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07 November 2017

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Leonardo

Thanks again for taking the time to write such an insightful and well thought out reply.

I wasn't sure what you meant but I had a hunch you might mean that India could respond by trying to destabilize the region. After all, what a successful trade route needs above everything else is stability. Creating chaos might slow down its creation or force China to find an alternative route (the recent face off in the Doklam Plateu being an example).
But that in turn would amount to negative influence. It wouldn't bring India and the central asian countries closer at all. Which would itself look like a sort of defeat for India.

Keith Harbaugh

I totally concur with the praise offered to this fine analysis by Brigadier Ali.
Thank you.

I would like to make one point, complimentary I believe, to his analysis.
The motivation for Britain to engage in "The Great Game"
was to protect "The Jewel in the Crown" from Russian domination:
no British "Raj" in south Asia,
no need for Britain to spend its resources defending/protecting it.
And, of course, Britain ultimately bankrupted itself trying to preserve its colonial empire.

Which brings up the question:
Just why is the US now emulating imperial England in worrying about who dominates South Asia?
I.e., with regard to

The new US strategy for Asia,
which has the goal of preventing China and Russia from dominating the Eurasian continent,
the question should be asked:
what on earth difference does it make to the US?

As for me, I respect the Muslims, the Hindus, and the Russians, and the Chinese.
If they want to dispute among themselves over power and control in Asia,
this is not a conflict the US should get involved in.

I think we should follow the advice (which I have modified by replacing, in the square brackets, his words with mine) of a certain dead white male slaveholder:

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is
in extending our commercial relations,
to have with them as little political connection as possible.
So far as we have already formed engagements,
let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith.
Here let us stop.
[Other parts of the world have] a set of primary interests
which to us have none; or a very remote relation.
Hence [those parts] must be engaged in frequent controversies,
the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns.
Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves
by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of [their] politics,
or the ordinary combinations and collisions of [their] friendships or enmities.

Keith Harbaugh

Brigadier Ali: with regard to your comment that

There are reports that the Russians are in touch with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Kremlin seems to follow a very pragmatic policy. The Taliban appear to be only interested in Afghanistan; unlike al Qaeda and IS, they are not interested in exporting their ideology to other parts of the world.
What do you think of the argument that
it is necessary for the US to maintain a military role in Afghanistan
to prevent/minimize future terrorist attacks against the US?
This is the argument that has been, and will continue to be,
used to argue for the US staying in Afghanistan.
And, above and beyond your personal opinion,
how can one offer a convincing argument against that argument?

FB Ali

Keith,

In my view, there is absolutely no reason why a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan would attack the US homeland. US troops in Afghanistan are, of course, an entirely different matter - the Taliban will fight them as long as they choose to remain there.

However, other Muslims, including from among those already in the USA, may attack the US homeland or assets abroad because they believe that the US is fighting against Muslims.

It is pointless for anyone to bring up any "convincing argument" against US policy in Afghanistan or other Muslim countries where it is fighting. The official reason for this policy is just for public consumption; the real policy has to do with other matters, including the CIA's goals.

There have been reports of helicopters flying in weapons to the small IS faction in Afghanistan, which is a rival to the Taliban. A typical short-sighted CIA gambit!

blue peacock

Getting defensive, eh!

I noted that my viewpoint on China being a source of global instability prospectively is not consensus. Forecasting is only probabilities not certainty and I provided the rationale for my thesis, unlike YOU.

Pacifica Advocate

Destabilization of the region is one alternative, and that is (as Gen. Ali points out, above) what the current policy is.

The alternative is if India's government shifts, and ceases to perceive the US as a valuable or useful partner; that could arise if its fears reassess the US/Saudi alliance as more dangerous than economic cooperation with China.

China and Russia are focused on ending the regional wars and stabilizing Asia. If India begins to believe a stable region is more in its interest than one at war, then it could very well choose to stop cooperating in Afghanistan. China is currently working hard on developing relationships with Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It's too early to tell how that will turn out, but the one thing they are NOT doing in any of those places is starting or contributing to wars.

