© REUTERS / Twitter / DAVID_MARTINON
The words “defeat”, “failure”, “defeat”, “catastrophe”, “fiasco” – these are the most common definitions that are now found in the headlines of Western newspapers when describing the events in Afghanistan. Moreover, you can often find them in different combinations together. Like this: “The defeat in Afghanistan becomes a disaster” or “The failure of the US leadership led to the defeat in Afghanistan.” Even the most loyal to Joe Biden media in America, slightly retouching the negative background, most often cannot avoid harsh criticism of the US president. In the best case for Biden, they are trying to distribute responsibility among all the presidents involved in the Afghan adventure, from Bush Jr. to the current one.
European media and politicians also angrily blame America. It is more difficult for them with collective responsibility. Most analysts from the Old World, discussing the causes of the defeat and the possible consequences, focus exclusively on the crisis in relations between Europe and America. And only a few admit that this is a defeat for the West as a whole.
Somehow many have already forgotten that the invasion of Afghanistan was a collective NATO operation. Therefore, the voices of a number of Western politicians who remind of this meet with some annoyance and even objections from the Euro-Atlanticists. The loudest criticism of the North Atlantic Alliance came from the lips of Czech President Milos Zeman. In an interview with the online newspaper Parlamentni Listy, without choosing diplomatic expressions, he bluntly said: “Having left Afghanistan, the Americans have lost the prestige of a world leader, and the justification for NATO’s very existence is now in doubt.” “NATO has lost dramatically,” Zeman stressed several times, adding that the cost of maintaining the alliance is “a waste of money.”
Numerous American fact checkers, who received Pulitzer Prizes for criticizing Republicans and Trump personally, immediately rushed to disavow the words of the Czech president, explaining them simply: “Zeman, who is the head of state, but not the head of government, is known for his friendly approach to Russia.” From the point of view of American experts, nothing more needs to be explained.
True, they were let down by yet another European politician, who is not yet classified as a “friend of Putin” – the leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats and potential chancellor Armin Laschet said: “This is NATO’s biggest defeat since its inception. Epoch-making changes await us.”
Atlantists (both American and European) met these remarks with hostility. The experts of the notorious Atlantic Council * responded in a particularly cynical way. For example, French diplomat Gerard Araud – former French ambassador to the United States and the United Nations – said: “The Europeans whine that Washington has not consulted with them, but in fact, the United States has never consulted its allies on important The Alliance has always been an unequal partnership. Most European countries take this as a security insurance premium to which they are deeply attached … The United States will honor its NATO treaty obligations but will do nothing beyond that. “
This is where the French diplomat, like most staunch supporters of Euro-Atlanticism, clearly shows amnesia. Let us recall that the operation in Afghanistan is just the only case of the application of the very fifth article of the NATO Charter, on which the US allies are so hoping. The only one in the entire 70-year history of the organization! Moreover, it was not America that came to the defense of the allies, but, on the contrary, they fulfilled their obligations to defend the United States after the September 11, 2001 attack. This fact somehow does not like to be remembered by NATO members themselves. Indeed, then it turns out that it is not America that is the “security umbrella” for its vassals. On the contrary, they are obliged to protect the sovereign, faithfully serve the interests of the United States, sending their sons to death, but their opinions and interests should not be taken into account.
Another Atlantic Council * expert, American-Italian journalist Dave Keating, also stresses: “The sudden withdrawal raises questions about America’s commitment to protect its allies and whether NATO is truly an alliance or just a military protectorate in which Washington exclusively gives orders.” …
In general, it is worth noting that the historical terms of the era of empires are very often used now by Western analysts trying to describe the relationship between the United States and its allies. Some recall the book “The Next Decade” by the famous American “predictor of the future” and founder of the private intelligence company Stratfor George Friedman. The very book in which the author directly proposed to secure the status of an empire for the United States and complained that America does not adopt the experience of “successful” empires like the Roman or British. This “prophecy” is now increasingly remembered in connection with the fact that this year is the final one in the decade that Friedman tried to describe. And, as you can see now, it clearly failed, at least in relation to the Afghan crisis.
The attitude of the United States to its allies as “powerless provinces” was also pointed out by the Slovak analyst Eduard Khmelar, who said: “The United States has long behaved like an empire. Like any empire, it has its own global interests, but no global responsibility. In addition, the US has its own servants. ” The Slovak directly calls the American ambassador “the governor of the empire” and agrees with the Czech President Zeman that the NATO budget is a black hole into which solid European budgets are being sucked completely uselessly.
Khmelar’s assessment is derogatory for NATO: “The failure in Afghanistan is the deepest crisis of the Alliance in its history. Even the Soviets left this country with dignity, with war banners raised, and we fled like frightened lousy dogs.” In this regard, the Slovak proposes to abandon the old approaches of the Cold War period and build a new global architecture of world security, ending senseless “imperial wars”.
Khmelar does not even hide the fact that he means Russia’s participation in this new system – Moscow has proposed this idea many times in its time. But, of course, this idea is not shared by the lion’s share of Western analysts, who do not even keep a secret that they are not so afraid of the revival of jihadism and world terrorism, as much as the strengthening against the background of the Afghan crisis of Russia and China, who, they say, are indifferent to whether human rights are being violated in Afghanistan or not. It is as if the United States worried about the equal rights of women or other groups of the population when it created, supported and armed the Afghan mujahideen during the years of the presence of Soviet troops in that region.
No matter how the European media criticized America and Biden personally, they still lament: “We need a world gendarme” in the person of the United States. “Otherwise, chaos will begin,” Daniel Finkelstein, columnist for the British The Times, frightens his audience. He clearly fears that if Europe calls 999 (the British emergency number), America will not pick up the phone.
This also scares the Europeans another American would-be fortune-teller – Bret Stevens, who for many years called on America to bomb everything and everyone (even in Afghanistan, even in Syria, even in Russia), for which he also received the Pulitzer Prize. This time, he states: “Critics of American foreign policy have consistently attacked the idea that the United States should play the role of the world’s policeman, and are calculating the costs of such a role. They will soon find out how much these costs can increase if the policeman leaves from my work “. Like, tremble, vassals, if your overlord forgets about you for a minute and you don’t have to die for his interests for a while.
The Americans themselves are reassured: not everything is so bad, the majority of Europeans still support NATO and America. True, the results of sociological polls, which took place long before the tragic events at the Kabul airport, are cited in confirmation (Zeman, in the interview mentioned above, warned that these figures would change in the near future).
French diplomat Haro, describing the current situation, also resorts to imperial terminology: “The empire is tired, and the legions are returning home.” That’s all. He clearly forgot what the “tired” empires ended up with – suffice it to recall the experience of that same Rome, which relied on the loyalty of its limitrophes, who actually hated their master.
At the same time, according to Aro, “the fatigue of the empire” just leads to a situation where “the Europeans have nothing to expect from the United States in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and the Sahel, in addition to diplomatic support.” The Frenchman admits: “Europe is on fire, but a firefighter from the United States will not come to the rescue.” So there really is no point in calling 999. A tired empire doesn’t care about the safety of vassals.
* Non-profit organization acting as a foreign agent.
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