Wilkerson: “We’re Staying in Afghanistan for the Next 50 Years”

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Yves here. On Real News Network, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson describes the lunacy of what passes for US strategy in Afghanistan. Note there are some sour notes. For instance, Wilkerson depicts Larry Summers as directly connected to Goldman Sachs. Summers was a protege of former Goldman co-Chairman, later Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin, but Summers never did a stint at Goldman (he did have a handsome sinecure from hedge fund DE Shaw).

Aaron Mate: It’s ‘The Real News,’ I’m Aaron Mate. Afghanistan is the longest US war, and it’s deadlier than ever. The new US government report says the toll for Afghan civilians and military forces last year was the highest on record. The violence forced more than 660,000 people to flee their homes, also the most to date. US generals have requested thousands of additional troops. In a recent interview, national security advisor, H.R. McMaster hinted at a looming escalation.

H.R. McMaster: This is really the modern day frontier between barbarism and civilization. With those high stakes in mind, recognizing that the Taliban groups that we’re fighting here, that the ISIS groups that we alongside, really the Afghan forces are really fighting and we’re just enabling them in the Eastern part of the country, are a threat to all civilized peoples.

Aaron Mate: The Taliban is said to control at least one-third of Afghanistan, more than 15 years after the US invasion. A recent Taliban attack on an Afghan base was one of it’s worst to date, killing some 160 Afghan soldiers. The violence could only rise as the spring fighting season begins. Joining me is Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State, Colin Powell; now a distinguished professor at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Colonel Wilkerson, welcome back.

Col. Wilkerson: Good to be here.

Aaron Mate: We have talk now of President Trump sending more US troops back to Afghanistan at the rest of it’s generals. What amazes me about this discussion is that it wasn’t too long ago, in 2011 at the height of President Obama’s surge, we had 100,000 US troops there. That wasn’t sufficient to beat the Taliban, so now with about 9,000 troops, there’s talk of sending a few thousand more; as if that could somehow make a difference. What do you make of what is this never ending US war in Afghanistan, almost 16 years old?

Col. Wilkerson: The first thing I make of it is that I’ve heard this before. I guess I’m getting too old. I’ve heard generals ask from foreign theaters for more troops, enough times to know that none of them have succeeded with those more troops; and that it seems to be the only thing that generals know how to ask for, more troops. That said, the situation in Afghanistan is truly bad. It’s probably as bad as it has been in the past 16 years. The Taliban, as you indicated, control more territory now probably than they have at any time since the inception of the conflict, when they more or less were the government of the state of Afghanistan. It’s looking pretty bad.

That said, I think the strategic rationale for staying in Afghanistan is shifting. Let me back up just a moment and say that if it is going to shift, then the major impediment to what has been, according to the generals, the problem in Afghanistan, too few troops, is going to be exacerbated majorly. We simply do not have enough troops to do all these brush fire wars, these peripheral empire wars. We just don’t have enough troops. If we’re going to do these things, and we’re going to do them more effectively, we’d better think about conscription, or at least a much larger armed force than we have. Given recruitment details of late, there’s no way we could recruit an all volunteer force of that size, so as I said, we probably need to be thinking about conscription.

All of that to say that I think the strategic rational has shifted, I think we’re staying in Afghanistan for the next 50 years. The reason I say that is because Afghanistan presents us with the only opportunity, land opportunity, territory opportunity upon which to put US forces that can, at any given time that they desire to, that the president orders it, interdict, interfere with, or give the Chinese some trouble with their one belt, one road theory; essentially building a new silk road from Xinjiang Province all the way through the region and up into Europe.

The only way the United States can impact that with hard military force would be from a position somewhere along that route. We discovered, with regard to the Eastern Mediterranean in Afghanistan, for example, that it’s extremely difficult, if not well nigh impossible to do it out of the Eastern Mediterranean with naval air forces and air forces. I don’t see that we are going to leave Afghanistan if this is indeed the shifting strategic rationale any time soon.

Aaron Mate: Okay, so this is a reasoning that is not mentioned, if ever mentioned, as a reason for the US being in Afghanistan. You’re saying that it is not linked to Taliban control of Afghanistan, and their original harboring of Al Qaeda, but actually US designs when it comes to China. When you served under the Bush administration, back in 2001 when this invasion was launched, was China a consideration back then?

