Connect with us
taliban afghanistan taliban afghanistan

Americas

Afghan Deja Vu?

Published

on

As the date of complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan nears, more and more often we hear comments in which this withdrawal is compared with (literally) the escape of US military forces from the South Vietnam in the seventies of the last century . Even more, as the Taliban, who were the main objective of NATO (and in fact the US) military intervention in Afghanistan are rapidly taking control of all major parts of the country, including the border crossings to several neighboring countries, for example Iran. Washington, as could have been expected, rejects such comparisons, although they are very founded and although it is almost certain that the Taliban will gain control over the whole country after the withdrawal is completed. Just as the communist forces from North Vietnam once took over the south, thus uniting the country in today’s Vietnam.

Both in Afghanistan, and in Vietnam the withdrawal of foreign troops was preceded by a yearlong war in which, according to some estimates, more than seventy thousand Afghans and Pakistani were killed, leading to a situation in which today almost 50% of the population of Afghanistan is just surviving below the poverty line. In Vietnam everyone in the south who have in any way cooperated with the Americans, suffered, if nothing else than being sent for a long-term “re-education” in special camps . In Afghanistan, those who have cooperated with NATO forces, if only as translators, openly fear for their lives in the country under the rule of the Taliban. In the south of Vietnam, hundreds of people floated for weeks on small boats along the coast, in the vain hope that they will be picked up by their American friends, whose warships will suddenly appear on the horizon. They didn’t come.

In Afghanistan, having in mind the example of South Vietnam, people who have worked with foreign forces have no illusions. Thus a wave of refugees towards neighboring already started, and there is no doubt that this wave will reach Europe as well. The war lasted for twenty years and, the longest war the US waged in its short history. And although President Joe Biden successfully avoids triumphant phrases a typical for George Bush junior, such as: “Mission accomplished,” even his milder variant: “Goals achieved” does not corresponds to the truth.

If the goal was to fight against terrorism and Al Qaeda, then the target was reached in liquidating Bin Laden and breaking up of this organization, meaning that the time for withdrawal from Afghanistan was during the Obama mandate, when Biden was vice president. If, however, the goal was to destroy the Taliban, then the war in Afghanistan, is a total US failure (it would be wrong to say that Americans are the losers, because the biggest loser the people of Afghanistan). And a failure it was. Not only because the eradication of the Taliban failed, but primarily because the Taliban are “American offsprings” (just like Bin Laden), summoned to life and supported both financially and militarily, only to hamper Soviet troops after their intervention in Afghanistan (1979), with the clear aspiration to turn Afghanistan in some sort of “Soviet Vietnam”. Yes, the Soviets did militarily intervene after they estimated that the government of the nonaligned Afghanistan could become close to the  West. After ten years of fighting they understood that this attempt has no perspective and retreated – organized with a commander-general who was the last to cross the bridge at the border at the rear of his troops (unlike the Americans who escaped by helicopters from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon and now left Bagram, their largest air base in Afghanistan under cover of night (although they claim to have informed the military forces of the Afghan government  which, given the situation on the ground, would be more correct to call the Kabul government, or the government in Kabul .

 It is also not true what President Biden claims when he says that the purpose of the American intervention in Afghanistan was not “nation building”. Because a profound reform of the Afghan society was something that was considered to be one of the key tasks of NATO forces, since the Taliban pushed the country back to the Middle Ages (which will probably do again now). At the same time, it is forgotten that Afghanistan until the overthrow of King Mohammed Zahir Shah was a relatively advanced Asian country, with this “advanced” referring primarily to the position of women in society and the education system. “The inclusion of women in social life, schooling of girls is emphasized as a major success of intervention by foreign forces, as if this never existed before in a country that gave a birth to the ‘Prince of Physicians’ Ibn Sina/Avicenna” – reminds us notable Afghan scholar, prof. Djawed Sangdel. And indeed, it seems as if those forces that have emerged under American greatcoats did not destroyed such Afghanistan. Today, the country is literally devastated by twenty years of war, and the only result of those twenty years, the only thing that has progressed, is the cultivation of poppies, that is, the smuggling of opium. This author remembers well the conversation of the then Croatian president, Stjepan Mesić with his Afghan counterpart Karzai in which Karzai complained that the Americans are putting him under pressure to destroy poppies farms, arguing that he neither can nor will do this, because in this case half of the country would starve, being stripped of this source of income.

