In a recent article in “the new York times” a former CIA officer Douglas London (London Douglas) writes: “We cannot ignore the overall picture of us policy in Afghanistan.”
What is the “General picture” is that? London and others, who were angered by the accusations that Russia pays cash to the Taliban for the killings of American soldiers care about the inexplicable willingness of President trump “to demolish the Russian threat to our troops, our security and our democracy.” “War of the calculation, denial and deception,” which the President supposedly launched in the face of these accusations, London considers unbearable. What is most disturbing is that the President still “has not condemned the Russian aggression loud and clear”. “And as known by any expert on Russia, — he concludes, — silently enduring one of aggression, we courted another, even greater”.
Of course, “aggression”, this is largely a subjective thing. From the point of view of the Taliban, is the aggressor here — USA. In the end, it’s the American troops invaded the country in 2001 and occupy it to this day. Ironically, America followed in the footsteps of the Soviet Union, which invaded Afghanistan and occupied it in 1979.
After September 11, President George Bush imposed in Afghanistan by the American troops, because he considered the existing regime in Kabul is unacceptable security risk. About two decades before Soviet troops also invaded Afghanistan — and exactly for the same reason: the Kremlin leaders believed the then regime in Kabul threat to Soviet security.
In both cases the cost was much more than expected. The failed Soviet war in Afghanistan in many respects hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union. What price for his war, almost as a failure, we will pay, is still unknown. But there is no sign that future generations will deem the war in Afghanistan, the highest point on the military history of the United States. Evidence that the loss of American troops — more than 2,300 dead and over 20,000 wounded — somehow strengthened the position of America in the world, its security and prosperity, a little bit.
The Russian government of Vladimir Putin is committed to ensuring that the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, is beyond doubt. Russia’s support of the Taliban, whether monetary or other — has a strategic meaning: it is a way with minimal risk to multiply the costs which the United States are at your own stupidity for letting himself be drawn into the war, unwinnable.
However, to portray feigned outrage because Russia took advantage of the difficulties that we ourselves have created, you need either a strong dose of hypocrisy or conveniently short memory. Introduce yourself the chance to us, we would have done the same. We did — and caused this is much more damage.
In the 1980s the US supported the Mujahideen — they were called “freedom fighters — and American weapons helped them kill many Russian soldiers. Nearly a decade the former office of Mr. London spent on weapons and aid to the Mujahideen billions of dollars. In General, a reckless attempt of the Kremlin to define the future of Afghanistan claimed the lives of 15,000 Soviet soldiers and another 35,000 were injured.
America’s contribution to the loss was immeasurable, and many in Washington cheered. Russian now got a modicum of revenge.
Americans do not mourn young Russians killed in this reckless war. We mourn the loss of their own soldiers who did not return home.
And yet to protest against modern Russian intervention in Afghanistan — akin to knock the door of the coop, and then blame Fox for the fact that you ate the chickens. This is a convenient way to close their eyes to the true source of the troubles.
What exactly is the crime? Who is the culprit? These are complex questions and simple answers.
The answers depend on where you seek them out. Limit the search to recent accusations that the Russian condoning the Taliban, and you will get one set of answers. View, as expressed by Douglas London, “the big picture”, and the answer will be quite different.
Here’s the big picture, to recognize that in Washington almost no one wants: after the cold war, the United States with malicious intent took advantage of Russia’s weakness. With the collapse of Soviet power we had raided the chicken coop in Eastern Europe and some former Soviet republics, remaining unattended. The result was the expansion of NATO and the European Union to the East. From the point of view of the Kremlin, it was a hostile act, and President Putin did not forget.
The US has no reason to snap about their achievements after the cold war due to Russia. It is equally foolish to expect that Putin will miss the first opportunity to revenge. Policy is not a toy.
For the United States at this stage a pressing need — not to give Putin a chance to take advantage of our vulnerability. Funds for this are readily available: immediately stop the war in Afghanistan and terminate endlessly discussing the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
What is the crime? In the wrong war happens for no apparent reason. Who is the culprit? Those who are willing to put American soldiers in danger without any specific purpose.
Andrew Bacevich — President of the Institute of good governance and Quincy.
* is banned in Russia organization.