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Afghanistan: a classic proxy war « Previous | |Next »
October 14, 2009

Whilst Afghanistan may well be NATO's graveyard Glenn Greenwardt Salon.com makes an interesting observation about the cognitive dissonance in the US:

a nation crippled by staggering debt, exploding unemployment, an ever-expanding rich-poor gap, and dependence on foreign government financing can't stop debating how much more resources we should devote to our various military occupations, which countries we should bomb next, which parts of the world we should bring into compliance with our dictates using threats of military force.

No serious person thinks that Afghanistan - remote, impoverished, barely qualifying as a nation-state - seriously matters to the United States, or that the key strategic issues are centred Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or the well-being of the Afghan people.

Despite this there is an intense debate in the US over the war in Afghanistan and there is an indication that the war in Afghanistan is "Obama's War." Andrew J. Bacevich argues that Afghanistan is a classic proxy war: the issue of whether to escalate and, if so, by how much, is a proxy for much larger issues.

He says:

Implementing the McChrystal plan will perpetuate the longstanding fundamentals of US national security policy: maintaining a global military presence, configuring US forces for global power projection, and employing those forces to intervene on a global basis. The McChrystal plan modestly updates these fundamentals to account for the lessons of 9/11 and Iraq, cultural awareness and sensitivity nudging aside advanced technology as the signature of American military power, for example. Yet at its core, the McChrystal plan aims to avert change.

Its purpose - despite 9/11 and despite the failures of Iraq - is to preserve the status quo of a state of perpetual war that is favoured by the National Security State:
As the fighting drags on from one year to the next, the engagement of US forces in armed nation-building projects in distant lands will become the new normalcy. Americans of all ages will come to accept war as a perpetual condition, as young Americans already do. That “keeping Americans safe’’ obliges the United States to seek, maintain, and exploit unambiguous military supremacy will become utterly uncontroversial.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:36 AM | | Comments (4)
Comments

Comments

John Feffer says that NATO's current mission in Afghanistan, the alliance's most significant and far-flung muscle-flexing to date, might be its last:

What was once billed as the most powerful military alliance in history has been thwarted by an irregular set of militias and guerrilla groups without the backing of a major power in one of the poorest countries on Earth.

How can NATO go global when it can't even pass its first major test in Afghanistan?

"...crippled by staggering debt, exploding unemployment, an ever-expanding rich-poor gap, and dependence on foreign government financing..." So now we have MOST of the world standing back and watching the train-wreck unfold. The United States of America. Gutted and sinking, but too foolish to notice. And too big to fail. Looking for a bail-out, but blind to it's own arrogance.

Can we really be surprised by the behaviour of General Motors, Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac, Merrill Lynch, and AIG?

I watched the Hoffman and De Niro film "Wag the Dog" a few nights ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wag_the_Dog

I recommend that it be kept in mind whenever the US talks war talk.

"...engagement of US forces in armed nation-building projects in distant lands will become the new normalcy. Americans of all ages will come to accept war as a perpetual condition, as young Americans already do..."

In that case it's fair to believe that they'd all be happy to share the load.

C-O-N-S-C-R-I-P-T-I-O-N

Why not?