 And one more question arises, when we try to analyze the implications of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The intervention in this country which took place soon after the famous attacks on the New York “twins” was conceived as intervention of the Atlantic Pact. And nominally it was. But if one views things, as they really are, it must be admitted that NATO (in this case too) acted as an extended arm of US policy; just as now, as soon as the United States announced its decision to withdraw its troops, and NATO hastily brought the decision to withdraw troops from their member countries too. Pointing up this fact, and it is a fact, that cannot be blurred by any rhetorical figure, we want to say that the member states of NATO, should wisely think twice (at least now, if they have not done this so far), what is the purpose of NATO, precisely what is the purpose of NATO, if it is acting as Washington’s puppet on the string. 

We have also in mind the “enthusiastic” sending of troops to the border with Russia, in order to prepare Europe for defense against “Russian aggression”. To whom and what goal serves such a NATO, to whom and to what goal does serve the policy of violent overthrow and / or establishment of regimes in other countries, to whom and to what goal does serve the policy of imposing certain social (and economic) framework to countries that want to go their own way, to whom and to what goal does serve the continuation of the anti-Russian hysteria, especially after Biden – Putin summit, which was supposed to open, or at least ajar new chapter in relations between the two countries?

As for Afghanistan – to come back to the beginning of the story – Biden’s statement that it is “not necessarily inevitable” that Afghanistan will be conquered by the Taliban after the US (NATO) withdrawal, it is simply hypocritical. It won’t be long before reality denies it. But. The US are not giving up their efforts to be present in Afghanistan in the future too. Washington tries “to hire” some allies in the region to take a role in attempt to keep the government in Kabul alive. The term “proxy wars” is nothing new!

To summarize: in Afghanistan, the world will follow a kind of reprise of what happened in Vietnam in the past, so the phrase “already seen” (déjà vu) makes a lot of sense. And secondly, no less important, the United States loses its credibility with such moves, in other words, those who are American allies should consider the price of such a “partnership”, that is, how much it pays off. And if it pays off at all.

Americas

Friction Between United States & Iran: The Tension and Its Impact

Avatar photo

Published

on

Background Study

The relationship between the United States (US) and Iran has a long and complex history. In the early 20th century, the United States (US) played a key role in the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government and the installation of a pro-Western monarchy under the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. This led to a deep mistrust of the United States by many Iranians. In the 1970s, the Shah’s regime was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution, led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The new Islamic Republic of Iran was deeply anti-American and took 52 American hostages in the US embassy in Tehran. The hostage crisis lasted for 444 days and severely damaged US-Iran relations. In the following decades, the US has had a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation towards Iran, citing its support for terrorism and pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran has also been known to support groups like Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are designated as terrorist groups by the US.

In recent years, there have been some attempts at improving relations between the two countries. The Obama Administration negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015, which lifted some sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear program. However, the Trump Administration withdrew from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. Currently, the US and Iran are in a situation of high tension, with both sides engaging in a series of hostile actions against each other, such as the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad by a US drone in 2020. The US has continued to put sanctions on Iran and labelled several Iranian organisations as terrorist organisations. In summary, the relationship between the United States and Iran has been characterized by a long history of mistrust, hostility and mutual accusations, with both sides engaging in actions that have escalated the tensions between them.

The Tension:

There are several accusations and actions that have contributed to the high tension conflict between the United States and Iran.

From the perspective of the United States, the main accusations against Iran include:

Supporting terrorism: The US government has long accused Iran of providing financial and military support to groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, which the US has designated as terrorist organizations.

Pursuit of nuclear weapons: The US has accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, despite Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Human rights abuses: The US has also accused Iran of widespread human rights abuses, including the repression of political dissidents and minorities, and the use of torture and execution.

Threat to regional stability: The US has accused Iran of destabilizing the Middle East through its support for groups like the Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Assad regime in Syria.

From the perspective of Iran, the main accusations against the United States include: –

Interference in Iranian internal affairs: Iran has long accused the United States of attempting to overthrow its government and interfere in its internal affairs.

Supporting Iran’s enemies: Iran has accused the United States of supporting its regional rivals, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, and of providing military and financial support to groups that seek to overthrow the Iranian government.

Violation of human rights: Iran has also accused the US of violating human rights, pointing to actions such as the use of drone strikes and the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Economic sanctions: Iran has accused the US of imposing economic sanctions on Iran, which it claims have caused significant harm to its economy and people.

In terms of actions that have escalated tensions, from the US side:

  • The killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad by a US drone in 2020.
  • The US has continued to put sanctions on Iran and labelled several Iranian organisations as terrorist organisations.
  • Increasing military presence in the Gulf region.

