Monday, November 30, 2009

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize escalates war

This Tuesday we had the chance to see another performance of the teleprompter champion: Barack Obama in his official address regarding the future of the war in Afghanistan.

As expected, 34,000 additional US troops will be deployed in Afghanistan, increasing the total amount of troups to more than 100,000 soldiers. The objectives of this surge are "to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future."

To fulfill these goals Obama has laid down three main directions:
  1. Setting a military strategy to target insurgencies and emphasizing on training afghans soldier
  2. Establishing political and economic cooperations with the afghan government in order to fight corruption and develop the economy via the agriculture
  3. strengthening partnership with Pakistan to fight terrorist strongholds in afghan-pakistani border provinces
The US President also set a troop withdrawal date (december 2011), highlighting the fact that Americans do not seek nation building in Afghanistan.

Beyond this usual "Yes We Can" rhetorics, Obama is proving again that nothing has fundamentally changed compared to the G. W. Bush administration. Despite the apparent opposition of Obama to nation building, The US is inextricably heading towards this road when insisting on how to shape the Afghan governance and its economy.
The main Neoconservative fallacy is to think that it is possible to impose a western democratic style government to any countries. The world bank reports that 75% of the afghan people live in the rural areas which tends to organize its society into autonomous ethnic tribes. The former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf mentioned, in the video below, that the Afghanistan political system used to be tied to a social contract called "Missah-ke-Milli" which united the different ethnic groups together in an independent manner.

The sovietization of Afghanistan, thirty years ago, was an attempt to establish a central authority imposing foreign values and culture to the entire territory. This experience ended with the worst military failure in the history of the USSR. It is therefore not ill-considered, as Malou Innocent and Ted Galen Carpenter from the Cato Institute described in the video below, to qualify the attempt to establish a Jeffersonian democracy in Afghanistan as over-optimistic and unrealistic.

It is consequently laughable for the advocate of "change" to apply the same recipes of his predecessor. It is even more laughable to see the former republican candidate, John McCain, supporting Obama's decision.

While the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize leaves the funding of this war in the hands of congress, it would be interesting to see how this will end knowing that the progressive wing of the democratic party as well as the libertarian wing of the conservative movement are against this policy.