Col. Wilkerson: China was a consideration only in the sense that we knew we were getting very close. After all, we’d had an experience with getting close to the Chinese border when we ran Korea in ’50, you may recall. The Chinese entered with 300,000 volunteers. Situations changed a lot, but we were somewhat concerned about having a border with China, and being in Afghanistan, that features that border. People looking at it at that time made sure that the Chinese knew that we were not going to linger. Well, we’ve lingered for 16, almost 17 years now. We’re looking at a whole different tapestry of possibilities now, too. We’re looking at the possible Israeli now financed I understand largely by people like Goldman Sachs. Wow, wonder why Donald Trump has Goldman Sachs in the White House. Pipeline, running up from.

Aaron Mate: Well, wait a second, Colonel Wilkerson. Are you suggesting that Goldman Sachs being in the White House is somehow linked to the Israeli government’s financial ties to Goldman?

Col. Wilkerson: How in the world would anyone ever not think that? I mean how could I be so naïve to think that I don’t believe Goldman Sachs is connected in some way to the leadership in Israel, and the Israeli leadership connected to Goldman Sachs?

Aaron Mate: Well, that may be true, but that doesn’t mean that, that’s why Trump has them in the White House. I mean it could just be, as many administrations have close ties to Wall Street, Trump is just following that trend; certainly as a billionaire with a lot of billionaire friends, that’s not very implausible.

Col. Wilkerson: Oh absolutely, absolutely. President Obama, President Bush, everybody has Goldman Sachs in the White House, whether it’s Bob Rubin, the most powerful member of Clinton’s administration, or it’s Larry Summers, or whomever. We always have Goldman Sachs in the White House, as it were. That’s how influence is exerted. You stopped me as I was trying to tell you about the pipeline coming out of Israel and going up into Europe. The pipeline coming out of Iran, and going ostensibly into Europe. The old TAPI pipipeline, the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

There are so many pipelines running across there at the tune of billions and billions of dollars in investment and potential investment, and ultimate profit, that one boggles when one looks at a map at what’s happening in this area both East, West, and North and South now. It’s very difficult for me. Now, I have to realize that we don’t have too many strategic thinkers in the White House, nor apparently anymore do we have too many in the Pentagon. If there are any, they’ve got to be looking at things like this.

They got to be looking at Afghanistan and saying, “Voila! Look what we have here. We have a place where we have military forces in the middle of all of this.” If I were a military professional and I saw that, I don’t believe I’d be recommending to the Commander in Chief that we remove those military forces any time soon.

Aaron Mate: Okay, let me put you the conventional reasons that we hear for arguing against the US withdrawal. It’s said that now we don’t just have the Taliban, but there’s also the remaining Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan. Now we also have ISIS with a foothold there, especially on the border with Pakistan. We also have the Haqqani network, another militant group. Then, there’s the central argument also that if the US withdraws, it’s feared that, that would destabilize Pakistan. How do you address those issues?

Col. Wilkerson: Those are all serious issues. Of course, had we not invaded Iraq in March of 2003, all of that would probably be a hell of a lot lesser level than it is right now. I read an analysis, I believe it was by the Soufan Group recently, where we had so many thousands of Al Qaeda, for example, in the world immediately after 9/11, and now we have so many more thousands of them. We have all kinds of other organizations, too, like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s ISIS, which came out of Iraq, and the Al Qaeda. The policies of the United States have indeed created lots more problems in the world, particularly problems with burgeoning and growing terrorist groups, who are burgeoning and growing on account of our policies with regard to them.

So yes, but I would not look at that except as a tactical issue. Bad, got to be dealt with, of course; but it’s a tactical issue. The strategic issue, the issue of trillions of dollars, the issues of two clashing economies, the issues indeed of the two giants of the world, the United States and China, criss-cross nicely in Afghanistan; and Pakistan, who happens to be ostensibly a US ally that seems more often a Chinese ally than it does US. Yes, your point is well taken, but I pull it up into the grand strategic issues, rather than the tactical issues and say this is all about the great game. The great game used to be Russia and England, and so forth. The great game is now the United States and China.

