Election Results Could be Good for Pakistan, Bad for US

The election of Imran Khan as Pakistan’s new president further underscores America’s futile military strategy in the region, argues Graham Fuller.

By Graham Fuller

A bold new political face has come to power in the recent Pakistani elections, possibly offering the US a new opportunity in that country. Sadly the opportunity will likely be squandered—again. There’s something about Pakistani and US interests that seem doomed to collision course—mainly because Pakistan’s national interests are rarely what the US thinks they should be. 

Pakistanis themselves can be pleased the country has just experienced for only the second time in its history a democratic electoral transition from one political party to another. Over long decades democratically-elected governments have been routinely dethroned by the all-powerful Pakistani military-dominated intelligence service ISI. 

Imran Khan

A key problem is that American interests in Pakistan have had little to do with Pakistan itself, but have been the function of other American interests—China, fighting the Soviet Union, al-Qaeda, and trying to win an ongoing—and losing—17-year US war in Afghanistan. Once about eliminating al-Qaeda, Washington today hopes the war in Afghanistan will eliminate the often violent fundamentalist Pashtun movement (Taliban) and enable the US to impose its strategic agenda upon Afghanistan. And over decades the US has alternately cajoled, but mostly threatened Pakistan to do US bidding in Afghanistan. (A former Deputy Secretary of the Pentagon, in the months after 9/11, threatened to “bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age” if it didn’t fully get on board and support the new US invasion of Afghanistan.)

In an earlier decade, after the USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up a failing Afghan communist regime, the US had recruited the Pakistani government to take the lead in organizing a new anti-Soviet “jihad” through supporting new mujahedin groups in Afghanistan. It was a fateful moment: this anti-Soviet jihad represented the first time that Islamist warriors, recruited from around the world in a joint US-Saudi-Pakistani strategy, became a powerful battle-hardened jihadi force that would later go on to fight new wars in the Middle East—and against US interests. As one of the mujahideen told me at the time, they had “defeated a superpower”—the USSR—and driven Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. What would be the implications for the future? 

Then, after 9/11, the US invaded Afghanistan in order to overthrow the ruling Taliban—who had taken over the country and restored order after a devastating. nine-year Afghan civil war following the Soviet withdrawal. The Taliban actually represent a home-grown movement—they had no interest in international terrorism.  But they made one disastrous mistake: they allowed Osama Bin Laden to stay on in Afghanistan after he had played a small role in supporting the Taliban in achieving power in 1996. The US invasion ensued.

Pashtun Taliban

The thing to be remembered is that the Taliban are primarily a Pashtun movement; Pashtuns constitute the single largest ethnic group in multi-ethnic Afghanistan and have traditionally dominated national Afghan politics over several hundred years. While unquestionably following a kind of Wahhabi-style Islamic rule, they also represent a powerful Pashtun ethnic impulse. Many Afghan Pashtuns dislike the Taliban but they generally also wish to see Pashtuns maintain power in Afghanistan. This same ethnic issue matters a lot when it comes to Pakistan. 

The stated US agenda in Afghanistan now is to prevent the Taliban, who are conducting a fairly successful insurgency against the US-backed government in Kabul, from coming to power. Yet there is no way the Taliban can be decisively defeated, while the US may yet opt to move into its third decade of war there in trying to keep them out of power. While Taliban theology and policies are fairly Wahhabi in character, is it worth the longest war in American history to struggle on to keep them out? (There are a few encouraging signs that the US may be actually trying to reach some negotiated back-door deal with the Taliban for future power-sharing, but the Taliban may just decide to wait the US out.) What Washington doesn’t talk about is its long, strategic ambition to maintain military bases in Afghanistan, right in the heart of Central Asia in close proximity to Russia and China—very much out of the US Cold War playbook. But is it worth this costly and losing game?

Here’s where Pakistan comes in. In the Pak-Afghan border region there are twice as many Pashtuns living in Pakistan as there are in Afghanistan. They represent a powerful force in Pakistani politics—and that’s where Imran Khan, Pakistan’s new president from the heart of Pashtun territory, also comes in. 

