Will Anyone Notice If NATO Stays In Afghanistan Forever?

/ Friday, November 19, 2010 /
As the NATO member nations make their way to Lisbon for the big meet-up this weekend that will tell the world where the war in Afghanistan is headed and how 2014 is now the date that the war will end, there are signs that suggest that is utter bullshit. Here's the first paragraph from the Globe and Mail on the get-together:
The meeting, which begins Friday, will bring together the 28 countries that are members of the alliance to define the threats it faces in the future, discuss the possibility of a shared missile defence shield and restart talks on security co-operation with Russia after a two-year freeze.
The threats the alliance faces? The possibility their citizens will notice the whole exercise is a sham and they are just kicking the can down the road -- stalling. This could cost them votes in upcoming elections. Serious threats indeed! The possibility of a missile defense shield? To forestall threats from whom? Certainly not from Iran because that would be suicidal so maybe from... the US? Because if they can't sell their armaments then they'll surely go bankrupt seeing as how it's the only thing they know how to do anymore. And if no one buys their arms the Americans won't be able to spend and consume with their accustomed zeal and that will surely threaten the world's economic outlook.

As for relations with Russia, how bad are they when the NATO allies are already allowed to run important supply routes through Russia to aid their efforts in the Afghanistan war/occupation, and they have Russian cooperation on Iran sanctions? There is also the new START treaty that Russia was willing to sign on to with the US even though many Republicans are now balking so as to deny Obama a victory on the world stage at the expense of their own security. So discussions about relations with Russia should be taking place back in the US and not in Lisbon... it would seem.

Now supposedly General Petreus will ...provide an overview of the situation on the ground and on plans to cede responsibility over the next four years to Afghan security forces, province by province and possibly district by district, with the goal of completing the transfer by the end 2014. That makes it sound like the war will finally be ended then by 2014 after what will be, by then, only 13 years of war and occupation.

Unhappy signs abound however. Karzai and Petreus are feuding rather publicly over Afghan corruption and the lack of access Karzai has to the reconstruction money which he says fuels the corruption. Karzai has angered Petreus by calling for an end to night raids and other combat operations by American-led forces in his country and Petreus sees these comments as a direct challenge to his counter-insurgency strategy.

Alain Juppé, the newly appointed French Defence Minister said yesterday that,“Afghanistan is a trap for all the contingents that are there.” Who would have thought the graveyard of empires could turn into a trap?

NATO’s top civilian representative, Mark Sedwill said, “There might still be one or two parts of the country where the transition process is ongoing and that might last into 2015 or beyond.” He also cautioned that pacifying some areas and getting stable local governments in place could take longer. I'm sure we're all surprised to read that.

Finally, maybe Australia knows something the world's media would like to ignore -- they've signed on for 10 more years in Afghanistan. Now why is that?



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