Syria and Afghanistan: US Uses One Pattern for Both
Nikolai BOBKIN | 27.09.2015 | OPINION

Syria and Afghanistan: US Uses One Pattern for Both

The 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly was convened on September 15 in New York. It is expected to have one of the richest agend as in the history of the UN.

The high-level meetings with the participation of heads of states, government leaders and foreign ministers (annual general debate) will take place from September 28 till October 3. It will bring together around 90 heads of states, including Russian President Vladimir Putin on his first visit to the United States since 2007. Putin’s address is scheduled for September 28. According to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press secretary, the President will focus on Syria and the fight against Islamic States terrorists.

The Washington Post predicts that the Russian leader may announce his country’s readiness to play the leading role in a new anti-Islamic State coalition. According to the newspaper, Putin wants «to assert Russia’s influence in the Middle East and make it the dominant outside power. Putin’s highest ambition is to avenge and reverse Russia’s humiliating loss of superpower status a quarter-century ago. Understanding this does not come easily to an American president who for seven years has been assiduously curating America’s decline abroad».

Other US media outlets display similar mood. They push Obama into a confrontation with Moscow and incite anti-Russia hysteria in the United States. They speculate about the Russia’s past. There are many signs indicating that another propaganda war has been unleashed against Moscow. As usually, reality is falsified and the real role played by the United States is hushed up. Those who instigate tensions are afraid of constructive proposals to be made by the Russian President. 

Europe is threatened by asylum seekers crisis. Europeans feel guilt and fear. They don’t know what to do about it. Moscow believes the civil war in Syria should be stopped to make refugees come back to the places of their residence. The hostilities have already affected at least ten million people: four million Syrians have left the country to escape the horrors of war; six million have relocated internally. Moscow is looking for a consolidated solution to the crisis in Syria. Forbes believes that Russia is facing the threat of «new Afghanistan».

If we are to speak about Afghanistan today, we have to agree that the foreign policy implemented by the United States and its West European allies has been disastrous. 14 years ago (October 2001) the United States invaded Afghanistan to change the world. The so-called «Global War on Terrorism» – provoked by the United States and supported by NATO – has spread on Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, Sudan and Pakistan to result in huge losses among civilians and millions of displaced persons. People move as a result of wars unleashed by America and its allies. They run from unemployment, hunger and gangs of sundry extremists filling the vacuum of power. It’s wrong to say the problem of refugees is purely a European headache. It should be viewed as the most burning problem of the contemporary world and has to be addressed on a global scale.

The United Nations cannot ignore the fact that more and more people lose their lives as they try to migrate to Europe. According tothe UN Refugee Agency, the number of human smugglers’ victims grew up to over 2500 in January-August, 2015. Washington keeps silent. The United States suffered fewer casualties in Afghanistan since the day Operation Enduring Freedom was launched. It lost 2340 servicemen during the fourteen years of combat actions. These people also have died in vain. Why does not Forbes take up the issue? 

Washington is still hiding the truth about the situation in Afghanistan while refugees are leaving the country in growing numbers. The embassies of many states in Kabul daily receive thousands of Afghans asking for transit visas to go to other countries. Mostly they cross the territory of Iran to get to Turkey. Then they are transported by smugglers to Greece. In Afghanistan the problem of asylum seekers tops the agenda along with economy and security. 

According to the findings of the UN World Food Program and affiliated organizations, the number of Afghans suffering from severe food shortages has increased from 4.7% to 5.9% of total population or more than 1.5 million. 7.3 million are on the verge of starvation with about half of Afghan population living below the poverty threshold. The United States government does not show concern over their plight. Europe keeps silent, though all those 14 years NATO allies fought side by side with Americans. Has this intervention helped Kabul?

According to Congressional Research Service, the operation in Afghanistan totaled $700 billion. The US government allocated over $110 billion for economic aid to Afghanistan during the war. Besides, the United States exerts pressure on many other countries to make them assist Afghanistan. International organizations make their contributions. All in all, this additional aid is measured in dozens of billions. No matter that, the living standards in Afghanistan are among the lowest in the world. Americans admit that more than half of the funds allocated for assistance have been embezzled by Afghan authorities. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal said corruption was an enemy as dangerous and ruthless as the Taliban. 

This is a direct result of the US foreign policy. Ignoring common sense and real correlation of forces in Afghanistan, the United States tried to impose on Kabul a «democratically elected government». In every country Americans want to see at the helm only those who suit them best. All other matters are of secondary importance, however unacceptable. For instance, in Syria they are ready to topple Assad, who has fallen out of favor with the United States, to make terrorist organizations come to power.

The White House adheres to these principles everywhere, be it Syria or Afghanistan, Nigeria or Ukraine. The US democracy rejects moral standards in international relations. No wonder, the United States was unable to effectively fight corruption in Afghanistan, despite huge financial losses going down the drain. Washington is not going to do it now when the country is ruled by the new «US-approved» President Ashraf Ghani. 

Some time ago a corruption case was revealed. Top officials of Afghan Ministry of Defense were involved in a scheme to get money out of the country. They misappropriated $1 billion from the army budget. Small wonder Afghan security forces have failed to guarantee peace. The security situation remains unstable. The war continues and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Americans realize this is an impasse. They appear to be ready to withdraw from the country leaving it alone to face the problems accumulated during the recent dozen of years. In some areas, life in Afghanistan has become even worse than it had been before the US invasion. 

For instance, with the Taliban gone, there has been no fight against drug trafficking. Afghanistan produces 85% of world opiates and 77% of heroin. Growing and processing opiates has become the main branch of Afghan economy. The opium economy accounts for 13% of national GDP. These are the results of US assistance: the war goes on, the country is in ruins, and the population is as poor as in the days of Taliban rule.

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