Afghan Taliban militant carries a rocket-propelled grenade on the second day of Eid on the outskirts of Jalalabad on June 16, 2018. (Photo NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP/Getty Images)

Bottom line: the US has consistently attempted to enlist Pakistan into rescuing America’s losing war in Afghanistan; a key US demand has been for the Pakistanis to sever ties between Pakistani and Afghan Taliban movements and crush all radical Islamist groups in the border region. There is no doubt Pakistan has indeed helped the Afghan Taliban (Pashtuns) to fight on in Afghanistan. Pakistan has a deep interest, domestic and foreign, in keeping close ties with all Pashtuns, Taliban or not. (The Pakistani Taliban movement is more violent than the Afghan one but cannot be easily crushed —perhaps only tamed—even by the Pakistani government.)

And the power base of Pakistan’s new president lies precisely in this Pashtun region of the country. Khan will not likely agree to any policy pressures from the US to crush Taliban cross-border ties; he favors a strong Pashtun/Taliban presence in any Afghan government. Khan, a former cricket star, has also been outspokenly critical of the US role in Pakistan and he will guard Pakistani sovereignty more jealously than his predecessors.

And Then There’s India

And then there are geopolitics with India. Already hugely outweighed and outgunned by a huge and powerful Indian state on Pakistan’s eastern border, Pakistan’s geopolitics dictate that it can never allow its geographically narrow state to be simultaneously threatened by a pro-Indian government on Pakistan’s western border in Afghanistan. Yet India has hugely invested—financially, politically and in an intelligence presence in Afghanistan with US blessing, which is perceived in Islamabad as a deadly geopolitical threat. Pakistan will do all it can to ensure that Afghanistan does not fall under Indian political domination. That also means deep involvement in Afghan Pashtun politics (that include the Taliban).

The US has consistently run roughshod over Pakistani sovereignty throughout its war in Afghanistan, thereby generating strong anti-US feelings in Pakistan. (My first novel: “Breaking Faith: An American’s Crisis of Conscience in Pakistan,” deals  heavily with these issues, including the CIA and American military presence in Pakistan, as well as the complicated range of Pakistani Islamist movements at the human level of a Pakistani family.)

And finally there is the ever-growing China factor. Pakistan has long been China’s closest ally and considers Beijing to be an “all-weather friend”— in pointed distinction to perceived US opportunism in Pakistan. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are now integral elements in China’s sweeping new economic and infrastructural Eurasian development plan “One Bridge, One Road.”  (Iran too, incidentally, is linked into the same Chinese vision.) There is no way Pakistan will ever choose close ties with Washington over ties with China, for a dozen good reasons, including shared mutual distrust of India. 

In short, Imran Khan may well bring some fresh air into Pakistani politics, including a declared willingness to clamp down on the country’s rampant corruption. The powerful Pakistan military also supports him. It is hard to imagine how the US will not continue to lose ever more traction in the Pakistan-Afghan morass short of undertaking a major US shift away from its military-driven foreign policy. That US policy and style seems to tally ever less with the interests of most states of the region.

This article originally appeared on Graham Fuller’s blog.

Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; his latest book is BEAR, a novel of the Great Bear Rainforest and Eco-Terrorism. (Amazon, Kindle) grahamefuller.com

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45 comments for “Election Results Could be Good for Pakistan, Bad for US

  1. MA
    August 15, 2018 at 3:57 am

    When will we get CN’s own app?

  2. EamsG
    August 14, 2018 at 7:51 am

    No mention of Opium? No mention of the Taliban visiting the White House?

    Come on, Graham.

    • will
      August 23, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      the Pakistani economy runs on Afghan opium. the Pakistanis cooperate with us only because we allow them their opium money

  3. Charles K. Hof
    August 12, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Just what is the end game of this war? And for what purpose do we have a presence in this Reagan. The expenditure of life, (US personnel) and (US investment, now in the straFuckingamounts). There is NO JUSTIFICATION for this. Period,
    There is NO Exit strategy, or anything else.
    We have Generals that have come/gone with no real change. They may have had a different approach, but 1) it is too slow 2) Expensive (in men/women and personnel)
    Ultimately this is not a war we should have entered into, and should not be in today.
    So just why are we there? “Natural Resources”(i.e. for the benefit of Corporations, or GO Political advantage) That is to say large corporations that see something that they would like to “extract” push/cajole/bribe to get the US and its might to lean on/ influence/ give in to the US and “It’s” wishes. It is an “economic version of colonialism”.
    Our current administration thinks “Might is Right” and with that, they are working to flex their Muscle.
    Do Not Kit Yourself this Administration is working to Dominate The World.

