After 20 years, the longest war in American history is coming to an end – or at least it appears to be.
Right now it only appears to be ending because the American empire will withdraw after suffering a total defeat, even though the real war is most likely just beginning, not only with respect to Afghanistan, but because the balance of power is shifting throughout the entire region. The American president said the U.S. is leaving proud and with its head held high because it finished the job.
Well, maybe he is right. If the job was to completely destroy a nation and create total chaos, then the U.S. indeed fulfilled its mission. From this perspective, it becomes understandable why Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish-born American politician, geostrategist and Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, used the concept of “controlled chaos” as one of the United States’ possible strategic objectives.
This is an essential element of a declining empire. When a world power becomes utterly incapable of upholding the order it represents, it can only prolong its own agony by becoming the main generator of chaos instead of upholding order.
What is happening now is built upon this exact strategy. In fact, even the unfortunate events of 9/11 had to happen so they could be an excuse for the empire to show it was the only one capable of maintaining world order and fighting a new war on terrorism. And the U.S. demonstrated that, but not in any usual way. Just as 9/11 was conjured up (exactly how, we will never know due to the nature of the event), so was the narrative conjured up that Iraq and Afghanistan had to be punished for 9/11.
If we look at a map of Asia and draw an imaginary line 4,000 kilometers long (approximately approximately 2,485 miles) between Damascus, Syria, and Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, it crosses Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and China. Since the empire’s main strategic opponents are China, Iran and Syria, it’s not surprising that the empire’s forces had to wedge themselves between these countries in a decisive way, making Iraq and Afghanistan important scapegoats.
Today, it is evident to everyone, since the world power has itself admitted that not a word was true with respect to the dramatic allegations it made to launch a U.N.-approved war on terror against these two nations for the larger glory of global democracy. What really made the official narrative a joke was precisely that the mission, the main goal for the intervention and the propaganda, was a conception of democracy.
The strategic goal of occupying Iraq was obviously to prevent Syrian and Iranian cooperation at all costs, and primarily to supervise the relationship the two nations have with Russia, to halt Russian activities in the Middle East. And Afghanistan occupies the most valuable high ground in the world, from which China, India, Iran and Russia can all be targeted, making its importance indispensable.
If we only look at the potential cooperation between Iran and China’s energy sources, it is again completely understandable that an essential strategic position is at stake for the empire. Indeed, it was at stake because the empire, as it was with Vietnam at the time, has suffered total defeat where people that live precariously and in one of the world’s poorest countries.
The cost of the war has exceeded $400 billion, but restitution for thousands of dead Americans and disabled veterans from the war will drive the final cost even higher. A similar fate is most likely waiting for the empire’s forces in Iraq since total defeat is already a fact there, too. For now, however, too many imperial power structures are invested in not admitting obvious failure. The bill over there might be larger by a king’s ransom compared to Afghanistan.
The spectacular defeat of the empire is also evident in the disclosure of how 9/11 was conjured up, so there cannot be any doubt that the theatrical commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the false tragedy in September will be unimaginable. The game is over.
The empire’s agony seems to be growing, and even though the global media machine can portray the increasingly serious strategic defeats as victories for some of the world, the downward spiral can hardly be disguised.
Its attempts at weakening Europe, Russia and China, dismantling the system of cooperation among them, and, as in Afghanistan so far, waging proxy wars (indirectly or coercively) to improve its global position are all useless. Failure is inevitable. During the fall of 2001, when the ruling groups of Afghanistan relinquished protected territory without much resistance and avoided clashes with invading American forces, they boldly noted that the Americans have expensive watches, but we have plenty of time. And this kind of time does not work in favor of the high-tech American empire nowadays.
The author is an economist.