Following the unseemly (and that is me being polite) exit of the armed forces of the one time global hegemon (now deceased) from Afghan soil, leaving as they always do from wherever they are eventually driven out, an unholy mess once again, and in spite of the lies of Western media as to what has occurred over the past two weeks and particularly the last weekend in that country (what else would we expect from WMSM?), a collective sigh of relief has been breathed by the Afghan people who have jubilantly welcomed the glorious and mostly peaceful and uncontested Taliban victory.
This is not sarcasm. Nor is it a distortion of the truth. And it comes not from my mouth but from someone who knows the region very well. Actually I am sharing two viewpoints here, to both of which I mostly heartily accede, and also to make a particular point of my own differing opinion on something. But let’s not jump ahead too far.
The picture I have painted so far comes from a work by Zamir Awan, a Chinese taught, Pakistani engineer, ex-diplomat, and NUST academic in Islamabad, in a guest article on the Saker Blog, titled simply – ‘Taliban entered into Kabul’. So it is right up to date as I write. Due to his background, I suppose there are ample hooks for western interests to claim potential bias in this man’s views. My radar detects none of that, in fact it appears to be exactly as I have come to expect from such a take-over this time around. But of course western media is still operating somewhere in the depths of the previous century. If you want to know more of Mr Awan, and I have to admit it is the first I have heard of him, this short Youtube video may provide the answers. It is not embedded since I do not rate the need highly enough. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osIQjf0XHYU
Read the article for yourself. It may impress on you a rather different view than you may be building. Incidentally, English is not the author’s first language, perhaps not even his second, so I am begging on his behalf your excusal for the occasional error you may detect.
I may return here to expand my comments on the above here, depending on how much I ramble further on. If you are still reading this paragraph then it means I have chosen not to do that.
The other article I wish to feature, which really merits a post of its own but, you know, my time is limited, is by Andrei Martyanov on his own blog. It really is a very pertinent and important history lesson, and one that must not slip into the ‘file and forget’ basket without being aired. I commend to you – ‘Irina Alksnis Beat Me To It.’ – Reminiscence of the Future… blog – published August 15 – i.e. as it was happening.
…combined West failed as a civilization and is spiraling into the military and, by definition, geopolitical second league if not irrelevance with an astonishing speed.
…mark today’s date as the official end of US self-proclaimed hegemony.Andrei Martyanov – see link above
Martyanov also shines a light on another important event coming from the weekend 15/16 August, 2021. Overshadowed by these other events, it may have escapes everyone’s attention that Iran has been approved for full membership of the increasingly influential Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Up to now Iran has been an observer state to the SCO. Here is the Indian (also in SCO, as is Pakistan) announcement to which Martyanov refers – ‘Russia, China circle the wagons. Iran is in it.’ – Indian Punchline
But wait, there’s more… There is no time to sit watching the Western sunset, the Great Eurasian Continent must gather its wits and in union forge a way ahead without the encumbrance of a self-inflicted and fatally wounded west.
And as Martyanov says in another recent post…
“In the end, present West is not even worth saving.”Martyanov – OK, I Might As Well Say It.
Andrei Martyanov includes a short video in the quoted post which illustrates how closely Russian and Chinese military are working and training together in recent times – a huge joint exercise has I think just concluded – and this now strong alliance presents a formidable counter to anything the west may cobble together to oppose it. His recent blog posts also contain other videos which strengthen that view. There is little reason to doubt that Russia and China are on top of the global military situation in 2021 and henceforward will never be matched, should the west foolishly act to test that. I see no reason to believe that these two top military nations will ever take advantage of their hard earned position. They are not Americans.
And finally, there is a point of difference between my views and those of Andrei Martyanov. Of course I see things from a distance, which may or may not grant a certain increased objectivity, offset of course by his more personal knowledge of regional matters. I think it worth mentioning in any case. Let me explain.
Zamir Awan, whose views I first shared, finds plenty to rejoice about, as I also do, in the Taliban victory, seeing it first and foremost (which must be unusual for a westerner, which I undoubtedly am by birth) as a liberation from oppression and a valuable lesson for the west – which they are probably incapable of learning.
