- President Trump’s war ‘trumpet’ and military victory fallacy
‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it’ or to rephrase this proverb realistically, ‘we learn from history that we learn nothing from history’. The war in American-occupied Afghanistan has dragged on for sixteen years without any clear cut victor, while the chaotic ground situation has worsened with Islamic State fighters gaining ground in the war and warlords-torn country, also extending their deadly reach within Pakistan. The Vietnam War, ‘the only war America lost’ (based on the dubious ‘domino theory’), the US‘s catastrophic recent invasions in the Muslim world, and the not too distant fate of the Soviet’s in Afghanistan, could not deter generals in Pentagon maprooms and presidents in the Oval Office from following the same flawed and unproductive Afghan policy. The almost desperate efforts of China, Russia, Pakistan, Turkey and others to facilitate peace talks with the Taliban, the only viable and acceptable solution, have foundered on the cliffs of US unreality of military one-upmanship and obsession with negotiating from a position of strength, as ‘befits’ the sole, but increasingly soulless superpower. The bitter harvest of escalating air strikes and drone attacks is asymmetrical Taliban retaliatory terror attacks, and these have surprisingly continued despite General Winter and General Snow.
With Trump’s recent rhetoric, arrogantly rejecting jaw-jaw with the Taliban and unthinkingly indulging in more war-war by sending half-baked ‘specialised’ troops as reinforcements, the tragic nightmare of the Afghan people and regional instability will not end any time soon, though the venture itself is doomed to failure, if seen through the prism of the past. The muddled US thinking is best (?) conveyed by Trump’s remarks, ‘We’re going to finish what we have to finish, what nobody else has been able to finish, we’re going to be able to do it’, a remark almost as dense and enigmatic as one of former Defence Secretary Rumsfeld’s vintage quotes. The immediate clear-cut objective must be revival of long-stalled talks and peace with honour, which is Pakistan’s position, not a ‘brigand’s peace’ or cloudy aspirations of an Afghan blitzkrieg, which will never succeed. And, there are no dominoes to fall here.