Counter productivity of foreign invasions
MILITARY solutions and foreign interventions have never fixed political and societal problems.
In occupied countries many people prefer their own rulers over foreigners as a means to preserving their freedom, culture and identity.
Sirin Ebadi, a Nobel prize winning human rights activist, argues against western intervention.
She implies that despite a regime’s poor human rights record, gender discrimination and lack of democracy, any involvement by foreign powers would be undesirable and unhelpful. It would simply make matters worse.
Instead, she insists that change must come from within, and points to the relatively strong women’s movement in Iran compared with other Islamic states.
The recent results of foreign invasions are a proof of their failure in building trustworthy institutions through outside interventions.
Both in Iraq and Afghanistan, the main aim was on engaging and training people and not on constructing strong, loyal organizations.
As the people were trained by international forces to fight their own, corruption and exploitation prevailed due to the lack of trust, purpose and identity.
Lack of morals and a crisis of identity was strong enough to convince everyone to give up once the decision of withdrawal had been made.
One thing that has been common in all the recent global invasions and their military training is a deep-rooted sense of instability, as a consequence of their downfall.
America had faced great disgrace in Vietnam many years ago followed by other military blunders that it had staged since then, and as a result Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, among others have suffered the consequences.
The countries, their people and the neighboring states have been made to suffer for superpower’s follies. Always presuming that it will be better than before, foreign powers have not been able to derive a lesson from their mistakes. The scale of tragedy has worsened every time.
Now after spending two decades and more than trillion dollars, the US abandoned Afghanistan just to be handed over to the very people it had resisted in the first place.
In a matter of days the Taliban retook a country, loaded with American weapons, corrupted with traitors, and filled with unsafe individuals. A professional soldier’s potential is not just physical ability, but mental conditioning and discipline and most importantly his sense of loyalty.
In the Ottoman Empire, the most elite and admired unit, the Janissaries were the private army of the Sultan. Well trained, lavishly dressed and of iron discipline. They were mostly converts who were often members of the Bektaºi order.
A Janissary’s power was not just in his physical strength but also in keeping ranks, following orders, and standing against all odds. It was about fencing skills, following discipline, and staying faithful to the empire.
A strong faithful unit was set as a basis for the loyalty of the Janissaries who led the Turks to many victories including that of Constantinople’s.
The Turks made a loyal, disciplined and highly trained unit that set an example across the world.
A preference was laid over loyalty before their training to compose a strong unit of army for the Empire.
The Afghans who had been fighting one another, their neighbours and the Soviets for centuries are born in a fighting zone.
But the US had always declared that its mission in Afghanistan was to train the Afghans to fight for their country.
It seems apparent now that it was not about training the people but more about making the superpower image look good through the media.
The US intended on showing an ideal liberal platform and funded the free media projects that appeal to the audience who hold their campaigns.
These ideas are a means of manipulating one’s way to sustaining the superpower image and having leverage over any country through its aid.
The resulting trained army and government lacked trust, loyalty and stronger will for their nationalism.
Nowadays every country and their media stand in a fight against terrorism and its effects. The focus of every news and their analysis is on finding a solution to extremism and on building a more peaceful world.
Studies have shown that the use of military force by foreign powers to subjugate or reform societies serves only to promote a larger number of suicide terrorists than would otherwise be the case.
The birth of terror organisations like the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are by-products of foreign invasion policies.
Robert A. Pape, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago specializing in international security affairs, had compiled evidence to suggest that suicide terrorism is in fact a secular tactic rather than a religious one, and forms part of a broader campaign to remove an occupying force from the area perceived by the perpetrators to be their homeland.
Pape’s research found that every terrorist campaign and more than 95 percent of all suicide bombings had the objective of national liberation at their heart.
He argues that suicide terrorism is not the result of an existing supply of fanatics but is a demand-driven phenomenon.
And thanks to the failed interventions by more powerful countries who focus on their leverage rather than strengthening the local governments, it is a rising concern.
Global power politics has left Afghanistan and its people at a major humanitarian crisis.
While the rest of the world needs to find a way to interact with them on fighting terrorism and acknowledging human rights, the best that can be wished for the sake of humanity is that the new Taliban government is more rational, with a realization for global recognition and aid.
Matters cannot be made worse by blocking or discontinuing foreign aids just because there is no leverage through foreign intervention.
Whether the Taliban swept an easy takeover due to the lack of morale or loyalty, any American or Western sanctions will only prove counterproductive for humanity and world peace.
Supporting local governments for the sake of their people to avoid uprisings and regional chaos is one hope for humanity and global peace.
—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Rawalpindi.