    • jeff montanye
      August 13, 2018 at 5:52 am

      considering that this was the first war after the attacks of ’01, but not really part of “seven countries in five years” aka the yinon plan, their motive, it is more of a throwaway from the point of view of the strategic planners, the likud mossad. but just like the other countries, syria, libya, iraq, ultimately iran, afghanistan has been made into a failed state by foreign meddlers.

      however this president seems to have a plan for israel/palestine that may help down the road. he has added the one state solution to the (failed, chimerical, fraudulent) two state solution. imo that is why he has recognized jerusalem as the capital of israel, rebuffed the current, going nowhere palestinian leadership, reinstated the iran sanctions (to curry the likud and give a later carrot for peace). and allowed netanyahu to take whatever he wants from the west bank as israel sovereign in all of palestine from gaza to the golan is part of the plan (they did conquer it in ’67 after all). then this absurd “war” or “negotiation” between israel and the idea of a palestinian state (never to be) can be ended and the real negotiation for civil rights for the disenfranchised four and a half million inside israel can be concluded, making israel half jewish and half muslim and a far different entity.

    • Realist
      August 13, 2018 at 8:40 am

      Here’s a cogent article by Eric Zeusse that attempts to explain what this whole constellation of wars the United States is presently prosecuting is all about:

      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-12/real-reason-why-trump-cancelled-iran-deal

      Zeusse says, basically the purpose is to destroy Russia and China as competitors, to prevent them from developing their economies, any alliances and any global influence (sabotaging the Belt and Road Initiative denying them trade with the EU, for example), and to prop up the petro-dollar (which is otherwise crashing). Caught up in this nexus is Iran, which is also a target for destruction because it is aligned with Russia and China. In addition to these goals, the paramount aim of Washington is to protect and serve the interests of the Saudi royal family which helped create the petro-dollar after Nixon took us off the gold standard. Without their fine control of the oil cartel (OPEC) and most of the world’s oil supply, the petro-dollar loses its utility as a cudgel against the world by Washington. The final main objective is to do the same for Israel (serve and protect the regime) which is described as representing the “friendly face in Western eyes” of the propaganda machine pushing the aforementioned goals. I’d say that Israel also earns its reward from Uncle Sam for being a strong-arm enforcer (a military threat) against all the oil-producing Islamic countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

      The U.S. end game is to keep these wars going forever, if need be, to accomplish these goals. The most likely thing to stop the madness would be an economic collapse, military coup or popular revolution in the country, with the last mentioned being only a remote possibility. The government is totally refractory to democratic opposition to its policies, so don’t look for relief at the ballot box. Great question, Charles. The government, the media or the plutocrats who own both would NEVER give you an honest answer.

      • KHawk
        August 15, 2018 at 4:57 pm

        Thus, our foreign policy is still to this day driven by the “original” Wolfowitz Doctrine that was leaked and thus revised to seem less imperial. The original classified doctrine states:

        “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

        This strategy is clearly perpetual despite who becomes POTUS, as it was maintained through the Obama years and is maintained with the current occupant. This strategy works in concert with the Yinon Plan and the Clean Break strategy for Middle East dominance due to its vast oil resources. Israel’s abhorrent behavior is tolerated because Israel represents a powerful foothold in the region. Discussions about who controls whom between the US and Israel are inconsequential. We are a team.

        The sales pitch to win the emotional support of the American (and Western) public is to appeal to the victimization of Israel by the evil Muslim terrorists, the current appeals against the evil Russians, Iranians, and Chinese, and the suppression of corruption and wrongdoing by the United States and its western allies. This is the role of the corporate media. It is constant, unrelenting, and works like a charm on the insouciant, distracted, and generally uninformed peoples of the Western Empire. It is framed as patriotism and to oppose the narrative is now considered treasonous.

        The Russians and Chinese will not willingly submit. The prospect with this doctrine in place is devastating war.

        Let us find our way to peace for the sake of future generations.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfowitz_Doctrine

  4. Daniel Walsh
    August 12, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    I stopped reading when he lied about the timing in Afghanistan. The US began support for the mujahideen in 1979. It was only AFTER the US and KSA started support for the mujahideen, that the the Afghan government asked the Soviet Union to come in to fight the CIAs terrorists. Brzezinski and others have now admitted this publicly. It was a CIA invasion, not a soviet invasion. Graham Fuller continues to distort history. Please don’t publish any more of his lies, Consortium News!

