Updated below:Power“Power,” said Mr. World. He scratched his chin. “And food. A combination of the two. You see, the outcome of the battle is unimportant. What matters is the chaos, and the slaughter.”--American Gods, Neil Gaiman
The most visits I get at my website come from people using the search terms “strategic importance of Afghanistan.” Interestingly enough I tried the search myself and was surprised that among the first links Google gives is to a post I wrote some time ago, here,
if you’re interested. At any rate it explains the visits to my nobody bloog. However, though I have yet to see a more reasonable explanation than the one I read about in Chomsky’s book and have yet to see anything that would make me change my mind on a more fundamental level I think a simpler truth can be found in the above quote. Power is the name of the game, I just don’t see how you can get around it ugly as it is. And if you are reading this entire post keep in mind the last sentence in the above quote, especially regarding general Mattis.
Here is the pertinent segment of my post regarding the strategic value of Afghanistan:
I came across an interesting view on the “why” we are really in Afghanistan as I read “Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. foreign Policy” a book that is basically a transcript of a discussion between Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar. Achcar relates that the reason for our presence in Afghanistan is Afghanistan’s strategic value due to its geographical location. Achcar says that the U.S. never really planned to control Afghanistan the way we control Iraq pointing out that it would take far more troops then are now there, indeed, even more than the 130,000 troops now in Iraq due to Afghanistan’s geography, size, and complexities. According to Achcar to understand why the location is important is that looking at Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, where the U.S. has set up airbases, lie in the heart of the former Soviet Union and that Washington is trying to set a military vice around the Caspian Basin, an important source of oil and gas.
Even more importantly, according to Achcar, is that Afghanistan and Central Asia lie in the heart of the landmass extending from European Russia to China which is important to Washington who is worried about the recent joint military maneuvers between China and Russia.
At the black heart of our foreign policy and interest in Afghanistan lies the hunt for power. To control the flow of oil is to wield immense power over other nations, for obvious reasons. If you seek the motives for the inexplicable the answer is always found in our national leader’s desire for power and how to get more.Civilization
Though many Americans view America as the guiding light of the world, shining from on high like a beacon of hope, love, goodwill towards all, salvation, and a Big Mac, I just can’t get over Costa Rica not having a military which in my book makes little Costa Rica more progressive than America. What makes America so supposedly progressive as we are constantly told by our leaders? Was it the years of Black slavery followed by years of Jim Crow? Was it the genocide of Native Americans? Was it the way we waged war against our neighbor, Mexico? Was it the invasion of the Philippines where we had no business being? I’ve got it, Truman didn’t nuke North Korea the way “Dug-out” Doug MacArthur wanted to. Oh wait, I forgot, Truman had already nuked Japan even though WWII had essentially ended and Japan was seeking surrender. Hmm, damn, I’m trying to think of what makes us so darned progressive but I can’t come up with anything.
Perhaps Costa Rica is the first actual civilization on Planet Earth in modern times. Think of it, Costa Rica has no military.
Costa Rica gives me hope for the world in a way the U.S. with its demented culture never did. To date what has “civilization” really been? In fact, what we call civilization is nothing but a ritualized version of “nature red in tooth and claw,” where the big animals push the little animals around. Instead of big animals we have the big money people pushing the little money people around. In the end what we call civilization is the self enslavement of the masses who have been bedazzled and amazed by a bunch of liars.
Okay, we be civilized and you don’t like me criticizing your tribalism so let’s take a good look at the Flower of Civilization, Barack Obama. Here is what our Flower of Civilization said:Link
"War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or a president," Obama said. "
Think about that, just how civilized is that? Let it sink in, the war is more important than anyone. You, me, anyone. All there is is war and war is god. Think about it. That says it all if you ask me. Occasionally the murdering monsters let slip the dogs of truth so enjoy it while you can. Now let’s look at who the “Flower of Civilization” has appointed as the new King of all the Terror Wars in place of general Petraeus:Via Arthur SilberLink
In 2005, then Lt. Gen. Mattis spoke of his “fun” experience in Afghanistan at a forum in San Diego, describing it as “a hell of a hoot.” After laughter from soldiers in the audience Mattis went on to declare “it’s fun to shoot some people.”
Mattis continued to elaborate. “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” adding “guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyways. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”
Long gone are those days of wine and roses when U.S. marines made love to Afghan civilians, winning hearts and minds with their winsome ways, “hey dude.” So at what we consider the fountainhead of civilization (us) we see a general essentially put in charge of our foreign policy who not only is a moron, “Ain’t-Got-No-Manhood-Anyways” Mattis, but is also a very sick psychopathic killer who thinks murdering people is fun. Civilization, what a joke.
America is still riding high but it is not the leader of the world, thug of the world maybe, but not leader of the world. Rather than America it seems it shall be the smaller fry who will lead the way by example.
I see Arthur Silber has posted
on the topic of “why” Afghanistan which I recommend to everyone. Silber makes many of the same points regarding the strategic geographical importance of Afghanistan as Achar and fleshes it out some more.
I think to sum it up Russia, China, the U.S. and Europe are all interested in the Caspian Basin, home to an estimated 3 trillion dollars worth of oil and gas. Afghanistan is strategically located providing a platform for the U.S. military to confront Russia and China over the Caspian Basin and control of the rest of the Middle East, you know like Iraq, Iran, etc. and in fact, as I mentioned numerous times Afghanistan is very conveniently located for an invasion of Iran which directly borders the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf which is quite useful if you plan to remove oil from the Caspian Basin. But go read Silber’s piece. And one last thing, I learned about Afghanistan’s strategic value by going to the library and reading a book. Anyone could do the same with a very small amount of effort but people do not do this by and large. Instead, they rely on a very unreliable source of news, the news media.