- Category: Imperialism & War
- Created on Sunday, 26 June 2011 17:38
- Written by Gary
Mike wrote in a recent post:
The Taliban has actually issued a statement that upon returning to power they will not allow any group to use their country for attacks upon other countries. So the idea that the U.S. must continue bombing and house-raiding etc. to “defend” the U.S. from “terrorist attacks” is weak on the face of it.
So why is there REALLY this “calculation based on imperialist politics”?
Control of Afghan markets seems to have nothing to do with this. Afghanistan has no resources to speak of and was virtually ignored the US State Department even as it cultivated alliances with the neighboring states of Pakistan and Iran. Indeed the U.S. basically conceded it to the Soviet sphere of influence.
Is it mainly the establishment of permanent bases to be used for leverage in geopolitical competition with China and Russia, and for use in future wars against Iran or other countries? Maybe, but the U.S. has bases elsewhere in the general region (Kuwait, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan). Is it worth it to the U.S. ruling class (of which as Lenin put it the cabinet is the “executive committee”) to continue the war to maintain the bases?
Is it based on some ideological commitment within the US ruling class to the transformation of Afghan society, getting rid of the veil etc.? I doubt this, even though the neocons always like to pretend that the wars they promote are humanitarian and “liberal” in intent. Notice how, when it became apparent that the fall of the Taliban had almost no impact on the tradition of burqa-wearing (hence, it could no longer be BLAMED on the Taliban any more than on the warlords the U.S. is now in bed with) it ceased to be an issue…
Is it because, whatever might be involved in Afghanistan, retreat now would humiliate the U.S. ruling class in ways that would damage various other strategic goals aside from pacifying a poor country under U.S. hegemony (and strengthen the Shanghai Cooperation Organization)?
Is it because the U.S. elite want to build a natural gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea to western countries and allies that bypasses Russian territory as well as Iran and proceeds through Pakistan and India to an Indian Ocean port? (That would seen the big prize of the Afghan War… but it requires control over the Helmand Valley, where the “surge” started in 2009 [Operation Khanjar] and has stymied.)
Again, my point is just that when we say “this is a cold decision of empire” we should have some answer when people ask, “What’s in it for the imperialists? Why are they increasing the deficit, and watching public opinion turn against the war (undermining their position) in order to keep fighting an enemy which seems to strengthen every year while Afghan public opinion turns decisively against the foreign forces? What sense does this make to the imperialists?”
How do we explain this—concretely—in terms of Marxist-Leninist theory?