    • Daniel Walsh
      August 12, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      I’ve now read the entire article. Fuller also lies about the real reasons the US is in Afghanistan; he is still going with the war on terror storyline in 2018. The real reasons involve: control of rare earth minerals; control of eurasian trade routes through key geographic choke points; and control of the drug trade; surrounding Iran etc.

  5. August 12, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Ooh, i like that, ME Expert: “Once the Deep State/MIC has tasted blood, it can never be satisfied with diplomacy.” The US/CIA vampire has sunk its fangs into Pakistan for so long (ISI) it’s difficult to think anything will drive a stake through its heart. But i would like to think that the rising Eurasia of multipolar cooperation led by China and Russia might aid Imran Khan’s desire to aid the Pakistanis.

  6. mike k
    August 12, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Good for Pakistan may be bad for the US – but not for us, the majority of US citizens. The defeat of the US Empire is a consumation devoutly to be wished. A win for the US in it’s scheme of world domination, is a loss for the world and it’s people.

  7. MEexpert
    August 12, 2018 at 9:28 am

    There are a lot of fundamental errors in the article by a person who claims to know the history of Pakistan and has written many books. First, Imran Khan is not going to be the President but a Prime Minister. The author should know the form of government a country has. Second, it is not the first time the government has changed from one party to the other. Just in 2013, Nawaz Sharif’s party (PML-N) took over from Asif Zardari’s party (PPP).

    As Sam F points out, the author omits that the US created Al-Qaeda. The US also created the ISIS. He also ignores the fact that Black Water mercenaries are still active in Pakistan and other ME countries. In Pakistan, they are particularly effective in keeping the sectarian wars alive, which is their specialty in ME as well. It is the Black Water that trained the ISIS in Iraq and Al-Qaeda in Iraq before that.

    • rosemerry
      August 12, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      Also: ” an earlier decade, after the USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up a failing Afghan communist regime,” Actually, the USSR was invited in, quite a change from the USA’s behavior.

      • Daniel
        August 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm

        Yep. I’m shocked Consortium News is going to let Fuller get away with such an obvious lie about the timing and causes of the war. When the USSR was invited in by the Afghan government, the CIA mujahideen pipeline had already been used by NATO to attack the Afghan govt.

  8. August 12, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Great article, really presents a coherent and believable picture.

  9. Maxim Gorki
    August 11, 2018 at 5:52 pm
  10. Dunderhead
    August 11, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I think this is a positive development that Pakistan moves closer to China, the implications for greater commerce and stability are manifestly obvious. There is no particularly good reason for the US to have a close relationship with Pakistan I’m the other hand there is no reason for us to be enemies either, eventually the neocons will be discredited I have no doubt, the world is going to be a different place, hopefully better.

  11. zoomzoom
    August 11, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Excellent analysis. In his recent speech Imran Khan said that all this time we had one way relationship with US like a “hired gun”. In future, he would like to see a balanced relationship with the US. It means, he is open to serious bilateral relationship.

  12. elmerfudzie
    August 11, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    We invaded Afghanistan for two reasons and it had nothing whatever to do with 911. The first, seize one trillion dollars of mineral wealth by military occupation, to break ground, for international corporate entities and extract raw materials.. The second, re balance the regional military posture, initially created by President Reagan’s foreign policy, when he decided to ignore the surreptitious development of the Pakistani A bomb. The general public will never know the true reasons why our various Intel, law enforcement, government and military, permitted this to happen. Perhaps Pakistan was allowed join the nuclear club, in talio. To, in effect, send a message to leading Zionists, that Plutonium thefts from US facilities in Tennessee, among others, constructing Dimona, and hiding it’s many sub levels of nuclear research, from inspection would be answered by allowing the creation of an Islamic bomb for them to worry about. This tit of tat diplomacy cannot be applied, ever again to back room negotiations. Iran and North Korea must never have the means to create an A- bomb, it must be resolved by “technical impossibility”, example no MOX reactor cores. CONSORTIUMNEWS readers should reflect on recent history, ponder the troubles our world has experienced since the rise of Israel as a nuclear power, Dimona and Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan’s network. Dimona acts as a symbol, stoking the flames of envy in the GCC countries, while Pakistan shows, those many moments where regional nuclear war might have broken out with India. Why invite this same scenario again by looking the other way where Iran and North Korea are concerned?