From the Iranian side:

  • Continuing to develop its nuclear program, in spite of the US sanctions.
  • Seizing of foreign oil tankers and ships.
  • Attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia that were blamed on Iran.
  • Shooting down of a US drone in 2019

It’s worth noting that the situation is complex and multifaceted and both sides have taken actions that have escalated the tensions between them.

Its Impact.

The tension between the United States and Iran has had a significant impact on the international community. It has led to increased instability and uncertainty in the Middle East, with both sides engaging in actions that have the potential to escalate into a larger conflict. This can disrupt the oil supplies and lead to an economic crisis. The tension has also had an impact on the security of other countries in the region, as many of them are allied with the United States or Iran and could be caught in the middle of any potential conflict. This has also affected global oil prices due to the potential disruption of supplies from the Middle East. This has also had an impact on the ongoing negotiations and agreements between other countries and Iran, such as the Nuclear Deal. The US withdrawal from the deal and imposition of sanctions has affected other countries’ ability to do business with Iran and has also affected the ongoing negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

Moreover, many countries have had to navigate the delicate balance between maintaining good relations with both the United States and Iran, as both countries are major powers with significant economic and military influence. This has led to some countries, particularly those in the Middle East, to align more closely with one side or the other, potentially damaging their relationships with the other. Secondly, the tension between the US and Iran has also affected the ability of countries to engage in business and trade with Iran, as the US has imposed economic sanctions on Iran. This has led to some countries to scale back their trade and investment with Iran, or to find ways to circumvent the sanctions. Thirdly, the tension has also affected the efforts of countries to mediate and resolve the conflict. Many countries have tried to act as intermediaries to de-escalate the tensions and find a peaceful resolution, but the deep mistrust and hostility between the US and Iran have made this a difficult task. Fourthly, the tension has also affected the security of other countries in the region, as many of them are allied with the United States or Iran, and they could be caught in the middle of any potential conflict.

Overall, the tension between the United States and Iran has had a significant impact on the formulation of foreign policies in the international borders, as many countries have had to navigate the delicate balance between maintaining good relations with both countries, while also addressing the economic stability and security implications of the tension.

Conclusion.

The tension between the United States and Iran is a complex and longstanding issue, and there is no easy solution to melting down the tension. However, some steps that could potentially help to alleviate the tension include:

Diplomatic negotiations: Direct talks between the United States and Iran could be an important step in resolving the tension, provided that both sides are willing to come to the table with open minds and a willingness to compromise.

Support from the international community: Other countries could play a role in mediating talks between the United States and Iran and in putting pressure on both sides to de-escalate the tension. The support of other countries in the region would be particularly important.

Lifting of economic sanctions: The lifting of economic sanctions on Iran could help to improve the country’s economy and reduce the impact of the sanctions on the Iranian people, which may reduce some of the hostility towards the United States.

Addressing mutual concerns: The United States and Iran have many concerns about each other’s actions, such as human rights abuses, support for terrorism, and destabilizing activities in the Middle East. Addressing these concerns in a direct and honest way could help to build trust between the two countries.

De-escalation of military activities: Both sides should avoid any action that could escalate the situation into a military conflict.

Evidently, these steps would likely be difficult to achieve, but they could help to reduce the tension between the United States and Iran, and provide some relief to the international community.

Continue Reading

Americas

The World is Entering A Period of Transformation: Can the West lose?

Avatar photo

Published

on

The world is witnessing a complex mix of escalating tensions, in the context of which some see that the US’s grip is beginning to loosen, and its hegemony and influence over the international system has begun to disintegrate. The shifting world order is giving way to a diverse mix of protectionist nationalism, spheres of influence and regional projects of the major powers. It cannot be denied that there is a deeper crisis, linked to liberal internationalism itself, and to get rid of the deeply dysfunctional characteristics of the global economic and social system, policy makers and those in control of the fate of the planet need to rediscover the principles and practices of statecraft, and collective action against the tendency towards chaos and the destruction of human structures. Likewise, the multilateral global institutions of the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund and below need to be reformed to reflect this new global reality.