Aaron Mate: You mention Pakistan being a Chinese ally. There are elements in Pakistan that are also closely tied to the Taliban. The Taliban itself, as a foe, as a US foe, now they did harbor Al Qaeda but aside from that, correct me if I’m wrong, but they do not pose an international terrorist threat. They don’t attack people abroad, as far as I know. Is there a possibility of making peace with them right now in Afghanistan with them controlling so much territory, and this war just never seeming to end?

Col. Wilkerson: I think I’d be moving that way if I were the United States and I had a brain. I’d be moving that way, because as I said, this is a much bigger game than just these regional terrorist groups, or even as you say, terrorist groups with a global capability. Which, to this point, has only been Al Qaeda. I say that because you’re looking at a nuclear country in Pakistan. You’re looking at a nuclear country in India, and of course, China. You’re looking at the intersection of all the interests of these countries, plus the imperial power, the United States, all coming to bear right there.

You’ve got India and Pakistan still not settled, in terms of the main issues between them. You’ve got Pakistan supporting the Taliban to per debate Afghanistan because that gives India heartburn. You’ve got Kashmir, again, bubbling a little bit. You’ve got Modi in India and what he’s done to stabilize India; but the problem between the Muslims and the Hindus in that country. You’ve got India as a major, shall we say bulwark against China. More and more are closely associated with the United States; particularly, it’s navy.

You’ve got all these powers aligning themselves from time to time in different ways, but basically, laying themselves down as China versus the United States; and the others having to choose from time to time which side diplomatically or otherwise they’ll be on, on any given issue. It’s all about power. It’s all about grand strategic power. Frankly, these terrorists are insignificant to that. They’re a problem. They’re a problem that has to be dealt with by all of those countries in the region. Rashkari Kayaba, for example, in Kashmir. They’re not the grand strategic problem that the interstices and the interplay of all these great powers and near great powers in the region are.

Aaron Mate: Now, on the issue of foreign powers in Afghanistan, I want to play for you the comment of General John Nicholson, the Commander of US forces in Afghanistan. He recently suggested that Russia is now arming the Taliban. This is what he said.

John Nicholson: We continue to get reports of this assistance, and of course, we have the overt legitimacy lent to the Taliban by the Russians, that really occurred late last year, beginning through this process they’ve been undertaking.

Reporter: You’re not refuting that there’s any weapons.

John Nicholson: Oh no, I’m not refuting that.

Aaron Mate: Colonel, there’s a certain irony here, whether or not the charge is true or not; because in the 80s, we all remember that it was the US that waged sort of this proxy fight against Russia through support of the forces that eventually became the Taliban … Drawing Russia into this long, protracted war inside Afghanistan that lasted about ten years. Now the US is inside Afghanistan as an occupying force of it’s own, has been there even longer. It’s been there 15 years. Now, we have the US accusing Russia of arming the Taliban, who the US long ago armed to weaken Russia.

Col. Wilkerson: You just named the great game. The partners change, the side fluctuate a bit, but the great game goes on. If I were to … I’m not saying that I believe General Nicholson. I’m not saying that I believe that the Russians are arming the Taliban, but if I were Moscow, I would be arming the Taliban. I would be turning the tables on the other empire in the world, the United States. I would be doing it for good reasons, good, solid, strategic reasons because the United States is in Afghanistan. That’s very close to my borders. I don’t like the United States in Afghanistan. I don’t like it in Georgia. I don’t like it in Ukraine. I don’t like it in Latvia, Estonia, or Lithuania, either. This is all about power. It’s about strategic power. If I were Moscow, I would be arming the Taliban against the United States in Afghanistan in an effort to get the United States out of Afghanistan.

Aaron Mate: Okay, so I’m sorry to end on this grim note, but you’ve mentioned all these different foreign powers and their [inaudible 00:15:44] inside Afghanistan. You mentioned you thinking that the US will be there for decades to come. What does this mean then for the people of Afghanistan?

Col. Wilkerson: As with the people of all the satellite countries that the United States and the Soviet Union, they then to contesting imperial powers, per debated with their proxy wars and everything, probably the same thing. I mean I recall Central Africa, I recall Angola, I recall Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Southeast Asia in general, South America, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras. These are places where the great powers play in their proxy wars. It’s all shifted now. Not completely, of course. There’s still some things going on in other places, too, like Yemen.