Modi is a right-wing Hindu chauvinist who is still fuming over the rather meaningless losses suffered by the Indian military during the Sino-Indian border war of 1962, where China merely re-asserted control over the traditional limits of the territories in its possession (Xinjiang, Tibet). He is a reactionary currently riding a slowly building wave of economic and cultural advancement in India, and he's not doing much to encourage or further any of that. He is also an international criminal (genocidaire), a fact which many Indians remain painfully aware of. The geopolitical climate that is currently emerging could yet affect India's internal politics in significant ways, one of which is a big shift away from Modi's narrow world view.

Pacifica Advocate

>>>Are you asserting that Xi's faction is not corrupt?

In terms of the Chinese system, no, it is not corrupt.

You perceive it as corrupt because you're a westerner, viewing it from outside.

Xi's anti-corruption campaign is targeting things which Chinese view as corrupt. A high-ranking official who positions himself astride an agreement between a foreign corporate conglomerate and a local Chinese client is not corrupt; that's his prerogative. A high-ranking official who recruits capitalists to stake claim to a segment of industry slated to undergo 1000% growth in 30 years is not corrupt; again, that is her prerogative.

A Chinese official who hires a bunch of thugs to bully and/or murder villagers until they vacate their traditional land-holdings so that one of his buddies can build another useless apartment building there is corrupt. A Chinese official who turns a blind eye to thugs who dig cooking oil out of sewer gutters, cook it and filter it, and then re-sell it as foodstuffs is corrupt. An official who takes a bribe to allow a company to add melamine to baby milk that winds up killing thousands of infants is corrupt.

The Chinese draw a clear ethical line between what they consider is and is not corrupt, and since it's their country it's their prerogative to decide what is and is not ethically out of bounds. You have no say in such matters--and even less so since most of the "incorrupt" behavior that is enriching the members of the Politburo and CCP is perfectly mirrored and emulated in the US, UK, France, and Germany. If you want to insist that Xi and his clique are corrupt, then you must also accuse the Clintons, Rockefellers, Bushes, Cheneys, Heinz-Kerrys, Bidens, Cruzes, Christies, and Kochs. While I would agree with you on in that accusation, I would do so based on a strongly principled application of the US Constitution that the vast majority of the US public would not accept.

Pacifica Advocate

>>>In my view, there is absolutely no reason why a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan would attack the US homeland.

Yap. On three different occasions in the 90s the Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden, with the sole demand that the US first acknowledge the government it had established as the official government of Afghanistan and initiate formal state-to-state relations. The US refused on each occasion. The official communiques are all quite easy to view on-line.

There were no Afghanis on those planes; those were all Saudis, other Arabs, and Pakistanis. Nobody in Afghanistan was involved in the 9-11 attacks, and the Afghan government even offered to comply with US wishes, provided they were submitted on a state-to-state basis--which the US flatly refused. Bush issued an ultimatum to the fanatical barbarians, and when they didn't comply he punished them. In the end, the only reason I can see for the invasion is as an attempt to install a government that would be more compliant with US wishes, and/or deny Chinese access to the resources those peoples sit atop.

JohnB

My apologies to FB Ali.

I had meant to say I concurred with TTG's comments in regard to FB Ali's excellent essay.

Babak Makkinejad

America had been attacked and they had to do something.

Babak Makkinejad

There are roughly 500 million souls between Hindukush to the Mediterranean Sea. If they spend, on the average, a dollar a year on Chinese tades, that would be 500 million dollars a year. If they spend 100 dollars a year, on the average, that could be 50 billion a year.

blue peacock

The definition of corruption you have provided of land deals with favored developers with kickbacks also apply to several Xi faction appointees. There have been exposes of such deals on Chinese social media on Chen Miner the previous party chief at Guizhou, but he is a close associate of Xi and was appointed as Chongqing party chief last summer replacing Sun Zhengcai who was the youngest politburo member and accused of "ant party activities". To assert that Xi and his faction are not corrupt is ludicrous. If you follow Chinese social media you can read many threads talking about Xi's consolidation of power and the cult of Xi. These are not westerners but discussions among Chinese.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-16/downfall-of-chinese-city-party-chief-points-to-xi-power-play

BTW, I have not made any claim that the political system in the US is not corrupt. In fact the entire campaign finance system with PACs especially after Citizens United disadvantages ordinary people.

