Washington’s kiss of death

Handover ceremony at Camp Anthonic, from US Army to Afghan Special Forces, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 2, 2021.

Rudyard Kipling, Bard of Empire, wrote a poem titled “The White Man’s Burden”. Written in February 1899, Kipling urged the US to colonize the Philippines and take up the burden of the Empire. A couplet reads: “Your new caught, sullen peoples, half devil and half child, take up the white man’s burden”. As the US gladly donned the imperial mantle, this ‘burden’ became the justification of American imperialism.

Bush, a Yale history graduate, when reminded about Afghanistan’s history prior to its 2001 invasion famously retorted, ‘history is for losers’. Bushism saw historians not history repeating itself. The fact remains that The New World Order called for the occupation of Eurasia, the center of the global chessboard. The Afghanistan invasion morphed into capturing Eurasia’s heart and plans to man China and Russia’s backyard. It culminated in the defeat of the vaunted collective might of the West.

American values limited to its shorelines, Washington’s military adventurism is ostensibly always about enforcing (their brand of) freedom. 9/11 became an excuse for attacks on Muslim states. The aftermath caused havoc in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and fallout in Occupied Kashmir and Gaza with criminal actions and inhuman sanctions against Iran. It resulted in genocides, orphaned generations, displacements, extra judicial murders, human right violations, destitution and destruction; all on an unimaginable scale.

With trillions in its Military Industrial Complex’s kitty, the US is finally calling it a day and leaving behind a ravaged Afghanistan. This nineteen year destructive war was encapsulated in a 2011 report by a team of US Army psychologists led by Dr Jeffrey Bordin, himself a Political and Military Psychologist. The extensively researched 72 page report was captioned “A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility”.

It enumerated how, a decade on, the ‘liberators’ and the ‘liberated’ viewed each other. The report said that the ‘liberated’ Afghans viewed Americans as “a bunch of violent, reckless, intrusive, arrogant, self-serving, profane infidel bullies hiding behind high technology”. The ‘liberators’, in turn saw Afghans as “a bunch of cowardly, incompetent, obtuse, thieving, complacent, lazy, pot-smoking, treacherous and murderous radicals”. This, in essence, has been the story of the liberators and the liberated through all American occupations.

Bordin’s report was summarily rejected. In a June 2011 WSJ interview, Coalition spokeswoman Lt Cmdr Colette Murphy, branded it as “systematically flawed and suffering from generalizations, unprofessional rhetoric and sensationalism”. Dr Bordin was sacked as leader of the research group tasked to find solutions to military shortcomings in Afghanistan. His contract was rescinded and he had to leave Afghanistan.

Washington, bruised and battered by the white man’s burden, still parrots the British Empire. Failing in its military quest to ensure the continuation and legitimacy of a post-withdrawal vassal in Kabul, Washington now plans to control Afghanistan by a declared policy of aerial policing. The concept was adopted by Britain in the 1920s with the RAF carrying out airstrikes to control any uprisings in Iraq.

Priya Satia, a historian of the British Empire, is Professor of International History at Stanford University. In her book ‘Spies in Arabia’, she describes the policing of what she terms the ‘covert empire’. She writes, “This reflexive recourse to an aerial strategy still in the Middle East is not a coincidence. It comes out of this long history that this part of the (half devil half child) world can take it”.

The fact remains that each single American intervention has produced exactly the same results that Washington sets out to exterminate. Each civilian death has hundreds rising up in arms. In a moment of truth, Gen Stanley McChrystal, former coalition commander in Afghanistan, dubbed it ‘insurgent math’.

Despite suffering devastation by becoming a willing proxy to an alien war, Pakistan has helped tremendously in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table and enabling a safe coalition withdrawal; a fact admitted by Washington and the Western capitals. Pakistan’s peace endeavors have been achieved despite consistent hostilities, terrorism and the relentless machinations of the many agent provocateurs’.

Churchill wrote in ‘History of the Second World War’: “When two armies approach each other it makes all the difference in the world which one owns only the ground it stands on and which owns all the rest”.  Despite this reality, Afghanistan shall unfortunately not be left alone; it may continue to suffer under the shadow of the drone. This shall be apart from ground troops and spooks ostensibly guarding the US embassy in Kabul.

Lord Cromer famously worded the British Empire’s influence on Egypt when he said “We do not govern Egypt; we govern the governors of Egypt”. The US, addicted to this mindset, shall take a consistent and an equally resolute “absolutely not” from Prime Minister Imran Khan to refuse Washington’s kiss of death lethally laced by ‘do more’ and arm twisting IMF/FATF induced pressures. This is imperative as Pakistan simply cannot afford a proxy war’s destructive and harrowing consequences all over again.

Mir Adnan Aziz is a political commentator Email:[email protected]



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