    • anon
      August 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      But one hears nothing at all of “mineral wealth” being extracted, only opium, so who in government wanted that, and who is there to extract that but the CIA/DOD?

      • elmerfudzie
        August 12, 2018 at 4:54 pm

        Anon, it’s all about moving huge sums of currency around the globe, intended for new markets and ground breaking enterprise(s) of one sort or another. (rare earth metals for example) …Afghan opium profits may, eventually, pave the way, as a means towards financing mineral extraction projects in their country by western Occident corporations. But first, where to find the “seed or start up” money? Don’t you get it? the CIA often converts opium trade monies into managing political corruption, assassination, Galdio B programs, color revolutions and the like. It’s all so painfully, obvious!

    • anon
      August 11, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      And how did Bush “rebalance regional military posture” against Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, by bringing more weapons & supplies thru Pakistan to attack Afghanistan?

    • August 12, 2018 at 10:28 pm

      One should not equate North Korea and Iran, two entirely different kinds of countries in every way. Iran is highly educated, more so than the US. North Korea is isolated and the people kept ignorant of the outside world.
      Both countries should have nuclear weapons IF the US and Israel have them. The US and Israel are the two most feared and dangerous countries in the world. North Korea still wants nuclear weapons. Iran decided in 2003 to never have them and they have not only kept that promise to themselves (they offered this to George W. Bush and he slapped down the Swiss diplomat who brought him the offer), but has kept the nuclear deal Obama/Kerry helped negotiate, although the deal was unnecessary since Iran wants low level nuclear sources for only energy and medical isotopes, two legitimate products.
      Iran has never attacked another country and does not create terrorists; that would be the US and Israel. In fact, the IDF is the most well trained and supported terrorist organization in the world and is committing genocide on the Palestinians, and the US illegally attacks sovereign countries, one after the other and pulls off coups constantly, funds and trains terrorists. Neither Iran nor Russia does that. Plus the US has an insane number of military bases around the world, threatening everyone. Thank heavens, with Russia’s help, Assad will remain president in Syria (what the majority of Syrians want), once the US-created terrorists are all driven out or are offered a chance to leave.
      Pakistan’s new prime minister should join with China to protect itself from Modi in India.

      • jeff montanye
        August 13, 2018 at 6:21 am

        and although israel doesn’t acknowledge all its false flags, it does some, indeed the worst terrorist incident in the israel/palestine war, the king david hotel bombing by the irgun, is still celebrated in israel.

        and as menachem begin replied to warren russell howe in ’74 when asked how it felt to be father of terrorism in the middle east:
        “in all the world!” https://me.me/i/the-father-of-terrorism-how-does-it-feel-in-the-19001886

      • elmerfudzie
        August 13, 2018 at 9:03 am

        Reply to Rob Roy. The uniqueness of different cultures, peoples or races cannot be drawn into the debate regarding nuclear proliferation. Iran and North Korea represent the seemingly unstoppable spread of nuclear materials, technology and atomic arms. The global community must come to realize that MOX based reactor cores are tantamount to nuclear weapons factories. There’s only one way out, technical impossibility by designing all future commercial electrical power generation plants with cores, containing molten thorium salt, called liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTR). China, Russia, Japan are heading in this direction. Reactors in Iran and Korea will require a conversion to thorium and the removal of all Uranium, Plutonium rods to neutral third parties, Finland for instance (or any G-9 state). This will be a one time, costly and Herculean effort, shouldered by the G-8 nations in the interests of WORLD PEACE. There’s no third way. Besides, this plan represents a new techno-geopolitical cooperative arrangement, will act as the first test of a TRULY global community response to reducing the likelihood of another regional or world war.

  13. Jeff Harrison
    August 11, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Interesting take. He leaves out a few things that I think are important. One. Part of the definition of a nation-state is that the citizens of a nation-state identify themselves as members of the nation-state first and anything else second. Thus I’m an American first and French/Swedish/Scottish second. That’s not the way it is in that part of the world. Across that entire swath of land, the people tend to give you their tribal identity first and their national identity second. This is true across the entire swath of south Asia. When I was in Iran just after the Shah fled and before fuzz face (the Ayatollah Khomeini) took effective control, the Shah’s government was still functioning and the Shah’s prime minister was a man whose last name was Bakhtiari. Ol’ Fuzz Face went off storming that the Shah’s government was flying in the face of God and his emissaries and demanded that the Bakhtiari’s discipline their son. And Two. I suspect that the US has a bigger problem. The regime in Washington decided that it was time to “pivot” to the Pacific to face China and they are only now discovering that it’s difficult to pivot anywhere when one of your shoes is firmly nailed to the Middle East.

