Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

News

America’s mixed up Taliban policy amounts to ‘kill for peace’

America is repeating all the mistakes it made in South East Asia in the 1960s and 1970s.

Published

on

471 Views

During the height of the American war in Vietnam, an underground radical musical group,The Fugs released a song called Kill For Peace. The polemic meaning was a clear mockery of a US policy that involved dropping bombs on Vietnam under the guise of fighting for peace. The song’s message succeeded just as sure as the war in Vietnam ultimately failed.

The US war in Afghanistan is now approaching its 16th anniversary and Donald Trump’s recently announced ‘troop surge’ looks to only prolong the conflict. This is for all intents and purposes, a war which has seen front-line US combat troops engaged in battle for a longer period of time than America’s primary phase in Vietnam between the Gulf of Tonkin false flag of 1964 and America’s penultimate withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975.

The eerie similarities do not end there. US policy in Afghanistan, especially in light of Donald Trump encouraging of India to play a large role in the conflict, is becoming one aimed more at containing the Sino-Pakistan alliance than actually bringing peace to Afghanistan itself.

In this sense, one could compare Trump’s surge to the US bombing of Cambodia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While the bombing of a neutral country was justified by the US as necessarily in so far as it would cut supply lines to Vietnamese Communists, the reality is that the US was hellbent on avoiding the creation of a pro-Soviet government in Cambodia.

Ultimately, the US got its wish when the Khmer Rouge took over the country and renamed the country Democratic Kampuchea in 1975. The extent of US support to the brutal Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot has been masterfully exposed by Australian journalist John Pilger. By 1979, after all of Pol Pot’s killings, the country’s regime changed to one that was pro-Vietnamese/pro-Soviet in any case. The US plan not only failed but failed at great expense to the peoples of South East Asia. By 1975, Laos too had a pro-Vietnamese/pro-Soviet government, another testament to how little US weapons actually had an impact on the political trajectory of the region.

Just as by the early 1970s it became clear that the Vietcong were never going to be eliminated from South Vietnam, so too is it clear today that the Taliban will not be eliminated from the Pashtunistan region of Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has clearly admitted this in a statement that on the face of it, is well reasoned, but one whose overall context is increasingly absurd.

Tillerson stated,

“We are there (in Afghanistan) to facilitate and ensure that there is a pathway for reconciliation and peace talks.

As the pressure begins to take hold, we believe we already know there are certain moderate elements of the Taliban who we think will be ready and develop a way forward”.

Tillerson then did his best Trump impersonation and said that the US is in Afghanistan to make sure the Taliban will not win.

Tillerson’s journey from realism to fantasy finally resolved itself by becoming somewhat fatalistic as he added,

“We may not win one, but neither will you (Taliban)”.

If Tillerson admits that much of the Taliban are the moderate rebels that the US was looking for and never found in Syria, then why not simply engage in a peace process with them now? If anything, more moderate Taliban will have a higher chance of success in persuading more radical elements to lay down their arms than a renewed US war which will only galvanise many more people to join up with the most extreme factions of the Taliban.

Just as Pilger stated that the US bombing of Cambodia, a war crime by any definition was the best recruiting tool that Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge could have had, so too is a US war on a Taliban that was willing to negotiate, a recruiting tool for something much worse: ISIS in Afghanistan.

The US is not only ‘killing for peace’ but in trying to use India as a means to ‘contain the China-Pakistan alliance’, the US will ultimately put China and Pakistan in a position to ultimately win the war in Afghanistan against ISIS, a group that unlike much of the Taliban is not moderate at all, they are the Khmer Rouge of South Asia and the Middle East, only even more extreme and more dangerous.

Just as US wars in South East Asia failed militarily in respect of terminating the Vietcong as well failing in their winder goal of ending Soviet influence in the region, so too will America’s plan to terminate the Taliban only lead to a stronger Taliban that will ultimately bring stability to the region with the aid of an emboldened and stronger Pakistan and China. And just as a bonus, unlike in the 1960s and 1970s, this time, China and Russia are partners, not adversaries.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Latest

EU and Japan ink free trade deal representing over 30% of global GDP

The free trade agreement represents a victory for free trade in the face of growing protectionism

Published

on

In a bid to preserve free trade and strengthen their trade partnership, the European Union and Japan have finished a free trade zone agreement that has been sitting in the pipeline for years.

