One of the early indicators that the Trump administration’s foreign and security policies would not be guided by the President’s own preferences but by those of the supposed “experts” – globalists, neoconservatives, and assorted retreads from the George W. Bush administration – with whom he unwisely has surrounded himself was the announcement of a “new” strategy on Afghanistan in August 2017. It was neither new nor a strategy. President Donald Trump allowed his publicly stated preference to get the hell out to be overruled by the guys with the short haircuts who want to stay in Afghanistan, in effect, forever.
But why? What possible national interest could be advanced from a permanent American military presence in a godforsaken piece of real estate about as remote from the United States as it is possible to get while staying on this planet?
One answer was suggested by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (US Army-Ret.), former chief of staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, at the August 18, 2018, conference of the Ron Paul Institute. Wilkerson’s description of the subjective thinking of the US military has the ring of truth (presented here in authentic Pentagonese BLOCK LETTERS, emphasis added in bold):
‘HERE IS WHAT THE MOST POWERFUL AND MOST STRATEGICALLY-ORIENTED BUREAUCRACY IN OUR GOVERNMENT, THE MILITARY, HAS DECIDED FOR AFGHANISTAN.
‘THERE ARE THREE STRATEGIC REASONS WE WILL BE IN AFGHANISTAN, AS WE HAVE BEEN IN GERMANY SINCE WWII, FOR A VERY LONG TIME—WELL BEYOND THE ALMOST TWENTY YEARS WE HAVE BEEN THERE TO DATE.
‘THESE REASONS HAVE LITTLE TO DO WITH STATE-BUILDING, WITH THE TALIBAN, OR WITH ANY TERRORIST GROUP THAT MIGHT BE PRESENT. THESE THINGS ARE ANCILLARY TO OUR REAL OBJECTIVES.
‘THE FIRST REAL OBJECTIVE IS TO HAVE HARD POWER DIRECTLY NEAR THE CHINESE BASE ROAD INITIATIVE (BRI) IN CENTRAL ASIA.
‘ASK DONALD RUMSFELD HOW DIFFICULT IT WAS TO GET MAJOR MILITARY FORCES INTO THIS EXTRAORDINARILY DIFFICULT LAND-LOCKED TERRAIN IN THE FALL OF 2001. FOR THAT REASON, WE ARE NOT ABOUT TO DEPART.
‘SECOND, IN AFGHANISTAN WE ARE RIGHT NEXT TO THE POTENTIALLY MOST UNSTABLE NUCLEAR STOCKPILE ON EARTH, PAKISTAN’S. WE ARE NOT ABOUT TO LEAVE THAT EITHER. WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO POUNCE ON THAT STOCKPILE VERY SWIFTLY SHOULD IT BECOME A THREAT.
‘THIRD, WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO MOUNT AND COVER WITH HARDPOWER CIA OPERATIONS IN XINJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA’S WESTERNMOST SECTION. THESE WOULD BE OPERATIONS AIMED AT USING THE SOME 20 MILLION UIGHURS IN THAT PROVINCE TO DESTABLIZE THE GOVERNMENT IN BEIJING SHOULD WE SUDDENLY FIND OURSELVES AT WAR WITH THAT COUNTRY.
‘I WILL WAGER THERE ARE NOT A HANDFUL OF OUR CITIZENS WHO REALIZE THAT WE—OUR MILITARY, THAT IS—PLAN TO BE IN AFGHANISTAN FOR THE ENTIRE TIME WE ARE CONSIDERING FOR OUR GRAND STRATEGY—AND PERHAPS BEYOND.’
We are not yet overtly at war with China, but given Beijing’s quasi-alliance with Moscow and the growing prospect of a clash between the US and Russia in Syria or Ukraine it’s not too soon to suppose the self-proclaimed “steady state” already thinks of China as an enemy, or at least as a “great power competitor” that needs to be taken down a peg. Of particular importance, as noted by Wilkerson, is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the centerpiece of a greater Eurasian partnership, a key component of China’s bid to become a military superpower as well as an economic one.
Beijing’s geographical weak link to Eurasian partnership is Xinjiang, which is BRI’s logistics hub and China’s gateway to the west towards Central Asia, Russia, and Europe. It also conveniently happens to be the home of restive Muslim ethnic Uyghurs.
In short, Xinjiang is an ideal place for the CIA (per Wilkerson) to give Beijing a hotfoot and try to throw an impediment in the way of BRI and thus of Eurasian integration.
Whenever you see western governments and the legacy media wailing about the plight of “persecuted Muslims” somewhere (in a way they never do for Christians anywhere) it should be a tipoff the boys and girls over at Langley are pushing the start button on a jihad against someone for geopolitical reasons having nothing to do with human rights, religious freedom, or other ostensible bleeding heart concerns. That appears to be what we’re seeing today in the strident chorus of alarm from Congress calling for sanctions against Chinese officials.
