Thursday, July 12, 2012

Russian Dregs of Cold War Confrontation in Afghanistan

Russian Dregs of Cold War Confrontation in Afghanistan
A fascinating , sad and even tragic account of the life of Russian soldiers caught and left behind in north Afghanistan after the Soviet forces withdrew in 1985 .A bit like many Hindu and Sikh children lost in Pakistan after the partition of Hindustan in 1947 . Most were converted to Islam.
Afghanistan. Punjab, Palestine, Turkey, Romania and many others come in the way of marching armies and have been victims of much turmoil in the past.
As for post US troops departure Afghanistan, Prof Paul Kennedy said in early 2010 that
 "The Afghanistan-Pakistan entanglement is an issue so vexed and complicated that it would have tested the wisdom of the greatest leaders and strategists of the past. It is not totally fanciful to imagine Augustus, William Pitt the Elder, Bismarck or George Marshall pondering over a map which detailed the lands that stretch from the Bekaa Valley to the Khyber Pass. None of them would have liked what they saw." Look at the distances, the awful topography, the willingness of the other side to accept appalling casualty rates, make a limited war—a finely calibrated war—something of nonsense. Kennedy after talking to those with Afghan field experience feels that US "at least cannot "win" in the sense that knee-jerk congressmen and rabid Murdoch newspapers understand that word, a victory grotesquely skewed by their habit of invoking American football language: smash, overrun, crush, annihilate." 
"Pulling out should not be construed as appeasement since US "would not be the first to leave those wretched mountains and their defiant tribes to their own devices; indeed, we would simply join that long list of former occupation armies which eventually thought the better of it and made for the exit. -- A three-time British Prime Minister and four-time Foreign Secretary Lord Salisbury once observed, nothing is more fatal to a wise strategy than clinging to the carcasses of dead policies." Yet , Kennedy feels ,"few administrations have the resolve to let go; and frankly, in the case of Afghanistan, a mushy compromise—half-concealed withdrawal—might be the least-worst way to go, at least for now. But not forever."
This was written before the Western 'liberation' of Libya into chaos and civil war  , Arabs revolt against US propped up dictators and NATO –GCC supported Sunni uprising against Shia Alwaite dominated ruling elite in Syria .US led West is caught up in Libya and moving down  into  Africa south of Libya but  is face to face in a tug of war with Russia  around and in Syria , with Damascus supported by Hezbollah in Lebanon , Shia regime in Baghdad and mother Shia nation of Iran , with UNSC support from China against  NATO and Sunni states in the region .Beijing would be quite happy with the stand off  as long as it does not explode and affect Iran where its energy interests lie . Moscow is happy seeing the current plight of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan .Let them expend treasure , manpower and political capital to hang on with dignity and unharmed an ;then leave, now scheduled for 2014 !
It would appear that in this epochal current twist of  history , US led West is in its last stage of military hardware induced hubris with defence expenditure beyond their means , with US economy reduced to 20% or so of world economy compared to 50% after WWII , and this includes up to 40% financial industry ie jiggery pokey of derivatives and high level corruption accounting , like the Libor manipulation by Barclays Bank , the latest example .On the other hand China, Russia have shown clear determination to strive for peace in the region and elsewhere in order to build their economies for the uplift of their people , something in which India ,Brazil and South Africa are joining ie the BRICS group.
Below are some human interest sad and tragic stories of cannon fodder pawns in the imperialist wars and Cold War confrontation .What about US burnt cannon fodder from Iraq and Afghanistan .More than hundred thousand military personnel have been injured maimed and mentally deranged for life . Would US just pack up and leave Afghanistan (and Iraq) after all the destruction and mayhem as from South East Asia! And how!
Hidden in Afghanistan: Soviet Veterans of a Previous War Compare and Tremble Time Magazine 9712
There are only a few of them left — deserters and MIAs of the huge Soviet Red Army divisions sent in to control Afghanistan. But they still remember how it all ended — and worry that the American war will end the same way
By JOHN WENDLE / KUNDUZ  July 9, 2012 | 28