It shifted and it’s major focus now, instead of being in South America, in Africa, or wherever, it’s major focus is right there in Central Asia on the old silk road, if you will, and the contestation between some fairly formidable powers: China, India, Russia, the United States. This is history. It’s happening. It’s about real power interests. It’s about real economic and financial interests. It’s going to go on. We use terrorism as an excuse to be places or to do things when in fact, it has very little to do with terrorism and everything to do with great power, economics, and the finances associated with that great power.

Aaron Mate: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State, Colin Powell, now a professor at the College of William and Mary. Colonel, thank you as always.

Col. Wilkerson: Thanks for having me.

Aaron Mate: Thank you for joining us on ‘The Real News.’

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    1. Disturbed Voter

      Also an opportunity to test new weapons like MOAB on live targets. Which is one reason why the US was in Vietnam.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Joel.

      You make a good point and are probably aware of how HSBC, Standard Chartered, Jardine Matheson and the Sassoon business empire were founded. This is just the UK. Prominent US firms and families, extant to this day and including a former Secretary of State and presidential candidate, benefitted, too.

      It’s amazing how the descendants of these drug dealers are so respectable and lauded now. I joke that the descendants of Duvalier, Mobutu, Mugabe, Obiang, Bongo et al just need to be patient.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Synoia.

          You are right.

          I was at Stowe with some of the descendants.

      1. Paul Greenwood

        You forgot to add in Yale University as beneficiary of opium trade. Then you could add Prohibition and how the Kennedy Clan, John McCain, and a slew of politicians and lawyers and real estate developers have done well from bootlegging – and how even the name “Bronfman” is Yiddish for “dealer in liquor”

    3. Susan the other

      That was my first thought as well. When Wilkerson says that the “terrorists” have little to do with what is going on he is saying much more than it sounds. But what he fails to say is that we are after the resources. And all those pipelines, currently being a chaotic mess, are a maneuver to move as much oil west as possible – it’s strategic. Maybe it’s such a no-brainer that it isn’t worth saying, but it has been kept under the radar. The southern mountains of Afghanistan are rich with rare-earths (China otherwise is the biggest source and can cut us off whenever); the Caspian is just a heartbeat away to the west – not to mention the Arabian/Persian Gulf; it will be a critical crossroads very soon and there will be all sorts of trafficking; I read somewhere that Afghanistan has a mountain pass that is a virtual road into China; and the little business on the side for the opium monopoly you could see coming way back in 2002. It sounds like a policing operation at this point – for Wilkerson to say it has little to do with terrorism and everything to do with finance and power. But it will still be very expensive for us and we will lose troops for a century doing it. I wonder if North Korea is a distraction for China – it’s so absurd it must have another reason.

      1. Paul Greenwood

        North Korea is what remains of Stalin’s staging post for the invasion of Japan which Truman halted at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is now a buffer zone keeping US forces away from Russian and Chinese borders – NATO has shown how Gorbachev giving up Stalin’s Buffer Zone in Europe has drawn US military to Russian borders and German troops now stand where they were in June 1941

    4. glib

      I have a slightly different view. Of course there is the opium and the rare earths, but there is also the bridgehead into the core of Eurasia, and countless opportunities for disruption of the OBOR (aka Silk Road) project. It’s geopolitical primarily. This is not going to end well.

      1. RUKidding

        It’s all of the above:

        Rare Earths
        Other minerals
        The bridgehead to Eurasia
        The new Silk Road
        Strategic Location
        Able to barely keep the locals controlled

        You name it. We want it. It’s OURS. Go Eff yourselves.

        Yeah, deadly and expensive, but there are those making tons of buckeroo$ out of this quagmire, and they ain’t gonna walk away.

      2. RUKidding

        Agree. It’s all of the above, combined with the fact that some people are getting mighty rich off of this unwelcome (by the locals) colonization.

        Too strategic of a location, as it has always been. Won’t end well. A trillion dollar boondoggle, plus plenty of lost lives all around.

  1. Colonel Smithers

    This paragraph applies to Africa, too, especially as China finances infrastructure development on the continent.

