Irving Kristol died, but his sociopathic wet dream of never-ending war in the quest for world domination lives on through The Foreign Policy Initiative (F.P.I.). “The neoconservatives who provided the intellectual foundation for the war in Iraq convened on Monday to make a renewed push for the current administration to pursue greater military engagement in Afghanistan,” writes Sam Stein at The Huffington Post.
Today, Faiz Shakir writes at Think Progress:
The Foreign Policy Initiative (aka “PNAC 2.0”), an organization which is headed by neoconservatives Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Dan Senor, is holding a conference today and tomorrow on “Advancing & Defending Democracy.” FPI arose after its previous incarnation — the Project for a New American Century — suffered a massive blow to its credibility by staking its reputation on advocating for the “one of the worst foreign policy blunders in American history” — the Iraq war.
Kristol, Kagan, and Senor are now enthusiastically dedicating their efforts to building support for a U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan, calling such a strategy “politically smart for Republicans.” Kagan said recently that withdrawing from Afghanistan would be to “commit preemptive suicide.”
The F.P.I. conference comes as the top commander of the U.S.-led coalition occupying Afghan, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, has made a “‘private’ request for 40,000 more troops” that would put the number of troops at “‘nearly triple the number in the nation with President Obama was elected last November” and “Defense Secretary Robert Gates backs more U.S. troops on top of President Obama’s planned surge to double the U.S. presence in Afghanistan to 68,000 by the end of 2009, despite rising opposition to the occupation by the American people and the hypocritical moral bankruptcy of the current Bush-Obama War on Terror.”
Attendees and speakers at the conference include a wealth of the Republican wing of the Neo-Con elite: Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, Former U.S. Speaker and potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt among many others. Coincidentally [sic], the physical report [.pdf] with Gen. McChrystal’s “confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year” sent to Secy. Gates last month was ‘leaked’ Sunday night by Bob Woodward of… The Washington Post.
“President Obama could read the grim assessment of the Afghanistan war from his top military commander there in two possible ways”—Eric Schmitt at The New York Times writes—as: “a blunt and impassioned last-chance plea for a revamped counterinsurgency strategy bolstered by [tens of] thousands more combat troops to rescue the beleaguered, eight-year mission” or “a searing indictment of American-led NATO military operations and a corrupt Afghan civilian government, pitted against a surprisingly [sic] adaptive and increasingly dangerous insurgency” with “growing opposition to the war at home”.
“On the topic of Afghanistan,”—Mr. Stein writes—“Obama and the neocons are far closer to one another than they are apart.” And this is nothing new, so the president’s “desire to put off any major troop decision”—as Mr. Schmitt writes—is solely due to the fact that “he still needs much political capital to pass major health care legislation in Congress”. In remarks on his presidential campaign website, dated 1 August 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama posted that the problem with Afghanistan was that “we did not finish the job” and “reaffirm our basic values”, adding:
And so, a little more than a year after [9/11], I was in the streets of Chicago again, this time speaking at a rally in opposition to war in Iraq. I did not oppose all wars, I said. I was a strong supporter of the war in Afghanistan. But I said I could not support “a dumb war, a rash war” in Iraq. I worried about a ” U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences” in the heart of the Muslim world. I pleaded that we “finish the fight with bin Ladin and al Qaeda.”
President Obama said—in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press with David Gregory”— that he still opposes “indefinite occupation of other countries”. But, his actions say otherwise, as Professor Noam Chomsky notes at the most recent issue of Boston Review that “Obama is sharply escalating Bush’s war”—as he promised he would, while campaigning for the presidency—adding:
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer informed a NATO meeting that “NATO troops have to guard pipelines that transport oil and gas that is directed for the West,” and more generally have to protect sea routes used by tankers and other “crucial infrastructure” of the energy system. These plans open a new phase of Western imperial domination—more politely called “bringing stability” and “peace.”
As recently as November 2007, the White House announced plans for a long-term military presence in Iraq and a policy of “encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments.” The plans were withdrawn under Iraqi pressure, the continuation of a process that began when the United States was compelled by mass demonstrations to permit elections. In Afpak Obama is building enormous new embassies and other facilities, on the model of the city-within-a-city in Baghdad. These new installations in Iraq and Afpak are like no embassies in the world, just as the United States is alone in its vast military-basing system and control of the air, sea, and space for military purposes.
While Obama is signaling his intention to establish a firm and large-scale presence in the region, he is also following General Petraeus’s strategy to drive the Taliban into Pakistan, with potentially quite serious consequences for this dangerous and unstable state facing insurrections throughout its territory. These are most extreme in the tribal areas crossing the British-imposed Durand line separating Afghanistan from Pakistan, which the Pashtun tribes on both sides of the artificial border have never recognized, nor did the Afghan government when it was independent. In an April publication of the Center for International Policy, one of the leading U.S. specialists on the region, Selig Harrison, writes that the outcome of Washington’s current policies might well be “what Pakistani ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani has called an ‘Islamic Pashtunistan.'” Haqqani’s predecessor had warned that if the Taliban and Pashtun nationalists merge, “we’ve had it, and we’re on the verge of that.”
Prospects become still more ominous as drone attacks that embitter the population are escalated with their huge civilian toll. Also troubling is the unprecedented authority just granted General Stanley McChrystal—a special forces assassin—to head the operations. Petraeus’s own counter-insurgency adviser in Iraq, David Kilcullen, describes the Obama-Petraeus-McChrystal policies as a fundamental “strategic error,” which may lead to “the collapse of the Pakistani state,” a calamity that would “dwarf” other current crises.
If anything, the Neo-Con elite are walking in lock-step with Mr. Obama’s Imperial Empire. Any decision to pile onto this year’s surge in 2010 should be seen in that light, if any conversation regarding the “Af-Pak War” is to be taken at a minimal level of seriousness.