Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AfPak: It's not about 'terrorists'

The secrets of Obama's surge
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: What if the AfPak quagmire had nothing to do with 'terrorists' but with these facts:

1. A Cold War mentality in action still prevailing at the Pentagon...
2. The US Empire of bases still in overdrive, and in New Great Game mode...
3. The fear of a spectacular NATO failure...
4. Last but not least, the energy wars...

So is AfPak the Pentagon's AIG -- we gotta bail them out, can't let them fail? Is it a Predator drone war disguised as nation building? Will it become Obama's Vietnam? Whatever it is, it's not about 'terrorists.' Not really. Follow the money. Follow the energy. Follow the map.

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: NATO has nothing to do with 'nation-building,' peacekeeping or 'humanitarian assistance.' And Afghanistan proves it... No one will admit it, but many in Washington and Brussels would actually love NATO to really be a borderless TermiNATO, bypassing the UN to perform humanitarian imperialism all over the globe, taking out 'al-Qaeda' and 'terrorists' anywhere, protecting Pipelineistan and pipeline lands for Western interests in all directions.
The US, supported by NATO, was the midwife of a new incarnation of 'Islamic fundamentalism' which should, as it did, get rid Soviets in Afghanistan and in the former, energy-rich Soviet republics. The fact that, millions of dead and millions of displaced people later, NATO is now asking for Russian help so as not to be stranded in Afghanistan is just another bitter irony of AfPak history, and certainly not the last.

Robert Kagan, The Washington Post: Americans are creators of turmoil. Europeans see them the way the ancient Greeks saw the Athenians, as 'incapable of either living a quiet life themselves or of allowing anyone else to do so.' As the scholar Stephen Sestanovich pointed out in a brilliant essay on 'American Maximalism,' Democratic and Republican administrations alike over the past half-century have favored 'large, even risky' transformative strategies, whether confronting the Soviet Union, unifying Germany, fighting in the Balkans or solving global economic crises, and have abjured the safer, incremental approaches that Europeans always prefer. Yet Europe has often been dragged out of its comfort zone by this born gambler of a superpower.

Europeans love Obama, but European leaders have been fretting ever since his election. George W. Bush did the Europeans a huge favor by giving them the best excuse for inaction in transatlantic history. Now comes Obama, so much more compelling and yet, still, American.
Image: 'Check the disturbers of the peace!'; source here.