Andrei Martyanov finds no place for joy in this situation, which is a position I can understand if not personally fully hold – at least not to the extent of feeling that he obviously does. A Martyanov quote will form the setting and lead us forward…
Actually, first a translated passage he quotes from the Ria Novosti article penned in Russian by Irina Alksnis…
Translation:Of course, understanding who comes to the place of the Americans and the dire consequences that are associated with this plays a role here. Despite the promise of the Taliban not to repress those who served the previous government, and their statement to soften the position on the place of women in society, there is no doubt that Afghanistan will face reprisals and executions. And the fate of Afghan women is still not to be envied. The archaic defeated modern civilization – and no matter how you relate to the West, it is impossible to rejoice at this fact. However, the point is not only in the harsh and bloody Afghan realities and not in sympathy for the citizens of the unfortunate country returning to the remote Middle Ages. Sunday’s events were also so overwhelming because they gave the world a very clear idea of what the ultimate collapse of US global hegemony could be – and is likely to be.‘Shock and horror: the world saw its destiny in Afghanistan’ – Irina Alksnis for Ria Novosti
Martyanov agrees and further states, comparing the weekend’s events with the 1989 routing of US forces from Vietnam…
[Correction: Of course the ‘1989’ mentioned above should read ‘1975’. I acknowledge my error. ‘1989’ was, as you may have guessed, an entirely different and much more organised exit from Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. If you are not familiar, read about it. That is the way an intervening nation should respectfully remove its forces from another country, i.e. by leaving a working and lasting government behind. ‘Bravo’ the Soviets.]
Unlike with post-Vietnam syndrome, however, US loss in Afghanistan is not to capable and supported by other superpower fairly advanced Vietnamese military and Vietnamese people, the United States lost to a primitive force driven by the most retrograde ideology which stands against everything most of the world recognizes as essential for its existence. Meanwhile American idiots, a euphemism for US “journos” and media still discuss percentages and a political psychobabble which in the US, for some reason, is called “strategy”.
…those who feel like it–mark today’s date as the official end of US self-proclaimed hegemony. We will discuss consequences of this clusterfuck later. I am not celebrating because I know what is coming.Andrei Martyanov Blog
Granted, he knows very much more of what is coming than I do – and I eagerly await his future writing – but maybe he is a little too close to the story to see what I see from a broader perspective. Bear in mind that what I or anyone says about the future can only be conjecture. Informed conjecture perhaps, but still conjecture – until reality makes or breaks the mold at the appropriate time.
Granted also, that there is some truth apparent in all of these thoughts. It can be taken as read that “…the point is not only in the harsh and bloody Afghan realities and not in sympathy for the citizens of the unfortunate country returning to the remote Middle Ages.” (Alksis’ words) and “…the United States lost to a primitive force driven by the most retrograde ideology which stands against everything most of the world recognizes as essential for its existence.” (Martyanov).
I do not argue with the notion that Afghanistan will now most likely – it is not inevitable – there are signs that Taliban leadership has become more enlightened and, can it be said, ‘westernised’ over the past 20 years – be now consigned to a “remote Middle Ages” existence under a “primitive force driven by the most retrograde ideology”. And even if they are so consigned, I personally hold very strongly to the concept that as a result of other forces and moves – whether by man or nature – we all will be consigned in relatively short order to a similarly retrograde situation ourselves. Perhaps not to a ‘remote Middle Ages’ but certainly to some form of pre-industrial age of low-tech technology. A move ultimately necessitated by forces outside of our control and against which we have no influence. And a move which is ultimately not based on some retrograde ideology, or any human scheming whatsoever. I talk of course of the Earth’s rejection of the pestilence of humanity. To planet Earth, and its remaining biosphere, we are all Americans – and one way or another, we will all be similarly routed and, also like the Americans, rendered ‘irrelevant’.
This puts us all in the same boat. At least those who make it that far. And that may not be very many. So it doesn’t really seem unduly important whether the near-term future of Afghans is more or less comfortable than it presently may be – from a western perspective.