The US’ Afghan denouement or the return of the boomerang

1:40, 17 августа 2021

МОСКВА, 16 августа 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.

It all started with the speech of George W. Bush. in December 2001, when he recklessly said: “The Taliban regime is coming to an end”. On July 8, 2021, Joe Biden repeated Bush’s mistake. He said that the probability of the capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban is extremely small, that there are only 72,000 Taliban, and the Afghan army is 300,000 people, they are well equipped and they have aviation. Arithmetic is against the Taliban, and intelligence predictions that power in Afghanistan will fall are not true.

On August 16, 2021, this speech made by Biden is the most popular video on all social networks and is accompanied by the most sarcastic comments. The Ghani regime has fallen, Americans are being evacuated from the roof of the embassy, as in Saigon, there is a mess at the Kabul airport and shots are heard. It is assumed that the consequences for the image of the United States will be the most negative. According to commentators, the US’ exodus from Afghanistan is a humiliating retreat, exceeding even the shame of defeat in Vietnam.

It turned out that during the 20 years of their stay in Afghanistan, the United States did not build a viable political system there. After the departure of the USSR, the pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan lasted for another 3 years, although the Soviet Union was in Afghanistan for only 10 years. Under the Americans, their henchmen were swept away even before the US completed its withdrawal from the country – Kabul had already fallen. Three, and even more so six months, as predicted by the United States, in reality didn’t happen. There was just a collapse, and the Americans will not be able to do anything about it.

Yes, the main forces were withdrawn earlier, but the fact that papers are being burned in the former building of the US Embassy, and the embassy itself has moved to the guarded building of the Kabul airport, suggests that the Americans’ agreements with the Taliban turned out to be invalid. This is not the worst thing, it could have been assumed, but it turned out to be much worse that the Americans were unable to protect their status as a mediator and arbitrator in the inter-Afghan conflict. The Americans failed to bring the Taliban and representatives of the regime of former President Ghani to the negotiating table and impose an agreement that could be implemented on them

This is the biggest political defeat of the United States in the last 30 years. It turns out that the United States is no longer able to guarantee the fulfilment of its promises and protect its supporters. The Taliban aren’t shooting them en masse just because they do not want additional resistance during their entry into the cities. Those who worked for the former government have no doubt that the executions will take place anyway. That is precisely why the flow of refugees from Afghanistan is growing, and the United States is not coping with their resettlement.

However, the victorious march of the Taliban from the cities left by the Americans is not the most important sign of the defeat of the United States, since this is not the main front. Now the United States is hurriedly trying to negotiate not so much with the Taliban, but with Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar and even through intermediaries with Russia and China on a whole range of important issues for Washington.

The most important thing for the United States was to persuade Pakistan to guarantee its refusal to support the Taliban in terms of uniting the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan into an Islamic emirate. Pakistan delayed with the answer, realising that until the US completed the withdrawal, they are vulnerable, but after September 11, the withdrawal will be completed, and this vulnerability will end, and then the pressure on Pakistan will increase.

The Pakistani authorities said that the formula for Afghan agreement should be found by September 11, although the United States demanded this by August 28. Now that the Taliban are already in Kabul, and former President Ghani has fled through Tajikistan, there is no one to negotiate with. The idea of a temporary transitional government did not materialise. The US was late, the Taliban and Pakistan outwitted and outplayed them. It is impossible to compensate for such humiliation even with the loudest statements. Therefore, US President Joe Biden is hiding at the ranch, and US Secretary of State Blinken is silent for the second day.

The US’ flip-flopping began when they made it clear to Pakistan and the Taliban that the Biden regime and the Democrats are very afraid of losses among American soldiers. This would lead to a number of electoral disasters in the United States and would put Biden in the position of former Afghan President Ghani, whose power collapsed earlier than everyone expected. Only instead of the Taliban, there would be Trump and the Republicans in the United States.

The weakness of the United States was the undefeated rear infrastructure of the Taliban in Pakistan. In Islamabad, in recent years, they have begun to talk much tougher with the United States. Here they realised that the United States began to fear losses from the war.

And as soon as they in Pakistan realised that the Americans were trapped, they were given the false idea that there were supposedly radical and moderate Taliban, and it was better to negotiate with moderates. The Americans knew that in fact all the Taliban are under the control of the intelligence of Pakistan, but the alternative was a guerrilla war. The flow of coffins at the stage of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan would be a political tsunami for the Democrats.