    “All of that to say that I think the strategic rational has shifted, I think we’re staying in Afghanistan for the next 50 years. The reason I say that is because Afghanistan presents us with the only opportunity, land opportunity, territory opportunity upon which to put US forces that can, at any given time that they desire to, that the president orders it, interdict, interfere with, or give the Chinese some trouble with their one belt, one road theory; essentially building a new silk road from Xinjiang Province all the way through the region and up into Europe.”

    The US and, on this occasion, its French lapdog are building up their forces, especially in the Sahel. The troubles in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and the Central African Republic have involved France and the US. Hillary Clinton did not classify Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation after Gilbert Chagoury provided a “douceur”. And then Michelle Obama had the nerve to tweet about bringing the Chibok girls back.

    Last week-end, I sent a link to Nick Turse’s recent article to a Zimbabwean friend. He replied that, luckily, the US had no strategic interest in Zim. I replied that Zim’s fertile land and water supply could attract the attention of US Big Ag and other investors as such land and water becomes in short supply.

    1. Catsick

      Try looking north of zimbawe to zambia ( once part of zim ) On the northern border with the DRC is the copperbelt home to more than half the worlds known cobalt resources and production, Cobalt is the essential element for battery cathodes in lithium ion batteries, this is the problem that keeps Elon Musk awake at night, there will be a great game played over these cobalt supplies if we want to have electric cars, hint the Chinese are currently winning. Zambia is a tiny economy but the Saudi arabia of cobalt along with the drc which is a total basket case…

    2. Huey Long

      the US had no strategic interest in Zim. I replied that Zim’s fertile land and water supply could attract the attention of US Big Ag and other investors as such land and water becomes in short supply.

      Zim’s been in the crosshairs for quite awhile. The US turned the screws on South Africa in the mid-70’s to pull their support for Rhodesia:


      Within four years Rhodesia was a memory.

      It made sense from a US/European perspective to snuff out Rhodesia as it was an impediment to post colonial looting.

      Geopolitically, South Africa dropped the ball by casting their lot with the US rather than with the Rhodies. If Rhodesia and South Africa joined forces, they could have conceivably dominated Africa south of the DR Congo and Tanzania, especially if they made overtures to the Portuguese Salazar loyalists in neighboring Mozambique and Angola.

      They kissed the US ring and were rewarded with the loss of Namibia, the atomic bomb, and minority rule within 10 years of the demise of Rhodesia.

  2. Colonel Smithers

    A few years ago, the UK’s former ambassador to Riyadh and Kabul, Sherard Cowper-Coles, said as much. From speeches and a leak of his concerns in the autumn of 2008, it was not clear whether Cowper-Coles, now adviser to BAE and HSBC, meant that US strategy would mean a resolution taking longer or he was anticipating what Wilkerson talked about.

    Plutonium Kun may be interested to hear that Cowper-Coles, from a family of imperial bureaucrats, succeeded David Gore-Both in Riyadh and at HSBC. Gore-Booth is related to Constance Markiewicz, the first woman elected to the UK Parliament (but did not take up her seat) and a member of Sinn Fein, and the Gore-Booths of Lissadell and, distantly, Al Gore, by way of Paul Gore. There is a lot more of this discrete, if not hidden, UK establishment.

    1. Marina Bart

      Please tell me Sherard Cowper-Coles is not a descendant of Lady Cowper (later Lady Palmerston.)


  3. Reader8532

    H.R. McMaster: This is really the modern day frontier between barbarism and civilization.

    No, it’s barbaric global capital pushing the borders into peaceful countries of ME and Central Asia – as explained by Col. Wilkerson.

  4. David Mills

    Wilkerson’s strategic analysis has its roots further back in MacKinder; Afghanistan is the pivot of the “World Island”. Maintaining Afghanistan as a failed state satrapy is the pretext for continued occupation. The great power contest from China & Russia takes the form of not just China’s “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative, but also the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Both Iran and Pakistan may accede to the SCO in the next 2-5 years.

    Immediate term, the drug trade and the arms dealing provide slush funds to the MIIC. Longer term Afghanistan has tremendous potential for mining (lithium and other strategic minerals IIRC). The key though is having force projection near trade routes and pipelines. Most of the key US bases in Afghanistan follow the pipeline routes. The US would have been perfectly happy to deal with the Taliban and may still be, because they don’t care about the people of Afghanistan at all.

