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The United States came to Afghanistan to “look for Osama bin Laden.” Twenty years on, after countless speeches about bringing democracy and women’s rights to Afghanistan, the U.S. is kicked out of the country in a remarkably public Taliban showdown, now labeled the second Vietnam surrender.
The Taliban capture of Kabul may be the public turning point in the history of American supremacy, just like the battle of Aleppo turned the tide in the Syrian war.
The cut-and-run behavior, leaving loyal Afghans behind, thousands of American citizens still stuck in the country, one can but wonder what the Chinese and Russians are thinking. It is definitively a pitiful display of the Disunited States abandoning those who trusted her to fulfill her promises. Watching President Biden state that the U.S. never came to Afghanistan to bring democracy or nation building is equally jaw dropping.
The questions remain whether the U.S. really is pulling out, or if the media show merely is the beginning of a new round of warfare. For example, what will happens to the lucrative heroin production that produces 90% of world consumption? Are the Americans simply leaving all of it, handing control peacefully over to the Taliban?
First and foremost, the pull-out represents the total failure of the neoconservative (neocon) ideology that permeated post-Soviet American thinking: the idea that America was to rule the world, using its military to implement regime change in nations and prevent the rise of other powers, especially Russia, that could stop American unilateralism.
As the U.S. Army is leaving – private mercenary armies remaining or not – the neocon movement still has gone full circle, defeated in all its public goals. It lost in Iraq, it lost in Libya, it lost in Syria and now, it lost in the opium-rich Afghanistan.
The Pentagon plan, he was told, was to topple the government of seven nations in five years, in the wake of Russian weakness after the fall of Soviet Union: Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. Neoconservatives such as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz felt invincible.
Gen. Clark described this as a political policy coup, a change in American foreign policy that never even was discussed in Congress. In his book, “A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country,” he explains the shock and horror of how the neocons took power and ruthlessly overran the traditional American view on the aim of its foreign policy.
Clark describes how the plan now was to restructure the military as an attack force – no longer only a defense force – wherever American political and economic interests were at stake.
Clark recounts his conversation with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who stated that the lessons from the Gulf war was that the Russians did not stop them. This window of opportunity, he said, would be used in the coming years to attack countries in the Middle East and remove governments the U.S. disliked, before another superpower would emerge.
In an interview with me for “The Herland Report,” Dr. Paul Craig Roberts talks about this period: “It’s really not even American hegemony, it’s just Washington’s hegemony. Of course, with George W. Bush, the neoconservatives completely ran the government. The real president was Dick Cheney, the vice president and a hardline neoconservative. The secretary of defense, the State Department, the Pentagon was full of them. They completely dominated the National Security Council. This is where 9/11 came from. This is where the war on Afghanistan and Iraq came from. Paul Wolfowitz stated that the principle goal of American foreign policy is to prevent the rise of any other power, especially Russia, that could serve as a constraint on American unilateralism. That was their aim. That is why I say that the worst thing that happened was the collapse of the Soviet Union. It removed the constraint, it lead the neoconservatives to make these kind of claims, and it has ever since dominated our foreign policy.”
In another interview with me, former congressman and founder of The Liberty Report Dr. Ron Paul describes this period like this: “The collapse of the Soviet system happened because it was a failed system. It wasn’t because they spent more money on weaponry. It was because it was a failed system. And I think we have a failed system now that’s affecting our culture.” Watch excerpts here, here and here.
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