Friday, December 4, 2009

Creating a Failed State: The US and Canada in Afghanistan

By John W. Warnock, 209 pages, Fernwood Publishing, ISBN 978-1-55266-2-625.

“[T]he United States is now deeply involved in World War IV, the struggle to control natural resources and in particular oil and gas. The primary area of conflict has been the less-developed countries, including those declared to be failed states.” So writes Warnock in this damning book on American and Western greed and colonialism.

America's involvement in the Middle East follows the logic of oil rather than the logic of justice and peace. If Saddam Hussein starts selling too much oil to China and elsewhere, take over the country. If Afghanistan won't allow pipelines and other petroleum-related infrastructure, take over the country.

Many pieces of American foreign policy (and its poodles such as Britain, Canada, and Australia) are linked to this thirst for oil. The goal of containing Russia and to a lesser extent China aims for American control of Caspian Sea oil, working closely with American oil companies.

Washington negotiated with Pakistan and the Taliban for the better part of 2001 over Caspian Sea oil as a way to shut out Iran, since both governments were anti-Iran. Warnock reports, though, that America, with the help of Russia, was actually thinking of invading Afghanistan and overthrowing the Taliban. This plan, which somewhat counters the containment of Russia theory, “was widely discussed at the July 2001 meeting of the G8 countries in Geneva.”

The politics in Creating a Failed State, as the above shows, are shocking in their single-mindedness and lack of respect for the lives, cultures, and nationhoods of the target countries. In fact, Warnock links this neo-colonial indifference to the lives of people with the mentality of the nineteenth-century European colonists, who also put a premium on the lives of their own citizens even while committing countless acts of violence against subjected populations.

Creating a Failed State follows American oil imperialism as it built up Islamists during the Cold War. The leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood admitted that “America made Islam” in the 1960s. Washington helped al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups recruit fighters from all over the world, including from Brooklyn.

During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Arab, Pakistani, and Afghan trainers were trained by the CIA in America. Bin Laden's main focus at this time was on the “Little Satan,” the Soviet Union, but he became incensed when Saudi Arabia allowed American troops on Islam's holy land in 1991.

America's relationships with jihadists in the 1990s were confused, as Washington often had them do its dirty work. Yet throughout the decade, the Islamic fighters constantly increased their activities and rhetoric against America.

Because of Washington's belief in bin Laden's continued utility, it never had him extradited even though the Sudan (and the Taliban after that) had offered this and even though countless opportunities for his capture had presented themselves.

Why didn't America nab bin Laden when he was in the American Hospital in Dubai for kidney treatment from July 4-July 14, 2001? Bin Laden “was even visited by the head of the CIA operation in the city. But the US government did not ask for his extradition,” Warnock notes. Bin Laden, it seems, was still America's guy right up until 9/11. Even in 2002, when holed up in Tora Bora by the US military, he was allowed to escape.

Why did so many senior Bush administration officials deny that they had advanced knowledge of 9/11 when so many foreign governments, including those of Jordan, Israel, and Russia, had warned them? The former Egyptian defense minister Mohammed Heikal said after 9/11 that it was impossible for the American government not to have known of the planned attack.

Looking back, in the days immediately before September 11, why do we see such frenetic stock market activity from World Trade Center-based companies such as Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and from United and American Airlines?

While American and Canadian neo-colonialism in Afghanistan is bad enough, the politics and purported dirty dealings that occurred before 9/11 are disturbing to say the least.

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