With one of the permanent members of the Security Council violating international law, and the principle of not changing borders by force, which is the case that the US and its allies have been doing for decades as well, the United Nations with all its structures remains mostly marginalized. Meanwhile, dealing with Ukraine as part of the East-West confrontation would spoil for decades any prospect of bringing Russia and the West in general, and Russia and Europe in particular, into a cooperative international order. And if Ukraine is to live and prosper, it should not be the outpost of either side, east or west, against the other, but should, as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger estimated, act as a bridge between them. Russia must accept that trying to force Ukraine into dependence, and thus move Russia’s borders once again, would condemn Moscow to repeating its history of self-driving cycles of mutual pressure with Europe and the US. The West must also realize that for Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign state. A geopolitical dynamic, in the context of which the Biden administration seems keen to restore the reputation of the US, and restore its image, after four years spent under the rule of former US President Donald Trump. It wants to clearly distinguish between the behavior and values of the US on the one hand, and the behavior and values of its opponents such as China and Russia on the other.

In the process, Washington wants to re-establish itself as the linchpin of a rules-based international order, but the it, torn internally, will become less willing and able to lead the international stage. It will be difficult to restore its image in the Middle East, especially. For a long time, unquestioned the US support for Israel has allowed it to pursue policies that have repeatedly backfired and put its long-term future in even greater doubt. At the forefront of these policies is the settlement project itself, and the absolutely undisguised desire to create a “Greater Israel” that includes the West Bank, confining the Palestinians to an archipelago of enclaves isolated from each other, the familiar clichés related to the two-state solution, and “Israel’s right to defend itself.” It loses its magical incantatory power with the rise to power of the fascist far right. The US, which considers itself a mediator in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, is still offering the Palestinians empty rhetoric about their right to live in freedom and security, while supporting the two-state solution. It’s claim to a morally superior position seems blunt, tinged with hypocrisy in Stephen Walt’s words. And if the US had normal relations with Israel, the latter would receive the attention it deserved, nothing more.

Chomsky, who seems keen to criticize neoliberal democracy, and wants to rid democracy of the power of money and class inequalities, which cause the success of populism. He sees that there are people who are angry, and dissatisfied with the existing institutions, which constitutes, for the demagogues, a fertile ground for inciting people’s anger towards the scapegoats, who are usually from the weak groups, such as European Muslim immigrants or African Americans and others, but at the same time, it leads to a kind of popular reaction that seeks to overcome these crises. There are many uprisings against oppressive regimes, and most of them are due to the impact of neoliberal programs over the last generation. Almost everywhere, in the US and Europe, for example, the rate of concentration of wealth, which has stagnated so great for the majority, has undermined democratic forms, just as elsewhere the structural adjustment programs in Latin America, which has produced decades of backwardness. The negative effects of globalization on the lower and middle social classes, coupled with national resentment against immigration, and a sense of loss of control over sovereignty fueled violent populist reactions against the principles and practices of the liberal order. With the intensification of the crisis due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, as well as the Iranian nuclear file and its faltering paths, Europe appears between a rock and a hard place, although in reality it does not like acts of hatred and imposing sanctions against Moscow, or against Tehran, due to the intertwining of its economic interests, but they must follow the US. As described by Chomsky. Whoever does not comply with it will be expelled from the international financial and economic system. This is not a law of nature, but rather Europe’s decision to remain subservient to the “master tutor” in Washington. The Europe and many other states do not even have a choice, and although some peoples and states have benefited from hyperglobalization, the latter has ultimately caused major economic and political problems within liberal democracies. Here Mearsheimer agrees with Chomsky that it has seriously eroded support for the liberal international order. At the same time, the economic dynamism that came with excessive globalization helped China quickly transform into a superpower, as it rearranged itself in a way close to or superior to other major powers, and this shift in the global balance of power put an end to unipolarity, which it is a precondition for a rules-based liberal world order.

When Mikhail Gorbachev presented his vision for managing the post-Cold War era, he proposed what was then called the Common House of Europe. This was one of the options for a unified Europe and Asia region extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok without any military alliances. Today, the world is witnessing a revival of some of the worst aspects of traditional geopolitics. The wars of the major powers in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region, with the increase in Israel’s extremist and racist policies, and the possibility of Iran causing instability in the Middle East, have combined to produce the most dangerous moment since World War II. As great power competition, imperial ambitions, and conflicts over resources intensify, the stakes are how to manage the collision of old geopolitics and new challenges. It is inconceivable that there is a state that represents the backyard of any other state, and this applies to Europe as much as it applies to US, Asia and every other region in the world.

Continue Reading

Americas

Brief Review of Wilson’s Study of Administration

Published

on

Public Administration is an action part of the government responsible for policy formulation and implementation. It can be defined broadly as a part of government activity and academic discipline. This field emerged from the mother discipline, Political Science. 

