Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… The First Step

An image of the Taliban bombing of the Intercontinental Hotel in the heart of Kabul (Kabul Province) AFGHANISTAN


US President Barack Obama announced his decision to begin withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan. After ten years, the major military operation pompously named “Enduring Freedom” by US President George W Bush concluded. At that time, Washington labelled Osama bin Laden and the Taliban movement “enemies of freedom”, and it placed them on the list of outlawed terrorist organisations. However, on the eve of President Obama’s speech in Washington, yet another piece of sensational news surfaced. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates officially confirmed that US diplomats are negotiating with Taliban representatives. At the same time, he said, they’re meeting with the Taliban without the participation of the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai. This offended Karzai, who then said something that he hadn’t dared to speak before. Mr Gates quoted him as saying, “We’re not going to thank the USA, for they’re here following their own agenda, which they wish to achieve by using our country”.

Most political commentators think that President Obama’s decision to run for a second term led to his announcement of the beginning of an early withdrawal from Afghanistan of US forces. Of course, he won’t be re-elected if he doesn’t end the war. If Obama wants to win the election in November 2012, he has to end the war, as 75 percent pf Americans disapprove of it, according to recent polls. Yet, this isn’t the most important thing. The apparent failure of “Enduring Freedom”, after ten years of trying, is only part of the total failure of American foreign policy strategy, which aimed to impose a pro-American political order in the “Third World”. The revolutionary wave that shook the Middle East and North Africa overthrew régimes nurtured and supported by Washington, those that were its core support in the region. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak ruled for decades, but he lost power and the new order put him on trial. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali escaped his angry countrymen left by secretly fleeing Tunisia for foreign parts, absconding with part of the country’s gold reserves. Yemen, which controls the export path for Middle Eastern oil, is in political chaos, which Washington can’t contain. Massive popular unrest in Bahrain threatens Pentagon plans to create a large and strategically important airbase. Iraq continues to rumble, and suicide bombers continue to kill American soldiers. Pakistan is of particular concern to Washington, because relations with it are becoming less and less an actual partnership. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the situation there as, “its government is out-of-control, and it’s dangerous”. She said that there’s a danger that rebels could overthrow the current government, and that the Taliban wants to seize the keys to the Pakistani nuclear arsenal. It wasn’t so long ago that the “democratisers” in Washington wouldn’t have dreamt that such things would occur in Pakistan, even in their worst nightmares.

These events on the banks of the Potomac bury what are, in effect, imperialist plans. In fact, by forcing a decision to begin a gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan, the US military forced everyone to recognise the insolvency and impracticability of such a scheme. However, it’s only a first step; it’s only the beginning.

29 June 2011

Valentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service




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