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05 October 2013

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The Twisted Genius

Good! I read this news this morning with a smile of satisfaction. In time, Americans will only read about Afghanistan in the pages of National Geographic. Let the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have a go at it if they want. If I were king, I'd also greatly reduce our presence in Qatar and Bahrain. We have no need to "surround" Iran.

jon

No surprise at all.

And on this day, twenty seven years ago, Iran Contra started coming to light and unravelling, with the downing of Eugene Hasenfus' airplane.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Hasenfus

Fred

From the NYT: "The first is Afghanistan’s insistence that the United States guarantee its security, much like any NATO ally,..."

I think the NYT actually believes Afghanistan is like an 'ally'. Humorous coming from the blessed ones with no obligation but pontificating to the masses and generally rustling papers while enjoying a $7 latte at a coffee shop 3,000 miles away from the roof of the world. I sure hope someone figures out how to steal our billions back from Karzai and company once he is safely escorted to Paris/London/Dubai or whereever else he may go to enjoy it all.

Tigershark

Darn. (And we did read it here first.)

Bandolero

I tend to think it's good news for the people of Afghanistan.

When I read Elie Krakowski's reasoning on why the US should go into "The Afghan Vortex" I didn't understand it.

http://www.israeleconomy.org/strategic9/strat9.htm

It sounded for me a bit like "The US should go into that war, because the US can." And I could neither understand how would it work when peace in Afghanistan is extremely dependent on good relations with all neighbors but the US relations with Iran were quite bad and the relationships with Russia and China were neither very trustful after the Kosovo standoff. Today I think that's exactly the main reason why that nation building mission failed.

Were they hidden and dark second thoughts like securing a steady opium supply for western markets? I don't know, but if they were there it was an even more foolish adventure.

So, today I think the SCO is best position to bring Afghanistan to peace, because it has best relations to all of Afghanistan's neighbor and surely better positioned to do that than NATO is.

I pray for the Afghan people SCO may finally find peace after nearly 40 years of war, and hope hey will dry up the Afghan opium supply that's bringing so much havoc to people in the region and elsewhere. NATO definitely miserably failed to do dry that drug pipe.

turcopolier

bandolero

"hope hey will dry up the Afghan opium supply that's bringing so much havoc to people in the region and elsewhere." Dream on. pl

Fred

US relations with Iran, Russia and China were the reasons 'nation building' failed? That's a good one. I did need a chuckle today. Nato failed to dry the drug pipe? Well they certainly didn't do the same thing the Taliban did to dry it up. But then they managed that in the non-nation of Afghanistan that existed before 2001, wasn't it?

confusedponderer

No? But that's what a siege is all about.

That said, I second your sentiment.

Peter C

Fred, how much do you think Karzai will fetch per lecture doing the U.S. circuit?? How much will Union 76 pay for consulting??

Babak Makkinejad

SCO is neither capable nor willing to do anything in Afghanistan (or anywhere else). It is a forum for older men to get around and chat a bit.

Babak Makkinejad

US turned Afghanistan into her sand box to the exclusion of many others, including Iran.

When Iran offered to train the Afghan police, it was not taken up; Germans were brought in to train the Afghans to police Sonthofen.

And then there was the case of buying asphalt from Iran - no that would not do. US had to pay extra to get it from elsewhere.

As for drug trade; Taliban did nothing against the opium trade until their last year in office. Under NATO, that trade has grown and is now the most modern part of Afghan economy.

Afghanistan was a state in the person of the king; after 1973 coup, the unitary Afghan state ceased to exist - it no longer had any theoretical basis for its existence.

Other states have gone through such convulsions: USSR, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Somalia, British India, and perhaps Afghanistan ought to be broken up into 2 or 3 other countries that enjoy the legitimacy and cohesion of their populations.

jon

I just came across this article, that posits tribal and periphery versus capitol dynamics, for much of al Qaeda and related groups' motivations. This is in contrast to Islam receiving most of the attention and responsibility. I think the article is a useful corrective and balance, with many important insights, which can help give greater depth and clarity to analysis. It also echoes several point which Col. Lang has made previously.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/oct/24/terror-hidden-source/?page=1

Fred

I doubt he'll make much though I'm sure a few Universities will try; if nothing else it would generate publicity. I'm sure he'll get his 'consulting' gigs.

Bandolero

pl

I'll do and I'm quite sure that Khamenei, Putin and Xi are deadly serious about pushing that opium desaster out of their backyard. Let's see how they succeed or fail when they are in charge in Afghanistan and judge in a couple of years.

Charles I

I saw on CBC tv news channel this morning that Karzai is saying it is time foir the Taliban to start to share in governing. What. . . the parts they're not in charge of now?

Charles I

They may well be, but the people want what the people want, and a lot want to get rich smuggling drugs, or need the cash to keep up the fight.

Not to mention the poor saps growing the stuff - hearts and minds and self-sufficiency, isn't that why the Afghan dope kept growing?

Bandolero

Charles I

To the first part of your comment I agree. But that doesn't give an answer to the question why 90% of world opium prodcution during the recent three decades went to a specific location - Afghanistan, and not, say, Greece or California. I think it's about the will and the ability of the government to prevent the opium growing business unfolding.

To the second part of your comment I disagree. AFAIK, opium farming is not about hearts and minds and self-sufficiency of poor saps, but big business for the strong and powerful. The big boys running the business do not allow poor peasants in Afghanistan to spoil them the prices with unauthorized overproduction.

So, what I expect to happen, Iran, Russia and China will do when they are in charge of Afghanistan is to pressure the government of Afghanistan to bring the opium farming business down, so the big boys running the world heroine business will look for other places to grow their stuff.

It's surely a hard job to crack down on opium business, and it needs a lot of efforts and wisdom to succeed, but the interest of Iran, Russia and China to push that devastating business out of their backyard is high. That said, if Khameini, Putin and Xi manage to bring opium farming in Afghanistan to half of what it is now after the NATO troops left, and manage to put it another time in half in another five years, I would deem it a big success.

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