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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

national security « Previous | |Next »
May 1, 2008

Paul Dibb makes a good point in an op-ed Sydney Morning Herald about national security:

National security is a greatly abused concept. Threats to our national security should be restricted in definition to events that could seriously undermine our territorial sovereignty, democratic freedoms and rule of law, and basic economic prosperity. It is not good enough to invoke generalised threats that could inconvenience us, such as illegal people movements or transnational crime, or challenges that could erode our standard of living such as climate change

We do not live in a flat world with no nation states. Nation states are still the building blocks of the international system, despite globalisation and terrorism Their national security means looking after their national and regional interests.

It is argued by conservatives that "national security'' requires Australia to send troops to Afghanistan to join the the United States and NATO in a "long struggle" in against a "very resilient enemy" intent on bringing the resurgent Taliban back to power. The tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, are Taliban controlled and a sanctuary or safe haven for al-Qaeda. Afghanistan is the central front in the war on terror, Pakistan is the key to this conflict,as the Taliban i spretty much governed by oPakistan's ISI secret service, working as a state-within-a-state. The Taliban are not a spent force and the Karzai regime in Kabul looks rattled. President Karzai is effectively the mayor of Kabul.

This is a US war. It's an endless war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan and the proxy war in Somalia. The Bush administration sees the Afghanistan-Pakistan border--not Iraq---as a place from which attacks on the US can be initiated from a "rouge "state. to its imperial interests. The al-Qaedan /Taliban "threat" is a bogeymen used by the Bush administration to scare Americans who might favor withdrawal. The U.S. cannot win, but nor can it accept the consequences of retreat.

You cannot help but judge that the longer NATO remains in Afghanistan, the worse it will be for them. How NATO is going to be able to extricate itself from the colossal muddle in Afghanistan is a now a key question.
If the the Iraq story has fallen off the newspaper front pages and out of the TV news in the last year, then today we are currently seeing is a selling of the Afghanistan war on the home front with words like 'progress' and 'optimism' being used.

So why is Afghanistan a strategically important country for the US? It has no oil.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:02 AM | | Comments (2)


It's important for two reasons:

1) It has been an American dream since at least the collapse of the Soviet Union to bypass Russian influence over the transport of oil from the *stans by building a pipeline through Afghanistan to a Pakistan port.

According to the White House website at the time, this was one of the most important points discussed by the two leaders when Bush went to Russia soon after the 9/11 attacks.

2) It is a building block in the encirclement of Iran, both militarily and by limiting the choices it and China have in building oil pipelines between the two countries.

A further, minor, point may be that while Afghanistan's oil potential may be limited, it does have significant natural gas reserves.

the common perception appears to be that idea that Canadian and British, German, Australian etc. forces are in Afghanistan in order to hold America's coat so that the US can continue with its occupation in Iraq. The task to stabilize Afghanistan and neutralize the Taliban and al-Qaeda is seen as seen as one front in George W. Bush's unpopular "war on terror." Iraq continues to poison everything.

The Afghan conflict is not directly relevant to Australia's own security. Al-Qaeda has never staged an attack on Canadian soil.Nor has the Taliban.

So the Afghan operation can be conceived of as part of greater US foreign policy.