delete
    3. It's not "the darkest period in history", not by one bit.
      Though I'm Chinese, so...

      Delete
  2. Welcome back from the dead. I just about gave up on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bad times seem to re animate me lol.

      Delete
    2. I eagerly await a constant stream of posts, then!

      Delete
  3. Even if it's only once a year, you always deliver.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Always wondering what the next domino is to fall...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Syria and, if the Chinese have got the balls, Taiwan.

      Delete
    2. The Chinese don't have it... though the US may force them to.

      To win a war in Taiwan should not be enormously difficult for China, but to win the heart of the people in Taiwan will be a tall task.

      They don't want to start things off with a hot war with tens of thousands of casualties.

      Delete
  5. We all knew Afghanistan was a vietcong in the making - How are we going to nation build a country whose indigenous population is filled with religious zealots....? I agree with you on the fact that Trump's an idiot but you're giving him way too much credit... Yes, he knew this was a failing campaign but the way he left things in Afghanistan prior to his exit made things enormously worse... Afghanistan had been held together by the presence of Coalition troops against the Mujadeen like wars prior were being supported logistically and financially by China, Pakistan, and Russia... Why the hell did he order the draw down of troops from 14000 troops to a measely 2500 prior to him handing over the presidency? Was it his incompetence? Or was it truly by design knowing full well that the towelheads he just released would sweep across the country which Afghan troops who were mostly made up of drug addicts and outcasts... He knew damn well what he was doing by the advice of some other more intelligent advisers... Who had told him as soon as he lost the election that withdrawing the US presence as he wanted to soon after the loss would be a horrendous mistake... It might have actually been a cleaner exit... That being said... Biden is not off the hook either... There was some serious miscalculations of the competence of the Afghan army that we knew would not hold... What he should have done was get out of dodge per the original deadline set by Trump... It would have been less messy and unbeknownst to Trump the drawdown of troops didn't immediately sow chaos as he expected... Biden actually opened that can of worms by listening to that weasel of Ghani and extending troop presence a few months later... That being said I agree with most of your analysis but making Trump look like the master of deals is just bull shit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are not wrong. But in a way you play into my overall point. The US bureaucrat gang behind both Presidents has slipped, ever so slowly, into a late stage empire senility. Compared to the virility of the Chinese, this is a defeat they will note. Taiwan now becomes the subject billions of computer simulated attacks looking for a solution. You are correct in the minutiae of the botched withdrawal but you could blame Bush and Obama just as much. My point is the subtle doom this casts on US capability from the organizational level and the weakness of its cultural rot.

      Delete
  6. I see you got "factchecked" by Facebook. You must be over the target then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL they removed it today after it came out that 82 billion in war material has been left behind. Who fact checks the fact checkers?

      Delete
    2. Some media reports and social media posts have suggested that $85 billion in equipment was left behind, but this figure is misleading. The $85 billion price tag is the total amount the US has spent on security forces in Afghanistan. Yet a significant portion of that funding went to expenditures such as salaries, so it wouldn’t necessarily equate to that much in weaponry left behind.

      But there was still a vast amount of taxpayer-funded military resources left behind. According to an expert interviewed by Politifact, the real monetary value of the abandoned equipment/weaponry is likely closer to $10 billion. That’s still an astounding amount to essentially give away to a hostile and oppressive regime

      Delete
  7. it's interesting to see your analysis juxtaposed with War Nerd's

    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/08/the-war-nerd-was-there-a-plan-in-afghanistan.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems like the comment section is just as divided as it is here. What a shitshow, no matter who writes about Afghanistan, it becomes a nightmare.

      Delete
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  11. Afghanistan. It has swallowed or repelled invading armies for countless centuries. The U.S. is only the latest. But perhaps the most embarrassing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wartard steps all over everything. What I like and miss about his analyses is that he lays things out and pretends to not have a stake in the game. I don't agree with everything he says. He paints a picture. It's an entertaining read. Geopolitics is boring to the masses. He tries to make it relevant. But the US and Europe are so polarized v China, Russia, and 20 other minor counties that the enmity cannot be explained unless you dig into the weeds and get come up with what? A more detailed analysis? If this guy chose to post twice a week, he'd smash.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You know what the worst thing about all of this is? The general public do not care. Why? Because there is no American public anymore. America is just an open air shopping center.

    ReplyDelete
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