I am not a consistent non-interventionist – as some people are fond of reminding me.
For example, I am no friend of the Slave Empire (sorry the “Slave Holding States of America” popularly known as the “Confederacy”), and I consider the struggle against the Axis Powers (National Socialist Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Empire of Japan) and the struggle against international Marxism, as two great achievements of the United States and Britain (and their allies) in the 20th century – not as shameful statism which should be condemned.
I even supported going into Afghanistan. It seemed the correct response to 9/11 and the other attacks by Bin Laden organization, to hunt him down and to hunt down his ally Mullah Omar, the creator of the Taliban – contrary to popular propaganda the Taliban was not created by the CIA to fight the Soviets.
However, it soon became clear that the Bush Administration was not making the hunting down of Bin Laden and Mullah Omar their top priority – which is most likely why the two men remain un-captured almost a decade after 9/11. Instead the Bush Administration fell in love with the Woodrow Wilson style “nation building” agenda of the “neo-cons”.
My attitude to the neo-cons is more nuanced than the attitude of most libertarians – in that I do not despise all of them. For example, I regard Frank Gaffney as a professional, I do not share some of his political opinions, but he is not a fool. Unlike most of the leading neo-cons who lined up to list the mistakes of the Bush Administration in Iraq and Afghanistan (mistakes often directly connected to their own wildly optimistic assumptions – a “detail” they tended to leave out) for Vanity Faire magazine in 2004 – in return for a promise that the article would not be published till after the election. That they were genuinely surprised when the magazine promptly broke this promise indicates a level of stupidity bordering on mental retardation. However, most neo-cons seem to believe that all cultures are fundamentally the same, and that all people everywhere would be happy democrats (small d democrats) if only the nasty dictators were removed and a lot of help given by the American (and British) taxpayer. To be polite this point of view is in error.
The Founding Fathers, like most political thinkers in Britain at the time – indeed even up to the First World War, were very wary of the word “democracy” (associating it with mob rule – whipped up by demagogues) and held that even a Constitutional Republic could only exist in a certain culture – a culture of mainly moral people capable of strong self control (thus making external control unnecessary), dominated by ideas of self help and mutual aid, not envy of those who had things they did not, and filled with a profound and stable religious faith – and not any old religion, but specific types of religion. This did not mean that they did not support freedom of religion (on the contrary they most certainly did), but they did not believe that, for example, a land where most people believed in a religion that justified the plundering of others would have a good polity.
In many ways a “Republican people” are the exact opposite of a “Democratic mob” – but such distinctions are utterly lost on most neo-cons, whose policy in Afghanistan ignored such ideas.
The regime of President Karzai in Afghanistan is, let us please be blunt, utterly revolting.
His drunk dealing brother, the rest of the endless corruption, the President speaking out of two sides of his mouth (attacking the West – and working with the enemies of the West, whilst demanding ever more aid) stinks to high heaven.
A debate should have been had long ago about whether President Karzai (and the rest of his regime) are typical products of a corrupt local culture (a culture that made “nation building” a non-starter as a policy) or whether the regime was made up atypical people, and that if they were not in office perhaps “nation building” might actually work.
Let us give the neo-cons the benefit of the doubt and assume that President Karzai and company are atypical (the scum has risen to the top – after all it often does in Britain and the United States), even with this assumption there is still a vast problem.
The rigging of the last Presidential election in Afghanistan. The Obama Administration both did nothing to prevent the rigging, and did nothing after the rigged results were announced. At that point many observers gave up all real hope for the Afghan war.
However, the neo-cons clung to their policy – we must “work with Karzai” (that Karzai was also “working” with the Sunni Taliban, to try and save his own skin, and with Shia Iran, caught taking vast sums in cash from Iranian representatives, did not seem to impress the minds of the neo-cons). Trusting the Karzai seems like a mistake straight out of “Carry on Up the Khyber” – but then I doubt the great minds who influence policy watch Carry On films (most likely they would think they are “racist” anyway).