The root of public administration emerged from The Study of Administration, an article by Woodrow Wilson that appeared in Political Science Quarterly in 1887 and is credited with establishing the foundation of public administration. This is the beginning of public administration. This first paradigm is known as the Public-Administration Dichotomy with many facets. Political-administrative dichotomy, which serves as the theoretical foundation of public administration, has a profound historical basis but continues to spark heated debates and disputes.

Administration, according to Wilson, falls outside the proper realm of politics. Frank J. Goodnow asserts that although the administration “has to do with carrying out these policies,” politics “has to do with the manifestation of the national will.” Shortly said, Goodnow advanced the Wilsonian theme with more daring and passion and proposed the politics-administration dichotomy.

Wilson’s article is primarily concerned with the United States of America, although its arguments can be applied wherever in the world. He discusses three broad subjects in this essay, all of which relate to public administration as a science that must be examined. To begin, a brief history of the study of public administration is provided. Second, there is the subject matter, or, more precisely, what really is public administration. Finally, he strives to determine the most effective strategies for developing public administration as a science and helpful tool within the framework of the United States of America’s democracy.

The science of administration is the ultimate fruit of the study of politics that began around 2200 years ago. The administration is the executive, functional, and most noticeable side of government and is as old as the government itself. Wilson says, until the twentieth century, no one wrote about administration as a science of governance. Administering a constitution is getting tougher than formulating one. He compares the old and contemporary public administration. Nations like Prussia (Germany) and France, who set an example of first regarding themselves as servants of the people and then creating a constitution with organized government offices, easily incorporated administrative science in their administration. Wilson claims that democracy is more difficult to govern than monarchy. Monarchies ruled by a few men made decisions easy. But in a democracy, the people decide. A monarchy may easily reform, but not a democracy. 

For instance, to amend a constitutional mandate in Bangladesh, It is necessary to have the backing of a majority equal to or greater than two-thirds of the total number of parliament members. Ziaur Rahman, the president of Bangladesh, declared in 1978 that a referendum was necessary in addition to 2/3 of the vote in order to modify certain articles. By contrast, it is difficult and time-consuming to amend the constitution USA. Two-thirds of both chambers of Congress must approve a proposed constitutional amendment before it can be adopted by three-fourths of the state legislatures.

Wilson distinguishes administration from politics in his article, despite its ideas being integrally linked to politics. Unlike earlier reformers, Wilson believes that administration should be separate from politics and should not be manipulated. Public Administration is a detailed and systematic way of public law, and every application of general law as an act of administration, in his view. He contends that public opinion holds officials for being accountable, which is a part of the modern philosophy of Democracy.  Compelling technical education and rigorous civil service examinations are required to qualify officials for the responsibility challenges. 

Wilson discusses the development methods of the study. The government must find measures to reduce the enormous administrative burden. A comparative administration distinguishes democratic values from non-democratic ones. For example, in Syria, Bashar Al Assad practised autocracy for a long time which is different from democracy in the USA. A strong political system is essential to run the government. The method’s application While the American administration has a European legacy, Wilson contends that it must establish its own path via comparative research. 

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Southeast Asia28 mins ago

Towards an Integrated Southeast Asia: Timor-Leste’s Challenges and Opportunities in Joining ASEAN

Authors: Jalaluddin Rizqi Mulia and Silvia Jultikasari Febrian* Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN for short, is an organization...

Eastern Europe4 hours ago

China Still Ambivalent About the Middle Corridor

Despite the oft-touted momentum behind the Eurasian Middle Corridor circumventing Russia, China still appears not to be fully behind the...

Finance7 hours ago

European farms mix things up to guard against food-supply shocks

By ETHAN BILBY ‘Items in this section have limited availability due to supplier production issues,’ ‘Sorry, temporarily out of stock’ and...

Finance9 hours ago

Astana hosts 18th Iran-Kazakhstan Joint Economic Committee meeting

The 18th meeting of Iran-Kazakhstan Joint Economic Committee meeting was held on Thursday in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, at the end...

World News11 hours ago

The importance of Iran’s membership in the SCO

The members of Majlis (the Parliament) have approved the emergency of the plan of Iran’s commitments to achieve the position...

World News13 hours ago

Sabah: ‘The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine’

The US is repeating the same mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now – in Ukraine. So it...

South Asia15 hours ago

Saudi-Chinese Friendship: Should India be Concerned?

Saudi Arabia hosted the grand China-Arab summit in December last year and leaders of the two nations deliberated on future...

Trending