By engaging in deliberately fake negotiations, Biden and his administration embarked on the path of finally killing the reputation of the United States. Hopes to beat the Taliban and Pakistan in terms of speed did not materialise. Biden understood that speed decides everything – and did not have time.

The United States, through the mouth of J. Psaki, admitted that after 20 years the mission in Afghanistan has not been completed. A controlled regime has not been created, there is no coalition in the form of the government and the opposition, that is, there is no coordinate system familiar to the American game in someone else’s domestic political space. Simply put, there is no structure for external management.

If we look for the root of the American defeat in Afghanistan, why they failed to build a viable state here, then we must say that this was, despite the declarations, a secondary goal. The primary goal was to turn Afghanistan into a world centre of heroin trafficking. It was assumed that the United States, having put drug trafficking under control, would take a strong position against Russia, China and Europe. The Americans did not care that the Afghans would live in a failed state at the same time – they controlled the centre there, and the periphery was not important.

However, such a state has put corruption at the forefront. This has decomposed the state apparatus and strengthened the Taliban. Their rigid discipline contrasted sharply in the eyes of the population with the corrupt and weak pro-American government. The Americans created the basis for the victory of the Taliban with their own hands.

Now Kabul looks like Petrograd in October ’17. The authorities have fled, crime is rampant on the streets, there are a lot of refugees who get food as they can, impudent beggar children, few policemen around their stations. The situation when one government collapsed and fled, and the other has not yet taken the situation into its own hands, is typical at all times in all countries.

The Taliban now faces the tasks of: restoring some kind of order as soon as possible; preventing civil war; returning refugees; establishing security and supply; forming the apparatus of power, selecting old specialists and building management. Now the Taliban are sensitive to negotiations, and it’s time for everyone who is an opponent of the United States to negotiate with them.

However, when the Taliban become stronger over time, they will face other tasks, and perhaps these will be the tasks of expansion – like the Bolsheviks, no one has canceled the laws of the revolution. The effect of the US’ retreat will soon be forgotten, but their ability to push the Taliban at a certain stage to act against Russia and China will remain. This factor should not be overlooked, and much will depend on Russian diplomacy here.

The subjective factor in negotiations has always been very harmful to America. Its negotiating school in foreign policy habitually acts from a position of strength and always makes mistakes in negotiations with Muslims. Most often they try to buy them, simultaneously intimidating and not hiding their superiority, whereas in the East it is more important to show respect for the leader of the negotiating team, and an offer of money is perceived as an insult.

Commercial negotiators know this, but American diplomats are officials, they do not even consider it necessary to pretend. Everyone remembers how Ursula von der Leyen, as the Minister of Defence of Germany (and in Europe they profess the American negotiation school), came to Iran in a pantsuit for negotiations on principle, which insulted the President of Iran.

While V. Matvienko conducted negotiations in Iran in a loose long green dress with a shawl covered head and long sleeves. Needless to say, the Iranian side was very pleased with such signs of respect, and the negotiations were successful.

The more problems the US has with Pakistan, the better its relations with India are. This is less important for China than for Russia, for which Russian-Indian relations are traditionally important. By establishing relations with the Taliban, Russia objectively supports the goals of Pakistan, indirectly strengthening the position of China. This will defuse the situation on the border in Central Asia, but it will strain the Indian direction.

However, the United States will not go far in supporting India against Pakistan. Pakistan is still an important ally of the United States, and this is a deterrent for Delhi. Long-term strategies in the region are becoming less obvious, and tactical manoeuvres are becoming high-risk. However, the United States warns that you should not laugh at them, since very soon the Taliban will become a threat to everyone in the region.

Afghanistan has become a thawed source of instability. If the United States now breaks down into bombing the Taliban, they will receive attacks on the remaining soldiers and assistants in response. The United States has no other methods against the Taliban.

It is difficult to say whether American diplomacy will be able to correct what the army did not do. This will require special circumstances, and the whole task now will be to anticipate them in a timely manner. The exit from Afghanistan created more problems for the United States than the entrance.

Now there is inflation in the United States, and they are demanding that OPEC increase production in order to lower oil prices. But OPEC does not want to. The price of $70 per barrel suits everyone. How now, after the Afghan fiasco, can they make the Arabs and Russia obey? The price of oil and Afghanistan are too many coincidences with Gorbachev’s USSR. The boomerang launched by the United States in the late 70s has returned.

publication-5553Институт международных политических и экономических стратегий Русстрат