We Never Learn
I'm not an expert in this. Make of it what you will.
A trio of Afghan uni students in the 1970's.
Our 'liberation' of Afghanistan commenced in 2001.
The usual platitudes were spoken.
George Bush - "The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and its allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan. The US is a friend of the Afghan people."
Tony Blair - "To the Afghan people, we make this commitment. We will not walk away... If the Taliban regime changes, we will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broad-based, that unites all ethnic groups and offers some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence."
John Howard - "It (Special Forces Task Group) will be deployed for a period of twelve months. It will have a security task which is very similar to the task that was undertaken by an SAS taskforce that went in 2001. It will operate in conjunction with forces of the United States."
...and now, 20 years later.
The US has departed Afghanistan in the dead of night, and the Taliban has taken control. It brings to an end Australia's longest war.
I wonder what the Taiwanese are thinking about US commitment?
This is what our Prime Minister is saying now, as if it was all done to benefit the Afghan people.
"...for 20 years we have all worked hard to try, in the best of our efforts and endeavours, to make a failed state a functional state."
Australia, a loyal US ally, got a heads up for services rendered. That's much better than the Afghan army received. That's better than US citizens living in Afghanistan received.
Our Prime Minister "...said Australia had acted earlier than many other coalition countries, having evacuated most diplomatic staff after Australia abruptly shut its embassy in Kabul in late May. It finished withdrawing its final 80 troops soon afterwards." - Sarah Martin
If you're an Afghan refuge living in Australia, you won't be deported to Afghanistan in current circumstances. On the other hand, you'll never be an Australian citizen.
Prime Minister, "Scott Morrison has said [the 4,500] Afghans in Australia on temporary protection visas who came by boat will not be given permanent residence." - Michelle Grattan
Of course, if you're an Afghan living in Afghanistan;
You get the Taliban.
This is a list of our men lost in this sorry endeavour.
Andrew Russell, 33, Matthew Locke MG, 33, Luke Worsley, 26, Jason Marks, 27, Sean McCarthy, 25, Michael Fussell, 25, Gregory Michael Sher, 30, Mathew Hopkins, 21, Brett Till, 31, Benjamin Ranaudo, 22, Jacob Moerland, 21, Darren Smith, 25, Scott Palmer, 27, Timothy Aplin, 38, Benjamin Chuck, 27, Nathan Bewes, 23, Jason Brown, 29, Grant Kirby, 35, Tomas Dale, 21, Jared MacKinney, 28, Richard Atkinson, 22, Jamie Larcombe, 21, Brett Wood MG, DSM, 32, Andrew Jones, 25, Marcus Sean Case, 27, Rowan Robinson, 23, Todd Langley, 35, Matthew Lambert, 26, Bryce Duffy, 26, Ashley Birt, 22, Luke Gavin, 27, Blaine Diddams MG, 40, Nathanael John Aubrey Galagher, 23, Mervyn John McDonald, 30, Stjepan Milosevic, 40, Robert Hugh Frederick Poate, 23, James Thomas Martin, 21, Scott James Smith, 24, Cameron Stewart Baird VC, MG, 32, Todd John Chidgey, 29.
Then there's the wounded. The post-traumatic stress disorders. The grief inflicted on family and friends. None on that list are sons of politicians.
Our dead and wounded don't compare to those lost by Afghans temporarily liberated between 2001 and 2021.
If you're a young adult reader, you might be interested in knowing more about a war that's been underway all of your life. In our day, at your age, we were conscripted to serve in Vietnam, another pointless exercise. Things have improved.
This is John Pilger's film about Afghanistan, Breaking the Silence.
This is a recent Michael Hudson post.
From that post:
"The reality is that not much of the notorious $3 trillion actually was spent in Afghanistan. It was spent on Raytheon, Boeing and other military hardware suppliers, on the mercenary forces, and placed in the accounts of the Afghan proxies for the U.S. manoeuvring to use Afghanistan to destabilise Central Asia on Russia’s southern flank and western China."
Blowing stuff up is profitable. It's that simple. It's that immoral.
The US knows it isn't a global empire until it has Russia, Iran and China under control. It had Russia and Iran in its grip but stuffed up. It was rope a doped by China who was prepared to accept pieces of US paper for cheap goods and services. The US economy is now hollowed out, and on the brink of collapse.
The US surrounds Russia, Iran and China with military bases. It's the US that's made these countries unlikely allies.
US sanctions have strengthened these countries. US hard liners don't seem to have adjusted, and are talking much tougher than they have a right to. They're not getting called out because their citizens are insular and propagandised. It's allies are cowed. This is a very dangerous situation for everyone.
Afghanistan is rich in resources (copper, gold, oil, natural gas, uranium, bauxite, coal, iron ore, rare earths, lithium, chromium, lead, zinc, gemstones, talc, sulphur, travertine, gypsum and marble). The Taliban takeover wasn't in the plan.
The US has reacted to that by using its array of financial weapons. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suspended Afghanistan's access to its resources. US banks have frozen Afghan government reserves.
China and the US are on a collision course over the remaining oil. That's why our largest trading partner is now our number 1 enemy. Watch John Pilger's, The Coming War on China.
China's energy supply is threatened by hundreds of US military bases guarding the sea lanes.
It needs a land based oil pipeline through friendly territory. Afghanistan is ideally located to provide a pipeline linking China with the Middle East. Something like this railway route.
So the Chinese have not shut down their embassy, and will recognise the Taliban government.
There are two corrupt nations that stand between China and Iran. They are the ex-Soviet Tajikistan and the Taliban's Afghanistan. Now that there's a power vacuum, China will attempt to bribe their leaders in return for a secure oil pipeline.
We, in Australia, have to accept the consequences of being the 51st State of a failing empire. Russian and Chinese missiles may be pointed at Pine Gap, and who knows where else.
The US needn't overthrow our Prime Minister over Pine Gap as it did in 1975 (Gough Whitlam). Our current Prime Minister, a fully paid up ally, has been awarded the US military decoration, The Legion of Merit “for his leadership in addressing global challenges and promoting collective security”.
Says it all.
Up until now the US has been the only country that can buy oil with money created out of thin air (petrodollar). Everyone without oil (that includes Australia) and or IMF debt has to find US dollars.
US military and financial weapons are less potent by the day. But, unfortunately there are no signs that the US is going quietly. It's looking more and more like the Roman Empire.
Energy is power. Energy is the economy. Without it, China and the US will experience economic stagnation and everything that goes with it. The rest of the world should assume that the fossil fuel age will soon be over for them.
The US can stop oil reaching China, and Russia can stop oil reaching the US. Who can tell if the conflict's going nuclear.