"Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it."-Joseph Conrad.
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Why Won't the Guardian Talk About the Geopolitics of The Afghanistan War
Here's an idea for the Guardian's Online "Comment is Free" site, one I've advocated many times before without success. In response to it's question about "what you would like us to cover" I wrote,
Before another British soldier gets killed in Afghanistan and self important opinion formers appear to advise Obama what he 'could', should or must do, why not report on the actual reality of the war which is crucially concerned with NATO providing the security environment for the TAPI Pipeline and trying to force Pakistan to accept it over Iran's planned alternative ?
Put simply, NATO is in Afghanistan to secure goals, such as the TAPI Pipeline and access to resources, that are never publicly talked about as the reasons for "staying the course". As Joshua Kucera reported on EurasiaNet in March, there was a meeting ( not mentioned in The Guardian ) which is actually quite significant,
Dushanbe hosted the fifth meeting of the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan, and the U.S., as expected, used the occasion to promote its "New Silk Road" vision of a future in which Afghanistan is a hub of commerce between Central and South Asia.
"The region’s wealth of natural resources, nascent trade agreements, and a burgeoning network of transport and energy connections underscore the great economic promise of a more integrated South and Central Asia," said Robert Blake, assistant secretary of State for Central and South Asia, the U.S.'s senior representative at the meeting. "but achieving greater economic cooperation – the essence of the New Silk Road vision – will not be easy or happen overnight. It will require strong buy-in and coordination by governments in the region, its international partners, and investment from the private sector."
In other words, Western troops could be in Afghanistan for longer, indeed have been already, than politicians have said they would as the withdrawal date has consistently been pushed back. and to achieve goals that are never mentioned in the mainstream media.
The fact that securing the integration of south and central Asia is connected to the sanctions policy on Iran is worthy of mention as it broadens the perspective that obsessively focuses on Iran's purported nuclear weapons programme. The endgame in Afghanistan is about blocking off Iranian influence from the west and the rival IPI Pipeline that would deliver gas cheaper to Pakistan and India.
These strategic realities, ones that would shine fresh light on both Western involvement in Afghanistan and the tensions with Iran, are being screened out of the discussion. Perhaps CiF editors could be brave enough to commission a piece that looks at this angle on events in Central Asia. Instead of the tedious humbug that clutters up these opinion pages every day.