The present global economic outlook provided the needed spur to action to get the ball rolling again and now it has finally reached the end zone and scored another point for free and open trade against the growing influence of protectionism, which has been creeping up with alarming rapidity and far reaching consequences in recent months.

Under the deal, Japan will scrap tariffs on some 94% of goods imported from Europe and the EU in turn is canning 99% of tariffs on Japanese goods.

Between the European Union and Japan, the trade deal impacts about 37% of the world’s GDP, making it one of the largest and impactful of such agreements.

The Japan Times reports:

Top European Union leaders and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed an economic partnership agreement Tuesday in Tokyo, a pact that will create a massive free trade zone accounting for 37 percent of the world’s trade by value.

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hastily arranged their visit to Tokyo after Abe was forced to abruptly cancel plans to attend a July 11 signing ceremony in Brussels in the aftermath of flooding and mudslides in western Japan.

Japanese officials said the signing is particularly important to counter intensifying protectionism worldwide triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Negotiations on the pact between Japan and the EU, which started in 2013, had stagnated for a time but regained momentum after Trump took office in January 2017.

“We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” Tusk said at a joint news conference with Abe after they signed the agreement.

“The relationship between the EU and Japan has never been stronger. Geographically we are far apart, but politically and economically we could be hardly any closer,” Tusk said. “I’m proud today we are taking our strategic partnership to a new level.”

Tusk stressed that the EU and Japan are partners sharing the same basic values, such as liberal democracy, human rights and rule-based order.

Abe also emphasized the importance of free and fair trade.

“Right now, concerns are rising over protectionism all around the world. We are sending out a message emphasizing the importance of a trade system based on free and fair rules,” he said.

The pact will create a free trade bloc accounting for roughly 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Japan and the EU hope to have the agreement, which still needs to be ratified by both parties, come into force by March.

Under the EPA, tariffs on about 99 percent of Japan’s exported goods to the EU will eventually be eliminated, while duties on 94 percent of EU’s exported items to Japan will be abolished, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The EPA will eliminate duties of 10 percent on Japan’s auto exports to the EU seven years after the pact takes effect. The current 15 percent duties on wine imports from the EU will be eliminated immediately, while those on cheese, pork and beef will be sharply cut.

In total, the EPA will push up domestic GDP by 1 percent, or ¥5 trillion a year, and create 290,000 new jobs nationwide, according to the government.

“The world is now facing raging waves of protectionism. So the signing ceremony at this time is particularly meaningful,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said earlier this month on condition of anonymity.

“The impact for Japan is big,” the official said.

Fukunari Kimura, an economics professor at Keio University, said the EU is now trying to accelerate the ratification process.

“This is a repercussion of President Trump’s policies. They will try to ratify it before Brexit in March of next year,” he said in an interview with The Japan Times last week.

But the deal has raised concerns among some domestic farmers, in particular those from Hokkaido, the country’s major dairy producer.

According to an estimate by the Hokkaido Prefectural Government, the EPA will cut national production in the agriculture, fishery and forestry industries by up to ¥114.3 billion a year, with Hokkaido accounting for 34 percent of the predicted losses.

“The sustainable development of the prefecture’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries is our top priority. We need to make efforts to raise our international competitiveness,” Hokkaido Gov. Harumi Takahashi said during a news conference July 10.

Japan and the EU had reached a basic agreement on the EPA in December.

Tokyo also led negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in January 2017.

In March, 11 countries including Japan signed the so-called TPP11, or a revised TPP pact that does not include the U.S.

“The Japan-EU EPA is another important step for Japan to strengthen its trade relationship with key trading partners, and demonstrate that trade liberalization is alive and well, even if the United States is taking a different stance,” wrote Wendy Cutler, a former acting deputy U.S. Trade Representative, in an email sent to The Japan Times last week.

“The EU deal also reduces Japanese dependence on the U.S. market and thus increases its leverage to resist unreasonable trade demands by the United States,” she wrote.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the EU, which accounts for 22 percent of the world’s GDP, was the destination for 11.4 percent of Japanese exports in 2016. In the same year, the figure for the U.S. was 20.2 percent and 17.7 percent for China.

In 2016, Japan’s exports to the EU totaled ¥8 trillion, while reciprocal trade was ¥8.2 trillion.

The deal provides tariff relief for both parties and can improve the quantity of trade between them, expand the economy and create many jobs. It also helps to further diversify their trade portfolios in order to mitigate the prospect of a single global trade partner wielding too much influence, which in turn provides a certain amount of cover from any adverse actions or demands from a single actor. In this way, current trade dependencies can be reduced and free and diversified trade is further bolstered.

