Thursday, December 3, 2009

The end of empire

This morning's 'Süddeutsche Zeitung' reminded me that I had forgotten to mention an important aspect of Obama's speech; when the "troop withdrawal begins in 2011, the hype man will be coming up for election.

Let us consider this for a second; 30,000 extra American troops are being deployed to Afghanistan with "Uncle Sam's" bum chums in Europe being asked to make up General McChrystal's "missing" 10,000 and while there is some hesitation on the part of Germany and France to send extra men, it is Georgia with the begging bowl to the fore, followed by Washington's number one bum chum, 'Blighty'.

However, to get back to the original point; this is December 2009 and if the withdrawal is to begin in 2011, what are these extra troops supposed to achieve? Nothing, absolutely nothing, or so it would seem for as Simon Jenkins commented in yesterday's 'Guardian', the taliban "will simply wait, controlling the country areas and killing Nato patrols with sufficient regularity to keep western public opinion demoralised". Yes, that will be the taliban's strategy, no doubt, nevertheless, with the withdrawal coming so quickly after the deployment they might not have the even need to wait until western public opinion is on their side and what we are going to have is the start of the withdrawl in time for the next presidential election with what is essentially a charade being sold as a victory on the Hindukush. How shabby, how fucking shabby and not only are people dying for an American geopolitical shambles, they are also dying for a hype man who sold them a lie.  

Yesterday, Jenkins also said that Obama had no stomach for a fight. Unfortunately, while that might be true, there is no real reason to believe that that is behind the decision to announce a withdrawal beginning in 2011. The hype man and his backers are motivated by more selfish factors and it is those factors that are going to be responsible for an initial escalation in the war, a defeat and withdrawal dressed as victory and an Afghanistan that will be in a much bigger mess than it was back in 2001. For Obama the picture is slightly different and if this is not America's last hurrah, we can see in him a modern Theodosius; after Theodosius died in 395, the Roman Empire was split permanently. The United States is going to be around for a while longer but its geopolitical domination as the sole ruler of the world has already ended on the Hindukush.

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