We’ve seen this movie before. Today we see it against China and Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (the Uyghurs, and connectedly the Rohingya in Myanmar, directed against BRI’s China-Myanmar Economic Corridor through Rakhine State on the Bay of Bengal). In the past we saw it in Afghanistan (against the USSR), in the Balkans on behalf of Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanians (against the Serbs), in the Caucasus on behalf of the Chechens (against Russia). Of course the successful overthrow and murder of the Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi and the not-yet-abandoned effort to effect regime change in Syria depend heavily on support for various al-Qaeda affiliates and offshoots.
It’s significant that in all of our post-Cold War 1 military interventions every one (except for Bill Clinton’s invasion of Haiti) was ostensibly to free or rescue some suffering Muslims – never mind that in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, etc. we somehow ended up killing large numbers of the supposed beneficiaries. Just imagine how many oppressed Muslims we would need to kill liberating Iran! Meanwhile, as we continue to support the Saudi slaughter in Yemen with a US quasi-alliance with al-Qaeda there, there’s nothing to see, folks . . .
Recognizing these crocodile tears for what they are isn’t to suggest that bad things aren’t happening in Xinjiang. But based on past experience it’s reasonable to think that behind the fog of state-sponsored media propaganda the reality is more complex and involves a substantial element of western intelligence ginning up the jihadis against the kaffir Han as we have against many other targets.
As is the case with Myanmar, where the government’s claims of actual jihad terrorism – including massacring Hindu villagers – are dismissed out of hand, China’s policy in Xinjiang is condemned without reference to the demonstrable reality of outside-supported attacks. As noted by Moon of Alabama:
‘Since the early 1990s a number of terror incidents by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) [also known as the Turkestan Islamic Party] killed several hundred people in China. ETIM is sanctioned by the UN as an al-Qaeda aligned movement. Three years ago China decided to attack the problem at its roots. It prohibited Salafist-Wahhabi Islamic practice, which was only recently imported into the traditionally Sufi Uyghur-Muslim areas, and it tries to weed out any such ideology. It also fears the potential growth of an ethnic-nationalistic Turkic Uyghur movement, sponsored by Turkey, that could evolve into a separatist campaign.
‘People who are susceptible to such ideologies will be put through an reeducation training which includes language lessons in Mandarin and general preparation for the job market. This may not be the way 'western' countries mishandle a radicalization problem, but it is likely more efficient. There surly are aspects of the program that can be criticized. But to claim that these trainings happen in "concentration camps" and for nonsensical reasons is sheer propaganda.’
‘Xinjiang province is larger than Great Britain, France, Spain, and Germany combined. It is a mostly uninhabitable landscape of mountainous and desert terrain with a tiny population of some 24 million of which only 45% are Muslim Uyghurs of Turkic ethnicity. It would be rather unimportant outer province for China were it not at the core of the new Silk road connections.
‘It is a vulnerable point. An established insurgency in the area could seriously interrupt the new strategic communication lines.
‘Chinese strategists believe that the U.S., with the help of its Turkish, Saudi and Pakistani friends, was and is behind the Islamic and ethnic radicalization of the Turkic population in the province. It is not by chance that Turkey transferred Uyghur Jihadis from Xinjiang via Thailand to Syria to hone their fighting abilities. That the New York Times publishes about the Xinjiang re-education project, and also offers the report in Mandarin, will only confirm that suspicion. China is determined to end such interference.’
The fact is that the CIA and MI6 spooks love jihadis – they’re very “operational” as well as expendable. Case in point are several thousand Chinese Uyghurs fighting with the al-Qaeda-led terrorists in Syria’s Idlib province, where China’s President Xi Jinping no doubt will help Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin ensure as many of them as possible never make it back home.
One inescapable irony is that the US and other intelligence services likely siccing their terrorist hounds on China represent governments that worship at the absurd altar of “diversity is strength,” unlike the countries they are targeting. Unashamed of their identity and culture, the Han Chinese aren’t buying it. As American nationalist Patrick Buchanan observes:
‘Consider China, which seeks this century to surpass America as the first power on earth. Does Xi Jinping welcome a greater racial, ethnic and cultural diversity within his county as, say, Barack Obama does in ours?
‘In his western province of Xinjiang, Xi has set up an archipelago of detention camps. Purpose: Re-educate his country's Uighurs and Kazakhs by purging them of their religious and tribal identities, and making them and their children more like Han Chinese in allegiance to the Communist Party and Chinese nation.
‘Xi fears that the 10 million Uighurs of Xinjiang, as an ethnic and religious minority, predominantly Muslim, wish to break away and establish an East Turkestan, a nation of their own, out of China. And he is correct.
‘What China is doing is brutalitarian. But what China is saying with its ruthless policy is that diversity—religious, racial, cultural—can break us apart as it did the USSR. And we are not going to let that happen.
‘Do the Buddhists of Myanmar cherish the religious diversity that the Muslim Rohingya of Rakhine State bring to their country?”
If Donald Trump really were master of his own house, maybe he could move forward on his pledge of an America First, national interest-based policy that finds “common ground” (as articulated at the same Ron Paul Institute conference by Colonel Doug Macgregor (US Army-Ret.)) with countries like Russia and China we continue to treat as adversaries.
But as things stand now, Trump’s nominal subordinates continue to do as they please as though someone else occupied the Oval Office. Perhaps they anticipate that will soon be the case.