Monday, November 29, 2010

More # 1

Today is Monday, 29 November 2010.

I’m reading Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome, an excellent biography by Anthony Everitt (New York: Random House, 2009).

One of the central points made by the author is quite chillingly germane to the USA/USE situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hadrian understood that there can be no such thing as an empire which indefinitely expands: an empire must grow no further than to those limits within which it may successfully, over the long-term, exploit its gains. Otherwise, it will over-extend itself, finally collapsing of its own weight, as did the British Empire.

The Soviet empire failed to heed this lesson when it attempted to impose a fully-compliant government in Afghanistan (though that was hardly the sole or even proximate cause of its collapse). The Reagan regime chose to compound the suffering of Afghans by using the Afghan resistance as cat’s paws against the Soviets, building up all manner of warlords and financiers of war (including, of course, Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida). The H.W. Bush regime then compounded the error, once the USSR withdrew, by abandoning and ignoring Afghanistan, condemning it to civil war, and opening the door to the Taliban.

The W. Bush/Cheney regime doubled down, attempting conquest of Afghanistan on the cheap (2001- ), resulting in the current crop of vicious, incompetent, and corrupt fiefdoms. It did so because its true interest was the conquest of Iraq, which has gone so swimmingly.

All the very definition of hubris.

Now comes Obama, who acts as if he imagines that more of the-same-old-same-old is just the ticket. The USA/USE is in Afghanistan and Iraq for nothing more than selfish imperialist motives, and causes incalculable human suffering to those long-victimized peoples.

It would be well to recall: what goes around, comes around. If the USA/USE leadership won’t change course because it’s the ethical thing to do, perhaps the people will awaken and force them to do so, out of self-preservation.

I wish I could say I was optimistic.


Anonymous innocent bystander said...

If not optimistic, then, always, just be hopeful.

5:13 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home