    • Garrett Connelly
      August 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      Yes. And while master thinkers in the US spent a trillion on a pivot to the Pacific. The China to London railway line serves 42 European cities with container freight.

      How stupid do Pentagonians get to be?

      • jeff montanye
        August 13, 2018 at 6:27 am

        four and a half trillion dollars, two million lives because “al qaeda attacked the u.s. in ’01.” so many sheeple, too much television.

    • Gary Hare
      August 12, 2018 at 6:19 am

      Typical American! Rather acknowledge that Khomeini’s “effective control” was widely popular in Iran, and achieved with little or no bloodshed, you resort to childish name-calling in an attempt to belittle the person. “Ol’ Fuzz Face” indeed. Very intelligent, and relevant!

      • Jeff Harrison
        August 12, 2018 at 3:19 pm

        I’m afraid you are the clueless one. I wasn’t talking about the government that followed the Shah’s but rather the structure of society and its relationship to government which was at the core of Fuller’s commentary. The Iranian revolution was not achieved with no bloodshed. There was bloodshed before and after (my future ex-wife didn’t leave Iran until late March and the bloodshed was worse after the February revolution). And that was not childish name calling. His nickname was Fuzz Face. The Shah’s nickname was Fred. In a totalitarian dictatorship (the Shah) there were reasons why you didn’t use some people’s real name. But you will not understand the Iranian people or their relationship to their government until you understand my comment, which clearly you don’t.

  14. Sam F
    August 11, 2018 at 8:49 am

    A good summary of the US “losing game” of military-driven policy in central Asia, to keep military bases near Russia and China, and help India surround Pakistan.

    If instead of militarism the US had chosen diplomacy to resolve the India/Pakistan conflict, the region would be peaceful and prosperous with BRI forty years earlier. If it had chosen benevolence, central Asia would be peaceful and prosperous today. This is the Republican (and now Dem) legacy, the direct result of corporate/MIC takeover of US government. This is the legacy of gold instead of humanity running the US government and mass media.

    • August 12, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Sam F, your consistent message of military power instead of diplomacy is right on. Looking back on the invasion of Afghanistan and what followed, it was clear that the Defense Department had replaced the State Department in making policy, similar to the Roman Empire model. It made administration simpler and more disastrous at the same time.. These regional commands, even one covering the US are symptomatic of this dysfunctional foreign policy.

    • MEexpert
      August 12, 2018 at 9:14 am

      With top diplomats like Pompeo and Hillary Clinton, the US can never have diplomacy as the policy of choice. Pompeo looks more like a bar room bouncer than a diplomat. Furthermore, once the Deep State/MIC beast has tasted blood, it can never satisfy its appetite with diplomacy.

  15. Realist
    August 11, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Good analysis. Maybe these new realities will prompt Washington to finally get out of the region before squandering too many more lives and much treasure our near bankrupt nation cannot afford. Re the last word in that sentence: Soon the American government will be seizing your earned deferred compensation, like Social Security and Medicare, to pay for its bloated war budget, while the failed banks subsidizing this bloodfest will be stealing your deposits via the new “bail-in” policies (then they will foreclose on your house when you consequently can’t make the mortgage payments). So, we honestly cannot afford much more of this bullshit.

    Just a niggling quibble about this expression: “the USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up a failing Afghan communist regime.” Why does even the alternative media persist in referring to any Russian presence in a foreign land as an “invasion?” Russia did NOT invade Syria, the Crimea, Georgia, or Afghanistan in 1979 when it was invited in to defend the legitimate government. Yet Washington is never accused of invading countries even when it blatantly does so, as in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Panama and even little Grenada. We won’t even count the “proxy” invasions as in Syria or Yemen. We can even pretend that America was invited into South Vietnam and South Korea, rather than invading them. These “incursions” had all the hallmarks of a classic invasion, yet they are always painted as “rescue efforts” or some such, and therefore unquestionably legitimate. Hmm, I see the author is former CIA and may still be suffering withdrawal symptoms.