The Taliban will, most likely, murder Karzai eventually – but that will not stop the man, as foolish as he is corrupt, desperately trying to make deals with them (especially as the Obama Administration has basically suggest this by saying they are going to draw down American forces – pretending victory as a 2012 election stunt). And the “hastener” Shia regime in Iran (working to cover the world in “fire and blood” so that the 12th Iman may return and exterminate all infidels – much like the Book of Revelations with the Anti-Christ winning) does not really think much of Karzai either, they most likely intend to give him the death of ten thousand cuts, but that will not stop them giving him money – or stop the man trying to please them by telling them everything he knows about Western political and military matters. The Taliban, being radical Sunni, reject the idea that the man on the white horse being the 12th Iman – to them, as with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood generally, he will be the Mahdi – but they are happy with the exterminating the infidels all over the world bit.
We can not carry on like this – as recent events have made clear.
Contrary to what is being reported the news of the burning of a copy of the Koran in Florida did not at once set off severe trouble in Afghanistan (“where or what is Florida?” seems to have been the general response). It was President Karzai decided to whip up trouble that various UN aid workers (and so on) were cut to bits – and it was not the Taliban who did it, the attack was in the north (not in their southern strongholds) and was by a mob – not by a small team of terrorists.
After Karzai did his double dealing dance of (I am using more plain language than he did) “my beautiful warriors, we can not tolerate this insult – kill! KILL!” and “my dear Western friends, you see how difficult the people are to control – you must sent me more money, and get rid of those irritating auditors…” the scales should have fallen from the eyes of even the most stupid neo-con – but it was not “just” this.
The authorities in Pakistan (not just the intelligence organization the ISI – but elements of the military and the civilian government also) have been playing a double game from the start. Taking money from the West (endless billions) whilst trying to make deals with the Taliban at the same time – even though the Taliban has made it perfectly clear that it intends to exterminate anyone in Pakistan who does not accept its interpretation of Islam (not “just” Sufi Muslims – anyone). Of course this does not stop the Taliban taking money from the Shia regime in Iran (any more than it stops Hamas from taking support from the Iranian regime) – the man on the white horse will decide who are the true Muslims (and who is to be exterminated) when he arrives. Of course none of this stops the over “educated” people who make up the establishment of Britain and the United States thinking they can “talk to the Taliban” – what would such talks be about? The method of execution for all infidels (including moderate Muslims) in the world?
However, the double dealing of the Pakistani government has now come out into the open.
Indeed the Pakistani regime (not the ISI – but the civilian government itself) has ordered out CIA employees from the country – because one CIA contractor broke the “rules” (he killed the people sent to kill him).
Intelligence has already collapsed in Pakistan (and around the world) because of the Obama Administration’s failure to even try and question anyone captured. Indeed the drone policy of Obama Administration (if there seem to be enemy about – blow the place up, do not worry the media will give you a pass if civilians die, because you are a Progressive like them) has the unspoken “we do not want prisoners because we do not know what to do with them” message. CIA prisons (around the world) have been closed and everyone has been informed that Army Field Manual is to be followed in trying to get information out of prisoners.
Therefore a de facto “no prisoners” policy is in effect (partly because there is no where to put prisoners, and partly because the Army Field Manual means that no information can be got out of them anyway). I am not a soft hearted person so perhaps the humanitarian side of the de facto “no prisoners – blow everyone up with drones, and anyone who happens to be anywhere near as well” policy does not bother me as much as it should. But the fact that the United States government is now as blind and deaf (as lacking in any real information) as it was before 9/11 (indeed, if anything, it has less information than it did before 9/11 – when the info was there, but no one had “joined up the dots”) does bother me.
What also bothers me is that with Pakistan now openly in the enemy camp the war in Afghanistan is utterly hopeless.
“Oh you are just an non-interventionist trying to justify despair, Paul”.
Is Charles Krauthammer a “non-interventionist”?
No he is not – he is, in fact, the king of the interventionists, and has been for many years.
Yet I have seen Charles Krauthammer (on several television shows – i.e. quite openly) saying that is hopeless giving the Pakistani government any more money – because they are now clearly (as seen by the kicking out of CIA employees) a hostile power.
Think about that – Pakistan a hostile power. And the supply lines to Afghanistan go through…..
Would anyone still like argue that the Afghan war is not lost?
The struggle with both the Shia “hasterner” regime of Iran, and the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood will continue (inside Britain and the United States as much as anywhere else), but the operation in Afghanistan appears to be totally untenable.