American senseless war in Afghanistan
DESPITE the old saw, success has many fathers while failure has none. America is losing the debate of its strategic and military moves in Afghanistan.
In the past, America had a luxury to choose sides and hold negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government but no more.
This is not the end of the war; it is merely the end of its direct American phase in Afghanistan/South Asia.
At this phase, we are simply too close to make measured assessments about the American troops’ success or failure in Afghanistan.
To assess the cost benefit analysis, we can make preliminary assessments, judgments and embark on morally and strategically prudent American policies.
But, we also understand why America got into the Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan wars. What were its objectives behind such as bringing actual peace; installing democracy; improving their infrastructure development, economy, civilian well-being or security or regime change but for what? The Iraq, Libya and Syrian wars clearly indicate that the American war design/strategy was only to strengthen Israel’s position in the Middle East.
To improve that America went into full-fledged war and destroyed their infrastructure. America also went all the way against humanity to help support Israel.
The issue of how such actions are justified in the international arena is becoming a hot debate in International relations.
If we look at the US invasion of Afghanistan it began more than four decades ago with its first American phase, in the 1980s, featured indirect United States intervention on behalf of the anti-Soviet Mujahideen.
According to Eliot A Cohen, the war will assuredly last well beyond the American exit. There will be no power-sharing, no reconciliation, no peace of the brave.
But it looks like the Taliban will receive an edge in the current phase who may torture and slaughter even as they repeal the advances made in women’s education and secularism in any form.
But, the entire region including Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, India and the Central Asian Republics will be directly affected with the way this war settles down.
These states have their own stakes involved in the Afghan War. But, the direct cost of this situation will be paid by the people of Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s ‘Absolutely Not’ stance created havoc in the American strategic design towards Taliban/Afghanistan.
But, Americans should remember that they were often not the most important actors on the scene.
The Pakistani and other secret services, the Europeans, the Russians, and, yes, the Afghans themselves made their decisions and did consequential things based on American performance in Afghanistan.
There were abler and weaker leaders, contingent events, and good decisions badly executed as well as bad ones vigorously put into effect.
Sorting out American blunders in Afghanistan is the proper job of historians, not the contemporaries who will most assuredly get it wrong because of preconceived notions, partisan bias, or desire for vindication of previously held positions. The American vague security policies can lead towards destabilization of the region.
With this more debates are emerging such as if the American World War-style of conflicts/actions are correct, justified or merely based on vague security policies.
Does America have had a plan to wage a war or no abstract ideal of a policy implication successfully executed by those charged with so doing at a given moment.
More than four decades of the Afghan War it has become evident that high-level American commitment for years now is lacking.
If there is any surprise, that is regarded as pessimism and distaste. In the past twenty years, the George Bush term of office along with eight years of Barack Obama and four years of Donald Trump, the United States persisted in a conflict that most senior officials in those administrations remained arrogant, over-confident and had poor war/strategic policies.
They have been misleading the Congress and its citizens about the on ground realities and narratives that they build around their victory in Afghanistan during their war with the Taliban to justify their moves.
However, they left behind collapsed infrastructure and non-competitive Afghan status in the international market.
The question arises why America went into war in Afghanistan? What sort of interests America was looking forward to achieving from the Afghan war? If America failed to achieve its interests in Afghanistan, then what’s next? To me, the only reason why America went into Afghanistan could be to keep an eye on China.
As an attack on the Iconic World Trade Center was a complete intelligence failure by the United States or it was a part of the grand strategy to invade Afghanistan. Militants who were a part of the 9/11 attack were trained and educated in America.
If the latter is correct then since Chinese government is capable enough to control its borders, having a strong intelligence and surveillance system, for America taxing war in Afghanistan becomes onerous. However, the US strategic freedom in Afghanistan will come at the cost of strategic reputation.
It is not simply possible to walk away from a war one has been committed to and pay no penalty, even if the penalty is less than the cost of continuing to fight.
The Afghan exit will also come with a moral cost, which honesty should compel Americans to acknowledge and act upon.
Looking at their track record, can America afford future wars? I think, no. Because America is already struggling to win the modern war as this is the information warfare age.
According to the SIGAR report 30 July 2021, if American troops try to invade any other state in the future they will reap the same consequences.
The SIGAR report further highlights that America built its war strategy based on infinite lies to its own citizens and Congress. America has not received any victory in Afghanistan.
Though, an exaggerated tone is used to justify its actions in Afghanistan. These lies came from the ambassadors, armed forces and people with authority.
They have been misleading the Congress about facts on ground and build fancy narratives around their fake victory.
This is, then, a humbling moment for America and a moment of relief for the parents of servicemen and servicewomen who would otherwise deploy to a war in which their politicians do not believe.
It should be a moment of reflection for the leaders of institutions that performed less well than they ought to have.
It is a moment for diplomats to rebalance and reconfigure elements of American foreign policy and it is most definitely a moment of moral responsibility.
Looks like American war strategy in Afghanistan was based on short term planning rather than a long term strategy.
Unfortunately, wherever America invaded they confronted the same fortune. Such as in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Vietnam and Afghanistan. America lost the wars but self proclaimed victory based on lies remained at the forefront.
It’s high time to realize that the US continuous involvement in various wars provides avenues to the Chinese government to gradually strengthen its economy and power position across the world. It’s America’s senseless war that has made China what China is today.
—The writer is an Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Sciences and Technology.