Fred

Pacifica,

The Taliban weren't smart enough to turn the SOB over after his associates had killed 3,000 Americans? Too damn bad for the Taliban. Should we get out now? yes.

Pacifica Advocate

>>>The definition of corruption you have provided of land deals with favored developers with kickbacks also apply to several Xi faction appointees.

You need to re-read what I wrote. I specifically pointed out that such deals are part and parcel of how the Chinese system works, and are not considered corrupt within that system. Nor are such deals generally considered corrupt--from a legal standpoint--in the US or western Europe.

I think that if you do consider such behavior corrupt, your time would be better spent on discovering and exposing that behavior in The West rather than attempting to cast aspersions on the Chinese system. Then, perhaps, The West might actually have some sort of valuable moral example to offer to the rest of the world, rather than the largely empty rhetoric it broadcasts today.

LeaNder

the "'Stans", which are called "Aryans" in India, and yes, thos're the same "Aryans" (though with a different pronunciation--"Are-yans", vs "Arians") that the Nazis appropriated for their own pseudoscientific ends.

Sorry, PA, I am not aware that the "Stans" played a dominant role for the Nazis. But if you like, help me out.

I am aware of the mythical racist theories of the Nazis though.

Below a really really superficial glimpse via Wikipedia. ... In a nutshell it's a pretty simplistic amalgamation of 19th century linguistic with racial theories.

India:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Order_(Nazism)#Hitler.27s_plans_for_India

ME Central Asia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Order_(Nazism)#Middle_East_and_Central_Asia

your response feels odd. But maybe I don't understand where you are heading.

LeaNder

In Afghanistan, then US and Russia and Iran are on the same side, supporting the Seljuk remnant against the non-Seljuk

What parts would that be in your theoretical frame?

LeaNder

Yap. On three different occasions in the 90s the Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden

In the 90's? Can I have a link? A little more information on that?

For the record, I disliked the Taliban as female, but was Obama even in Afghanistan in the 90s?

LeaNder

Fred, I deeply disliked the Taliban* but was there ever a definitive prove that Bin Laden was the master mind behind 9/11?

Let me put it differently. If a terrorist group in arbitrarily Greece, Spain, GB, Germany, Norway planned and executed something equivalent to 9/11 would either country have been attacked by the US?

To the extend I paid attention, their demand for evidence seemed sensible at the time...

* as female I would object to be prevented from education, assuming I could watch my brother to be allowed to read and write, or forced to see the world around me through some type of material grid.

Serge

Pacifica Advocate,
>those were all Saudis, other Arabs, and Pakistanis

They were all arabs,no pakistanis, all but 4 were Saudis. Interestingly 3/4 pilot hijackers were non-Saudis

blue peacock

PA,

I'm neither a SJW nor an anti-political corruption campaigner. I'm just an analyst that works at a financial firm. My firm has a decent sized stake in China and so we have a decent sized analytical team focused on China. The team has several Chinese analysts born and brought up in China and who live there. Unlike you, they believe that Xi's "anti-corruption" drive, only targets those who are perceived as potential rivals to his faction and is a campaign to eliminate his political opponents and consolidate more power.

My personal analytical focus in China is their banking and shadow banking system. In general I research financialization of economies, credit & monetary systems, trade finance and sovereign finance. I began my career on an oil trading desk and hence my interest in the ME. My analytical thesis is that the probability of China being a source of great global instability prospectively is rising. This is a non-consensus judgment currently. This has nothing to do with advocacy as you may perceive it. The client of my analysis is our trading desks and they take mine along with other analysis to inform their trading decisions.

