Afghanistan and the sad confusion of a superpower -Express Tribune

Spread the word

Dear America! What has gone wrong? Why are your most loyal allies in the West calling you a ‘regional power’ and no more a ‘superpower’? Is the inevitable cycle of history entailing the ‘rise and fall of the empires’ finally catching up with you? Your power was benign. It would support the underdog…it would side with the weak…it would stand for principles, rights and equality…at least that is how it was made to appear to the humanity outside the US of A. The American power ostensibly spoke and stood for the right in true Christian and especially the protestant spirit.

America was a refuge for the persecuted religious minorities from Europe and elsewhere in its formative years. That spirit lives on — although in a dwindling manner — in the Mormons, among the reclusive Amish community and among many other sects and communities…that once upon a time, went impatiently into your warm embrace from around the world.

America, you gave birth to the internet and technology that benefits millions around the world in jobs, in education, in entertainment and in simple leisure. America…one still remembers that hot and sultry July afternoon in 1967, being glued to the transistor radio, listening to the live broadcast of the first human (and American) landing on the moon…feeling part of history.

America, your universities were incubators for ideas for the restless from around the world; changing their lives for good and benefiting their countries in the process; and enriching your cultural life. Children of yesteryears in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other developing nations’ schools, for example, would fondly remember the handshake on the USAID provided milk ‘gallons’ — an American health initiative to deal with malnutrition. Hollywood — not the politicised Hollywood of today — would light up many a stale night around the world through its numerous blockbusters.

America, you fought tyranny in the world wars, emancipated millions from the yoke of slavery and rebuilt continents with your money and your expertise, earning respect, adulation and love in the process…the most valuable human assets.

America, one still adores your good-natured citizenry, too absorbed in their own world of crossword puzzles and local sports. God-fearing folks… too gullible for their WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) elite to take advantage of their naivety.

When President Roosevelt was advised not to attend (due to poor health) the Yalta Conference for a final settlement ending World War II and reconstruct Europe, he insisted on personal attendance, preferring America not to be seen as an ‘arrogant empire’… to borrow from Fareed Zakariya. America, at least that is how you were perceived, as a moral power.

Why has that moral America lost its moral bearings? It reneges on its international commitment like the recent deal with the Taliban to help reconstruct ‘if Taliban do not allow their country to be used against the US/West’…to which Taliban are committed. What has gone wrong with your soul America, that you don’t feel sorry and ‘genuine remorse’ for bombing weddings and funerals and unarmed civilians and killing women and innocent kids — as old as two years — in errant drone strikes just before leaving Kabul? ‘Genuine remorse’ is followed up by reparations, compensations and accountability.

Why do you not say sorry and forcefully intercede to correct your errors of judgement in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and potentially Iran? Why has that benign soul, which not long ago, abhorred the ‘Axis of Evil’…is instead becoming part of that Axis? After being bestowed with the strongest military ever by the same ‘God, in whom we trust’, you are so intoxicated by your brute force…that your troops run berserk and out of control, ransacking and destroying the sparse furnishing of an impoverished Afghanistan’s only functional airport. Is it imperial hubris?

And as an icing on the cake, you leave equipment and supplies that you could not airlift, disabled and non-operative…just to become junk in the ‘Graveyard (read Junkyard) of Empires’. Afghans may one day dedicate a museum to display the war junk from their own ‘forever wars’.

America, why is your WASP elite — unable to hold the benevolent principles of your ‘Founding Fathers’ — allowed such a free rein? Why have you succumbed to the dreadful machinations of a self-perpetuating, money-savvy WASP elite and neocons…with no light at the end of a dark tunnel you seem to have entered?

America, the spirit behind creating the UNO, WB and IMF, was apparently to bridge the North-South divide and inequality. But these are consistently and brazenly used as tools of exploitation and neo-imperialism, in the service of your power ‘that does not need a foreign policy’. As foreign policy is reckoned for those needing some give and take, to jokey for power.

America, if you truly ‘Trust in God’ then beware…there would be haunts and horrors. You make a deal with the Taliban, as you see no other alternative to them in the future of a country, that you alongside the other ‘bold and beautiful’ coerced into service for decades; tried to rule, and failed. And then you try to destabilise it, as much as possible, by holding their money as a shameful leverage. The persistent media onslaught and other arm-twisting, of the new rulers of impoverished Afghanistan on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe, thrives under your tacit patronage. America, all Afghans are not thieves and leeches like Ashraf Ghani and his poodles…mentored by you, protected by you and placed by you. Taliban who helped you curl up your tail from Afghanistan may be your best bet.

By considering others expendable, trying to impose your will and value system in distant lands, destroying the beautiful diversity of our only planet, following policies supporting climate change and using violence as the ultimate leverage, will haunt you, get you and drown you.

The Custer’s last stand at little Bighorn River capping the genocide of native Americans; slavery and racial bigotry; the perceived suppression and domination of Muslims lands and resources; and the blackness of Guantanamo Bay…are some old and some new demons rearing their ugly heads. It may be too late for a course correction. The nature’s (we call it Allah) die seems to be cast.

The ‘benevolent empire’ is becoming history.