Will Russia, China, and their Eurasian consortium be able to sort out the mess that is Afghanistan? From Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:
China and Russia will be key to solving an ancient geopolitical riddle: how to pacify the ‘graveyard of empires’…
So this is the way the Forever War in Afghanistan ends – if one could call it an ending. Rather, it’s an American repositioning.
Regardless, after two decades of death and destruction and untold trillions of dollars, we’re faced not with a bang – and not with a whimper, either – but rather with a pic of the Taliban in Tianjin, a nine-man delegation led by top political commissioner Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, solemnly posing side by side with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Lateral echoes of another Forever War – in Iraq – apply. First, there was the bang: the US not as “the new OPEC,” as per how the neo-con mantra had visualized it, but with the Americans not even getting the oil. Then came the whimper: “No more troops” after December 31, 2021 – except for the proverbial “contractor” army.
The Chinese received the Taliban on an official visit in order once again to propose a very straightforward quid pro quo: We recognize and support your political role in the process of Afghan reconstruction and in return you cut off any possible links with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, regarded by the UN as a terrorist organization and responsible for a slew of attacks in Xinjiang.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang explicitly said, “The Taliban in Afghanistan is a pivotal military and political force in the country, and will play an important role in the process of peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction there.”
This follows Wang’s remarks back in June, after a meeting with the foreign ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan, when he promised not only to “bring the Taliban back into the political mainstream” but also to host a serious intra-Afghan peace negotiation.
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Tagged Afghanistan, China, Russia, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Taliban
Slowly but surely, Russia and China are cementing their dominance in Eurasia, and Afghanistan gives them more opportunity to do so. From Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:
Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s ‘facilitate, not mediate’ role could be the key to solving the Afghan imbroglio…
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a family photo before a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Contact Group on Afghanistan, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Sputnik via AFP
Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting of Foreign Ministers on Wednesday in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, may have been an under-the-radar affair, but it did reveal the contours of the big picture ahead when it comes to Afghanistan.
So let’s see what Russia and China – the SCO’s heavyweights – have been up to.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi laid out the basic road map to his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar. While stressing the Chinese foreign policy gold standard – no interference in internal affairs of friendly nations – Wang established three priorities:
1. Real inter-Afghan negotiations towards national reconciliation and a durable political solution, thus preventing all-out civil war. Beijing is ready to “facilitate” dialogue.
2. Fighting terror – which means, in practice, al-Qaeda remnants, ISIS-Khorasan and the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Afghanistan should not be a haven for terrorist outfits – again.
3. The Taliban, for their part, should pledge a clean break with every terrorist outfit.
Atmar, according to diplomatic sources, fully agreed with Wang. And so did Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin. Atmar even promised to work with Beijing to crack down on ETIM, a Uighur terror group founded in China’s western Xinjiang. Overall, the official Beijing stance is that all negotiations should be “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.”
Unipolar moments are usually brief unimoments. From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:
American leaders, politicians, policymakers and pundits are fond of talking about the “Unipolar Moment” and “Hyper Power” position that they imagine the United States enjoys in the world.
Totally lacking from this fantasy are any inconvenient historical facts.
The US Unipolar Moment (insofar as it existed at all) lasted less than a decade from the break-up of the Soviet Union at the end of December 1991 to June 15, 2001. The US “moment” barely made it into the 21st Century.
On that epochal day of June 15, 2001, two major events happened. First, US President George W. Bush gave a speech in Warsaw pledging to integrate the three tiny Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into NATO as a prime strategic goal of the United States.
The outcomes were markedly different between the G-7 summit and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:
All hell broke loose at the G6+1, aka G7, while the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) aimed at global integration and a peaceful multipolar order