Just a quick observation about American short-sightedness. We stopped fighting a war in Afghanistan in 2013. Instead, we’ve been running a peacekeeping mission. So if the police move out why wouldn’t the gangs come back?
I’m not going to argue that the U.S. (and other Western powers) should have stayed in Afghanistan (I’m on the fence). But I am going to argue that Americans are woefully naive if they believe this is going to be the end of it.
In today’s NYT article, like almost all Western coverage, we’re only shown Afghanistan by itself. The map above is the big picture.
China, Russia, India, Pakistan, KSA and Turkey will all try to increase their geopolitical strength by using Afganistan to push their enemies back. Unlike the U.S., they cannot leave Afghanistan alone, even if they idealistically wanted to.
The Taliban cannot and has never survived without foreign money.
If the Taliban choose not to take foreign money and weapons then Militant Group X will take it (from India, Iran, Russia, China or Turkey).
I’m up for bashing the U.S. any day of the week. But in this case, I feel sad that we’ve become as cynical and short-sighted as this.
What about the argument that we need to put our resources into containing China? If that were true then we’d be doubling up on Afghanistan! Iran already controls Iraq. China is increasingly controls Iran. Therefore, if you look at this map you will see that with the U.S. gone, China may end up expanding its de-facto border almost into the Mediterranean Sea!
Perhaps, in the end, that’s for the best. Again, I’m just pointing out the situation is not what you read in the NYT. It’s complex and scary as shit to anyone who follows it.
What Americans don’t understand is we don’t worry about borders because we’re so isolated. This is NOT the case in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It’s easy for Americans to say, what’s the big deal? Yet border insecurity was a big factor in both World Wars.
The West leaving Afghanistan is not without huge risks in global peace. There’s nothing preventing a 3rd World War from starting like the two before it. Last time we were the underdog with little to lose. Not so today.
A follow-on to this piece here.