    To reiterate a comment I made a long, long time ago to a friend: Not even Alexander the Great could hold Afghanistan. So to paraphrase the bard of the empire – roll over on your rifle… and go to god as a soldier.

    Let’s see if it still is the “Graveyard of Empires”…

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      Hopefully, James Levy, who studied history in London, I think, will comment about Afghanistan being the graveyard of empires, including a particular expedition where just one British soldier made it back to India. There are still graves of British soldiers dotting the road from Lahore to Kabul.

      One wonders if the neo-con who commented that the US hegemon made its own reality will live to see Afghanistan reassert reality for Uncle Sam.

      1. Paul Greenwood

        The British never had a large army in India and always relied upon its Indian Army after nationalising the John Company in 1858. British interventions in Iraq were with Indian Army. The US invaded Afghan using proxy forces “Northern Alliance” (where are they now ?)……….and hired for cash.

        The British could not hold Afghan even using the huge Indian Army of The Raj, the US cannot do it with National Guard and its small army even if more soldiers commit suicide than are killed by contact with the enemy…….US cannot survive wars of attrition

    2. James Levy

      If the people who I consider smart on the subject are, then the impact of energy return on investment and the need to buttress “Fortress America” when the desertification of large swaths of the tropics kicks in will initiate the “recall of the legions” well before the 50 year timeframe mentioned.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, James.

        Apparently, US military thinking is quite advanced on that matter, but the civilians in charge are messing about / up.

        It’s not just America, though. Europe is sleepwalking to disaster, too.

        Recently, Yves highlighted, rightly, how bad the current crop of anglo-saxon leaders are. Having worked on the continent extensively since 2003, I don’t think the continental ones are much, if any, better.

        1. Paul Greenwood

          Europe is run by town councillors, you see it in their CVs – especially Germany where it is JuSo or the CDU equivalent, law degree, further law degree Staatsexamen, then Assistant to DA or simply to political leader and onto party list.

          They have no geopolitical outlook and are imbued with a sense of Seignorage giving them White Man privileges over Lesser Breeds as they proclaim their loathing of white patriarchy and bourgeois advantage…….it is the clerical grades acting like aristocrats

    3. JCC

      The “Graveyard of Empires” is an interesting term,or at least the history of the term is interesting: https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Afghanistan-called-the-Graveyard-of-Empires

      According to one relatively well-researched answer on Quora, it’s a fairly new term and far from true relative to Afghanistan, but instead it was originally a term given to the Balkans.

      If you stop and think about it, the Graveyard of most Empires has been their own Capital Cities.

      1. Paul Greenwood

        Overlap states…….Balkans is where Christian Catholic Croatia meets Christian Orthodox Serbia and Muslim Albania and everywhere the Ottoman Empire held sway is currently a disaster zone.

        Afghan is where Muslim invaders destroyed Buddhist culture and disrupted the Silk Road from Europe

  5. Colonel Smithers

    Wilkerson, who appears to be barred from the MSM, but can be seen on RT, is right to highlight Africa. The US and France are building up their forces and proxies, especially in the Sahel. Nigerians and other Africans I speak to consider Boko Haram to be a Franco-American proxy. Boko Haram was kept off the State Department’s list of terrorist groups after lobbying by a magnate with ties to a certain US dynasty.

    Last week-end, I sent a link to Nick Turse’s recent article about US bases in Africa to a Zimbabwean friend. He replied that the US had no strategic interest in Zim. I replied that Big Ag and other investors may soon covet Zim’s fertile land and water supply as these resources become scarce.

    Today’s FT has a timely feature about China’s investment in Africa. Not mentioned in the article are the estimated 1 million Chinese living and working on the continent, including, I am told by a friend from DRC, prostitutes who are undercutting local suppliers.

    1. Synoia

      I am told by a friend from DRC, prostitutes who are undercutting local suppliers.

      That has a certain whimsical meaning.

    2. Synoia

      As for Zim, the Water is on the Zim, Zam, border, and runs into Malawi and Mozambique, the Zambesi.

      I’ve driven south of Lake Kariba, from the Kariba dam to the Vic falls. Empty of people, that land.

      South of the Lake the farmers are very dependent on rain, which is fearce, irregular and seasonal – and they currently have a drought.

      Zim is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Who will be the US’ version of Rhodes?