Continue Reading

Latest

The man behind Ukraine coup is now turning Greece against Russia (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 57.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

On July 11, Greece said it would expel two Russian diplomats and barred the entry of two others.

The Duran reported that the formal reason is alleged meddling in an attempt to foment opposition to the “historic” name deal between Athens and Skopje paving the way for Macedonia’s NATO membership. Moscow said it would respond in kind.

Nothing like this ever happened before. The relations between the two countries have traditionally been warm. This year Moscow and Athens mark the 190th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Hellenic Republic. They have signed over 50 treaties and agreements.

Greek news daily, Kathimerini says the relationship started to gradually worsen behind the scenes about a couple of years ago. What happened back then? Geoffrey Pyatt assumed office as US Ambassador to Greece. Before the assignment he had served as ambassador to Ukraine in 2013-2016 at the time of Euromaidan – the events the US took active part in. He almost openly contributed into the Russia-Ukraine rift. Now it’s the turn of Greece. The ambassador has already warned Athens about the “malign influence of Russia”. He remains true to himself.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris connect the dots between the Ukraine coup and Greece’s recent row with Russia, and the man who is in the middle of it all, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Sputnik News

Actions similar to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Greece do not remain without consequences, said spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.

“We have an understanding that the people of Greece should communicate with their Russian partners, and not suffer from dirty provocations, into which, unfortunately, Athens was dragged,” Zakharova said at a briefing.

“Unfortunately, of course, we are talking about politics. Such things do not remain without consequences, do not disappear without a trace. Of course, unfortunately, all this darkens bilateral relations, without introducing any constructive principle,” she added.

On July 11, the Greek Kathimerini newspaper reported that Athens had decided to expel two Russian diplomats and ban two more from entering the country over illegal actions that threatened the country’s national security. The publication claimed that the diplomats attempted to intervene in a domestic issue, namely the changing of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to the Republic of North Macedonia, the agreement for which was brokered by Skopje and Athens last month.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has vowed to give a mirror response to Greece’s move.

Continue Reading

Latest

Russia just DUMPED $80 billion in US debt

The US Treasury published a report naming those countries that are the largest holders of US bonds. The list includes 33 countries, and for the first time Russia is no longer in it.

Published

on

Russia has stopped “inching towards de-dollarization” as I wrote about on July 3rd, and has now energetically walked out of the list of largest holders of US government bonds, hence this update. For the two months ending in May 2018, Moscow has offloaded more than $80 billion in US Government debt obligations.

Support The Duran – Browse our Shop >>

The $30 billion “minimum” listing Rubicon has been crossed by Russia.

As of the end of May, Russia had bonds worth only $ 14.9 billion. For comparison: in April, Russia was on the Treasury list with bonds totaling $48.7 billion. Even then it was offloading US$ debt securities as Russia owned in March over $96 billion. At the end of 2017, Russia had US treasury securities worth $102.2 billion. It is anyones guess what Russia will own when the June and July figures are released in August and September – probably less than today.

This simply serves as a confirmation that Russia is steadfastly following a conservative policy of risk diversification in several areas such as financial, economic, and geopolitical. The US public debt and spend is increasingly viewed as a heightened risk area, deserving sober assessment.

So where have all the dollars gone? The total reserves of the Russian Central Bank have not changed and remain at approximately the equivalent of $ 457 billion, so what we are seeing is a shift of assets to other central banks, other asset classes, just not US$ government bonds.

During the same time (April-May) as this US$ shift happened, the Russian Central Bank bought more than 1 million troy ounces of gold in 60 days, and continues.

For comparison sake, the maximum Russia investment in US public debt was in October 2010 totaling $176.3 billion. Today it is $14.9 billion.

The largest holders of US government bonds as of May are China ($ 1,183.1 billion), Japan ($ 1048.8 billion), Ireland ($ 301 billion), Brazil ($ 299.2 billion), Great Britain ($ 265 billion).

Using the similar conservative metrics that the Russian Central Bank has been rather successfully applying through this geopolitically and economically challenging period with the US and the US Dollar, it may not stretch the imagination too much that other countries such as China may eventually follow suit. Who will finance the debt/spend then?

Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Advertisement

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement
Advertisements
Advertisement
Advertisements

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!

The Duran Newsletter

Trending