Pacifica Advocate

>>>My firm has a decent sized stake in China and so we have a decent sized analytical team focused on China. The team has several Chinese analysts born and brought up in China and who live there. Unlike you, they believe that Xi's "anti-corruption" drive, only targets those who are perceived as potential rivals to his faction and is a campaign to eliminate his political opponents and consolidate more power.

Also unlike me, they work for an American investment firm, and they know full-well on which side their bread is buttered.

I have immense (!) personal experience with American corporate financial entities abroad. I am quite well aware how you and your people interact with "the locals." The attitudes and habits of your industry's overpaid "rank and file" is a significant part of the reason so many countries have shifted their estimation of American influence, these last few decades.

Or rather, to state it more bluntly: the locals are telling you what you want to hear.

First, I will uselessly warn you that this is precisely how the British Empire (which I also abhore) was undone. Secondly, I will point out the fact (!) that, in Asia, much as on Wall Street, employees dissemble in this manner ALL THE TIME. The only difference between the US and East Asia is that, unlike WASPs from the US, from the lowest of the poor to the highest paid employees, East Asians all consider such behavior as a condition of their employment. East Asians--like many other cultural regions of the world (the Colonel and TTG can back me up on this)--view the morals of the workplace solely in terms of a zero-sum game, where the mythically elevated "Protestant work-ethic" is entirely absent.

The logic is transparent, and infallible:

* They have a job that pays them huge sums.
* They don't want to lose it.
* They tell their bosses what they suspect they want to hear, and refrain from telling him/her what she/he might find disgruntling.

As for how they gauge what their bosses want to hear, that too is easy: they watch CNN, CBS, NBC, maybe Fox, read the NYTimes, the WaPo, the Atlantic....

Presto!

They tell you what you want to hear, and you chew it like a cow, and spit it up in a cud pre-masticated for public consumption in The West.

turcopolier

All

Without all the pseudo-academic crap about citations I personally know that the Taliban offered to shop bin Laden to the US. A lack of imagination and flexibility on our part prevented the deal. When you are busy trying to make the boss think you are more of a conformist badass than he then little that is new is possible. pl

Keith Harbaugh

Pacifica Advocate: With regard to your original statement that

On three different occasions in the 90s
the Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden,

with the sole demand that the US first acknowledge the government it had established
as the official government of Afghanistan
and initiate formal state-to-state relations.
The US refused on each occasion.
The official communiques are all quite easy to view on-line.
I have taken a look at the link you then provided:
https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB97/index.htm
I recognize the possible truth of your claim that
what that link points to has been changed from an earlier version.
However, looking at that page as it currently exists,
it is hard to find anything that supports your position.
In particular, that page provides links to 32 (!) documents.
Which, if any, pray tell, support your claims?

At the bottom of the page,
labeled "New Document: State Department Report, "U.S. Engagement with the Taliban on Usama Bin Laden," Secret, Circa July 16, 2001, 9 pp."
there is a link to
https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB97/index3.htm
which in turn points to a 9-page PDF:
https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB97/tal40.pdf
That sounded promising, so I read it in its entirety.
I could find nothing which supported your claims.
But possibly I overlooked something.

So, my questions to you, PA, are:
Is there something in that PDF that supports your claims?
Is there something in one of those 32 documents link to from the main index that supports your claims?
If so, which one(s)?

This is clearly an important issue,
so I hope you can provide clarity and specificity on it.
Thank you.

FB Ali

Keith Harbaugh,

If you want to get to the truth of the matter, just see Col Lang's post at 2:51 PM, 12 Nov, below.

blue peacock

As Col. Lang noted in another thread, you sure are pretentious and I will add, very jealous. Living on social security in Taiwan, eh?? Couldn't make much of your life and bitter about it?? It shows.

"They tell you what you want to hear.." Nonsense. You have no idea how performance driven our business is.

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