        1. Catsick

          Get yourself up to the zam drc border while you are there and witness the site of the next big showdown in the battle to control the worlds cobalt supplies, the uk government also just got involved in the region too buying a stake in zambeef, which is the wallmart of the region through its CDC private equity arm,

      1. Mark P.

        Too late for that. Sub-Saharan Africa is where the new Great Game will play out.

  6. fresno dan

    “Aaron Mate: Okay, so this is a reasoning that is not mentioned, if ever mentioned, as a reason for the US being in Afghanistan. You’re saying that it is not linked to Taliban control of Afghanistan, and their original harboring of Al Qaeda, but actually US designs when it comes to China.”

    When aliens examine the ruins of human civilization and determine that nuclear war ended humanity, they will find that the cause of the war was a big stinking sack of sh*t that this entity called China wanted, but the entity called USA! USA! could not let them have it….

  7. Paul Greenwood

    This is an India-Pakistan proxy war using Pashtun tribes against the Kabul regime. The Pakistan frontier – NW Frontier of The Raj has an arbitrary border drawn through Pashtun territory. The whole issue is tribal and these foot soldiers are cheap – much cheaper than any Western soldier; and they are disposable.

    There is no way it makes sense to try to occupy Afghanistan. Most of its GDP now comes from Western military intervention and bundles of dollars handed out to warlords to buy compliance.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Paul. You are right about that additional complication.

      Some of the cash given to warlords, going back to the Carter administration, found its way to the west, vide the chain of motels owned by the family of a former president of Afghanistan and some of the taxi and bus, restaurant and rental home businesses operated by migrants from that region to the UK.

  8. John Wright

    It is a shame this version of Lawrence Wilkerson was not the one advising Colin Powell at the time of Powell’s aluminum tube UN speech.

    GDP math (Iraq 29 billion in 2001 vs US 11500 billion) + population (Iraq 25 million in 2003 vs USA 300+ million), Iraq military budget ( it is difficult to spend much when ones entire GDP is 29 billion or about $1160 per capita ) vs 600 billion US military budget, and Iraq internal problems indicated to me that Iraq would not be a great threat to the USA in 2003..

    Yet Powell + Wilkerson and the rest of the Bush administration promoted the Iraq nuclear threat issue.

    The same statistics qualitatively apply to today’s North Korea.

    The same existential threat issue will be made in the the US media.

    But it isn’t about fighting terrorism/promoting democracy/promoting human rights, it is about hegemony.

    This is never suggested by the MSM to the American people.

  9. jfleni

    More insane nonsense from the five-sided bughouse and their deranged gererals; declare ourselves to be the winner, the shafted,the crazy or anything we like; then get out firmly and finally, and let the locals do the best they can. If politicians disagree, put a hat on ’em, and send them there!

  10. JTMcPhee

    Longest US war? I guess it’s how you define the terms. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_lengths_of_American_participation_in_wars “War” rendered as broadly construed to be armed conflict between organized U.S. military forces and organized forces of (a) belligerent(s).

    Korean “war” still “legally” on, just subject to cease fire. http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/05/24/armstrong.north.korea/index.html And I guess the GWOT is not a “War?” And of course read broadly, that definition goes right back to the War of Independence, since US organized military forces have been involved continuously in armed conflict with “belligerents” (uncooperative wogs and other Great Game players) since then. I guess killing off the First Peoples, to manifest “our” destiny, does not count — that goes way back before even the Articles of Confederation.

    1. Paul Greenwood

      There is a little book listing all the wars the British have fought against anyone and everyone available at Amazon. Truth is the Anglo-Saxons have used war to seize advantage and have been far more successful than Johnny-cum-lately nations like Germany which failed abjectly.

      UK and US have used war strategically to control and intimidate and thereby built Western Power – whether that has reached its limit we shall see

  11. JohnnyGL

    Just finished listening to this.

    For me, there was a bombshell in there with that interview clip of General Nicolson suggesting that Russia may now be arming the Taliban.

    Mate was right to note the irony of the role reversal of the 1980s.
    Wilkerson suggested that arming the Taliban makes a lot of sense for Russia.

    Now I’m rethinking the point of dropping the MOAB was less of a statement to the Taliban or ISIS and more of a statement towards Russia.

    Things are really getting worse, aren’t they?