    • jo6pac
      August 11, 2018 at 6:39 am

      Hmm, I see the author is former CIA and may still be suffering withdrawal symptoms.

      LOL and they all do except Ray M.

      I do hope that Pakistani govt. can get away from being Amerikas proxy.

      • Realist
        August 12, 2018 at 9:55 pm

        After reading the many comments posted since mine, I think I was too kind to the author. Should have said sketchy analysis with some good points.

    • David G
      August 11, 2018 at 8:38 am

      What would happen if the Pakistani government decreed no further U.S./NATO transshipment for the Afghan war through or over its territory, starting, say, six months from the announcement?

      Other than try to change Pakistan’s mind by fair means or foul, what could the U.S./NATO do to continue the carnage into its third decade, as is obviously intended?

      Look at a map. How do you get to Afghanistan from international waters or Yankee-dominated territory without crossing some country whose relationship with the U.S. is in some stage of collapse: Russia, Iran, China?

      The northern resupply route through Russia and Central Asia (established after a couple of “friendly” U.S. air strikes slaughtered Pakistani troops, leading Islamabad to temporarily suspend the southern route) was ended by Russia even before U.S.-Russia relations were as bad as they’ve become – and I don’t think the new rounds of sanctions will help.

      The western route from the Black Sea via Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, and some combination of Central Asian states is currently functioning, I believe. I’m not sure whether there’s any restriction on lethal supplies going that route, but even if not, could it bear the load of supplying the whole war? (This route also must be more expensive than going through Pakistan, and while Congress and the Pentagon aren’t known for paying much attention to their wars’ price tags, that would not be a welcome development.)

      And if the U.S. manages to piss one of those countries off in its inimitable fashion, then with Pakistan out of the picture, that would be the whole ball game.

      • vinnieoh
        August 11, 2018 at 11:13 am

        It is for the reasons that you mentioned that there is much skullduggery going on within the ethnic Baloch areas of the region – SW Pakistan, Southern Afghanistan, and SE Iran. If Pakistan would cut off the supply route then expect that there would be a Baloch “insurrection” in SE Iran, with a complete news blackout not showing the US/Saudi/Israeli invasion of SE Iran. A “protectorate” would be established with full US guarantees of protection and recognition. There is a developable port in the area of the coast that would be seized, and the protectorate would contain an area of the western Afghanistan border that would allow development of a freight transportation route to and from Afghanistan, thereby finally attaining access to all of the mineral wealth there, which is the real reason that the US MIC has entrenched itself there.

        About a year ago, even before I became aware of the Balochi ethnic rumblings, while looking at Google Earth I saw how easily the new axis of evil (US/SA/Israel) could pull this off. While Iran concentrates its defensive assets to the Gulf area and the industrial and population centers of Iran (which the Baluchistan province of Iran is not a part of,) SE Iran could fairly easily be picked off and carved out.

        Far-fetched? Considering the vile behavior of the US, the Saudis, and Israel in this 21st century, I don’t think it’s far-retched at all.

        • Tom
          August 11, 2018 at 6:10 pm

          Very likely an attempt to annex SE Iran would trigger major Iranian retaliation and it seems doubtful to me, that the Axis has the stomach to withstand a determined Iranian effort to evict it. The Axis might well reply by a more general attack on Iran which would likely be disastrous for all concerned. Better the Axis stay out of Iran if it has any sense, but of course that’s the major problem.

          • vinnieoh
            August 12, 2018 at 10:21 am

            I hesitated to post the above speculation. When you consider what was done to Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Yemen, and the continual threats made against Iran since the Islamic revolution, I believe there is nothing that the bloodthirsty crazies in DC wouldn’t consider.

            Whether there was a long-term strategy connected to the US campaign in Afghanistan is something that should be seriously considered. Remember Chaney’s Energy Task Force? Right from the beginning there was talk and speculation about Afghanistan’s mineral resources. Is the only reason that the US continues its occupation merely because it refuses to admit defeat and doesn’t want to lose face? Or is the continuing presence there meant to keep that prize out of the hands of the Chinese? I had “imagined’ this scenario some time ago and revisited it when Trump, about a year ago, was whining about how the US was going to be denied the spoils (the mineral wealth) of our aggression there. We know that he regurgitates the last thing he hears, so just who and about what was he channeling? It didn’t come out of nowhere.

