Wednesday, May 6, 2009
New great game: legitimizing 'Af-Pak'
The myth of Talibanistan
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: The Taliban's activities in Buner in Pakistan have raised concern over the country to the level of hysteria; that it is about to fall to an army of turbans. This is not going to happen. What is happening is that the United States, to legitimize the next stage in the Af-Pak war, is creating a new uber-bogeyman.
So if Islamabad is not burning tomorrow, why the hysteria? There are several reasons. To start with, what Washington simply cannot stomach is real democracy and a true civilian government in Islamabad; these would be much more a threat to 'US interests' than the Taliban...
What Washington may certainly relish is yet another military coup -- and sources tell Asia Times Online that former dictator General Pervez Musharraf is active behind the hysteria scene... Moreover, there are canyons of the Pakistani military/security bureaucracy who would love nothing better than to extract even more US dollars to fight the Pashtun neo-Taliban that they are simultaneously arming to fight the Americans and NATO...
The myth of Talibanistan anyway is just a diversion, a cog in the slow-moving regional big wheel -- which in itself is part of the new great game in Eurasia.
Patrick Cockburn, in The Boston Globe: Obama may differ from Bush on particulars, but he appears intent on sustaining the essentials on which the Bush policies were grounded. Put simply, Obama's pragmatism poses no threat to the reigning security consensus...
For decades now, that consensus has centered on what we might call the Sacred Trinity of global power projection, global military presence, and global activism -- the concrete expression of what politicians commonly refer to as 'American global leadership.' The United States configures its armed forces not for defense but for overseas 'contingencies.' To facilitate the deployment of these forces it maintains a vast network of foreign bases, complemented by various access and overflight agreements. Capabilities and bases mesh with and foster a penchant for meddling in the affairs of others, sometimes revealed to the public, but often concealed.
Bush did not invent the Sacred Trinity. He merely inherited it and then abused it... Obama's revised approach to the so-called Long War, formerly known as the Global War on Terror, should hearten neoconservative and neoliberal exponents of American globalism: Now in its eighth year, this war continues with no end in sight... Far from abrogating the Sacred Trinity, the president appears intent on investing it with new life.
Image source here.