    1. Paul Greenwood

      MOAB was a joke. It did nothing save raise the US deficit but with an extra $54 bn it has to be spent.

      US is muscle-bound. Maybe SARMAT RS-28 will be a good response to MOAB ? One day it will be used and nothing can stop it.

      Korea is a chance for the US to go big-time – provoke Kim Jong-un into unleashing his 20,000 artillery pieces and destroying Greater Seoul with its 25 million population then the US can move into the big league and see how to clear millions of decomposing corpses……..be good experience for New York or LA or Atlanta when the ratchet moves upwards.

      Once saw a little marker in a park for a British soldier who had committed suicide – he had been in Bosnia with one of the alphabet missions tasked with clearing out a mortuary after electricity had been cut off by the war for a month or two. It did not enhance his mental health.

      Once LCD-Screen World of modern politics, media, infantile population, comes to grips with moving rotting corpses for months on end as the Soviets did after Stalingrad – we can see how gung-ho these generals are

  12. ChrisPacific

    Yikes. I appreciate Wilkerson’s willingness to speak frankly, but the mindset that it exposes is really frightening. It really is all just a big global game of chess to them. Winning it is their job, and if a little thing like the nuclear destruction of civilization is the consequence, well, that’s not their concern. Notice how he answers the final question (“what does it mean for the Afghan people”) by not answering it. What happens to the Afghan people is strategically insignificant, so he is not even going to think about it, and believes he is right not to do so.

  13. The Rev Kev

    So, the war in Afghanistan has been going on so long that we are now starting to see soldiers come into theater whose father fought there in the initial invasion back in ’01. If we are there for another 50 years we will not only have soldiers serving there whose grandfathers were fighting there but perhaps their great-grandfathers as well eventually. Sounds like a legit idea to me.

    1. John Wright


      “He describes how on July 27, 1880, Mohammad Ayub Khan decisively defeated a British force led by Brig. G.R.S Burrows at Maiwand, near Kandahar. Of the 2,476 British and Indian soldiers engaged in the fighting, 971 were killed in action and 168 wounded, in addition to 331 camp followers who were killed.”

      A fictional character “wounded” in this real battle was Dr Watson as described by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1930.

      Even now, most Americans have a passing acquaintance with Afghanistan, as it is frequently the first country shown when the “country” drop down is selected in many computer applications.

      Was this bit of subliminal advertising influential in the decision to go to war in Afghanistan?

      Either the UK or USA has been involved in battles in Afghanistan since the late 1800’s.

      1. Paul Greenwood

        When Gorbachev withdrew from Afghan he asked Reagan to support the interim regime to stabilise the country. The US turned away and let Saudi Arabia pervert Pakistan with funding much as Turkey has been destroyed by being instrumentalist by US in Syria and Central Asia

  14. MG

    As long as the broader U.S. population does not feel direct and sustained ill-effects from this in the homeland, it will go on in perpetuity including the mindless ‘support the troops’ mantra.

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Has anyone considered the raw supply/demand curves and implications if we let Caspian Basin oil, Pipelineistan, and non-petroleum mineral resources just be… including potential “all-in” effects on Europe and the petrodollar?

    IMO we ceded global economic leadership through the policy actions of our geopolitical and corporate visionaries decades ago, and geography trumps. Also suspect the offspring of the “Seven Sisters” wouldn’t be stranded on their offshore Caspian platforms. They are called “transnational corporations” for a reason.

    Any other reasons to remain in the geopolitical equivalent of the elephants’ graveyard of the old Tarzan comics where empires go to die?… I once read that the initial decision was for multiple strategic reasons, including to pressure the nation just to the west of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I’m beginning to wonder just who is encircled and why that’s necessary anyway?

  16. ewmayer

    Wilkerson’s comment about returning to military conscription is interesting – but I doubt the DoD d00ds would consider it, after seeing the level of domestic questioning-the-mission that occurred the last time the US had a conscript army fighting a far-flung imperial adventure, in Vietnam. Look at the lengths to which the government has gone in the last 3-4 decades to promote an unquestioning-support-of-the-troops mindset on the home front, via the triumvirate of the corporate media, the ‘liberal’ Hollywood movie-propaganda machine, and rousing patriotic rah-rah preceding every major sporting event.

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