            IMO all actions by all parties in that region should be prefaced upon China’s growing influence there. The American Brand has self destructed there and forever lost the battle for hearts and minds. You could argue that has been the case since the Iranian coup of ’53, as America now equates with hypocrisy. (Madeline Albright, of all people, wrote in retrospect that the Iranian coup was the worst failure of US foreign policy in her lifetime.) Again, the Chinese initiatives and plans in the region have been forming for several decades, a fact not lost on the MIC that is determined to cripple those plans by whatever means possible.

            It is a fact and has been reported by many sources (James Dorsey, for one) that the Saudis are establishing and supporting Sunni madrasses and other institutions among the Balochi that are fomenting violence against the Shia there. It is a classic strategy of US “nation building” (a euphemism for regime change) to sponsor minority populations that per our domestic propaganda are being “oppressed and abused” by whatever nation or regime that the US has chosen for elimination. Not saying anything here that most astute observers don’t already know. And of course when our proxies commit violence against that US target, that target power responds with their own violence which is then used to “prove” the case that the targeted regime is: a) brutal; b) criminal; c) tyrannical. Again, all meant for domestic consumption.

            I suppose if I had a purpose for posting this speculation it was to attune others’ ears to a domestic propaganda campaign, if one should materialize, concerning “the oppressed, repressed, brutalized Balochis” by the “tyrannical Shia Iranian regime.”

            I’m curious why you would think the crazies wouldn’t have the stomach for the scenario that I outlined, and which would be a classic operation, but would rather proceed with a larger attack on Iran. I don’t understand your logic. What I outlined would give them R2P cover, while an all-out attack would be hard to paper over as anything other than naked aggression. I am not wedded to this idea. It is just a speculation that arose in my mind and keeps resurfacing as I watch all of the swirling, competing interests there. I sincerely hope neither action happens. Peace.

        • David G
          August 13, 2018 at 5:38 am

          Those are really interesting observations, vinnieoh.

          I think informed speculation such as your replies – and my original comment, I hope – are useful as a way to think about these matters without having to be predictions.

          For my part, I have no reason to believe Imran Khan will actually try to cut off supply routes through Pakistan. If he did, I imagine the path of least resistance for the U.S. would be to attempt to foment a good old-fashioned military coup there, rather than anything so ambitious as an independent Balochistan in Pakistan or Iran, or both – though doubtless all too many senior Pentagon/CIA/NSA types would be disgustingly excited at the prospect.

    • Sam F
      August 11, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Graham Fuller was vacationing with the CIA on an island off Turkey when the US coup attempt began. He omits that the US started Al Qaeda there with $4 billion in weapons via Pakistan. Afghanistan would be far better off if its communist government had survived to weaken fanatical religion and tribalism, unifying with its secular ideology of development, as it would likely have gone away with the USSR.

      • August 12, 2018 at 8:38 am

        Sam F.

        We were so intent on pay back for Vietnam that we were willing to destroy a country to get at Russia. There are pictures of Kabul in the seventies which showed a beautiful city and a troubled but still functional state. Whatever the USSR’s deficiencies their effort to prop up the government by reducing sectarian divides was necessary. and Afghanistan would be a very different and more stable place today if we hadn.t intervened. I wonder what Carter thinks of his decision today. . And we would still be financing extremists to destroy it.

        • Realist
          August 12, 2018 at 9:09 am

          American college kids used to go backpacking during their summers through the mountains of Afghanistan back in the 60’s and early 70’s (just as they did through India, Burma, Thailand and other exotic places). A young woman I co-taught a course with at the time did it alone (no escorts whatsoever). She was a stunning blonde beauty who wore jeans and tee shirts and no Islamic fundamentalists harassed her ever. Now they hate all Westerners and any unescorted woman is an abomination. Either that was in a parallel universe or someone made some bad choices that changed everything.

          • jimbo
            August 19, 2018 at 12:00 am

            I was one of those kids! And I was there for the hashish! We all were. Funny, since 9/11, in all the reporting about Afghanistan their amazingly good hashish has never been mentioned. Never! One good blast from a chillum turned a third world, horse-driven country to Disneyland,. Frontierland more specifically. And I was never hassled, only welcomed by the Afghanis. And if Afghanistan is looking for business opportunities, the newly liberalized US cannabis market is it, man! Talk about a key to making peace in a region. How about a “key” of Mazar-i-sharif black or Kandahar blonde – or one of both! Peace.

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