Friday, March 21, 2014

The Taliban are Winning: Will We Absorb the Lesson?


Karzai meeting with the Taliban

This war never should have happened because it was always unwinnable, unaffordable, and therefore unpopular. .

By Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via The Rag Blog

March 12, 2014 - The U.S. national security elite, mainstream media, and therefore most of the American people, are in strategic denial of the fact that the Taliban are winning the war in Afghanistan.

Why is the denial “strategic”? Because our government and military establishment cannot easily admit failure without damaging our superpower status and their multiple careers. However, such a denial also risks never learning the lessons.

Defeat has multiple possible meanings. It doesn’t mean the insurgents will overrun Kabul any time soon. It is possible, however, that the Afghan security forces will implode along with the Humpty-Dumpty regime of President Hamid Karzai.

The likeliest possibility is the Taliban ruling over vast swaths of the southern and eastern regions, outside the authority of the Afghan state, leaving Afghanistan partitioned for an indefinite interval.

The point is that the United States is withdrawing ground troops from Afghanistan without vanquishing the Taliban. Since the Taliban are not losing, they are winning. 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops have failed to dislodge them, and by many accounts, have only strengthened their will to fight on. Fatalities among the U.S.-supported Afghan soldiers, more and more on their own, have doubled in the past year.

The U.S. and NATO are falling into the graveyard of empires.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Budding Cold War That Threatens Democracy

Tom Hayden on Cuba, Foreign Policy, Latin America, Politics, Social Movements

Tom Hayden (left) interviewing Mikhail Gorbachev in 2002

By Tom Hayden Beaver County Peace Links via TomHayden,com 

March 17, 2914 - While the first Cold War was fought against communism, a successor Cold War is steadily unfolding against democratic electoral outcomes unfavorable to America's perceived interests. Russian President Vladimir Putin's illegal occupation of Crimea has for now revived raging Western memories of Joseph Stalin's top-down incorporation of the former Eastern Europe. Lost in the new anti-Russian narrative, however, is the growing US pattern of ignoring democratic electoral outcomes where they are inconvenient, in the name of "promoting democracy." Ultimately this process of "democracy through intervention" reinforces bureaucratic authoritarian trends in both East and West. The thrust of this US foreign policy mirrors conservatives’ efforts at home to limit and divide the ascending multicultural American political majority.

It should be remembered that Al Gore's election by a half-million vote majority in 2000, and his apparent win in Florida that year, did not prevent Republican mobs, Republican apparatchiks and Republican judges from forcing the Bush Era upon America. Many of those same forces are willing to do whatever is necessary abroad to thwart democratic electoral outcomes not to their liking. 

Provoking the Russian Bear

The first casualty of the Ukraine crisis is the amputated memory that Viktor Yanukovych was the recognized, democratically elected president of the Ukraine before he was ousted by a mass movement, including pro-fascist militias, based in the western Ukraine who demanded an alliance with their friends in Europe and NATO. The accusation that Yanukovych was corrupt and unpredictable was not a constitutional reason for his ouster or for American intervention in a potential civil war. The released tapes of phone calls between the US ambassador in Kiev and the State Department’s Victoria Nuland proved America’s direct involvement.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Clash in Crimea is the Fruit of Western Expansion

The external struggle to dominate Ukraine has put fascists in power and brought the country to the brink of conflict
By Seumas Milne  
The Guardian, UK 

March 5, 2014 - Diplomatic pronouncements are renowned for hypocrisy and double standards. But western denunciations of Russian intervention in Crimea have reached new depths of self parody. The so far bloodless incursion is an "incredible act of aggression", US secretary of state John Kerry declared. In the 21st century you just don't invade countries on a "completely trumped-up pretext", he insisted, as US allies agreed that it had been an unacceptable breach of international law, for which there will be "costs".

That the states which launched the greatest act of unprovoked aggression in modern history on a trumped-up pretext – against Iraq, in an illegal war now estimated to have killed 500,000, along with the invasion of Afghanistan, bloody regime change in Libya, and the killing of thousands in drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, all without UN authorisation – should make such claims is beyond absurdity.

It's not just that western aggression and lawless killing is on another scale entirely from anything Russia appears to have contemplated, let alone carried out – removing any credible basis for the US and its allies to rail against Russian transgressions. But the western powers have also played a central role in creating the Ukraine crisis in the first place.

The US and European powers openly sponsored the protests to oust the corrupt but elected Viktor Yanukovych government, which were triggered by controversy over an all-or-nothing EU agreement which would have excluded economic association with Russia.