The 21st Century Phenomenon



US President Barack Obama’s envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has said, on Sunday 02/08/2009, in a conference in Munich, Germany, that winning the conflict there will be “much tougher” than in Iraq.

NATO defense ministers at the security conference differed on whether the focus should be military or civilian (see – Conferences System). The architect of the US surge in Iraq, Gen’ David Petraeus, urged measures for Afghanistan similar to those in Iraq. He warned the situation in Afghanistan was likely to get worse before things improved and called for a future change in tactics.

Gen’ James Jones, the new USA National Security Adviser, told reporters at the conference that a planned doubling in the number of USA troops in Afghanistan to about 60,000 was not in itself enough. “The troops alone will not be sufficient and we have to… engage in the broad spectrum of things,” he said (see – SQUANDERED BILLIONS).

However, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung, whose country is a major troop contributor in Afghanistan, insisted that civil reconstruction was as important as the military effort.

Also speaking at the Munich conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai repeated his consistent call for elements of the Taliban to return to Afghanistan as part of a process of reconciliation before elections later this year (2009). Although he admitted his government suffered from corruption, he laid much of the blame for the country’s problems on a lack of coordination among the international organizations supposedly trying to help Afghanistan (see – Afghan Failing-State).

Unlike Iraq – Afghanistan is a sub developed country without any basic infrastructure, without any social middle class, without any tradition of a central government ruling the country and a country where fighting is a way of life and fighting foreigners a proud tradition.

Iraq has its’ secular Baath party, which once ruled Iraq. In Afghanistan there are no secular parties and the country is a very conservative Muslim country, probably more then Saudi Arabia.

Contrary to Iraq, where a slow steady progress toward functioning security forces and ruling regime was made, in Afghanistan the administration is showing minimal progress (see – .BUSH’S SUCCESS). The corruption and the poppy fields prosper in Afghanistan as they never did before (see – Opium’s kingdom).

Iraq is one of the richest oil producers of the world, with a huge impact on the global economy and a key state in the delicate relationship between Shiite Iran and Arab Sunni Muslim countries of the Middle East. Once USA invaded Iraq there was no way to contain the problem. A sudden pull out from Iraq could be disastrous to the region, to the proliferation of nuclear arms and to global economy and stability. Afghanistan is a neglected, failing state. The threat from Afghanistan can be contained by investment and cooperation with Pakistan and the republics of Central Asia, once a part of the Soviet Union.     

A most significant different between Iraq and Afghanistan is, that now, when USA drew its attention to Afghanistan, the Western Democracies, and USA specifically, suffer from an economic crisis. They can not, any more, pour money and squander billions on Afghanistan as they did in Iraq.

Indeed, Afghanistan crisis is worse then Iraq. The question is if it is worth it remains open. 



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