Has the US been defeated in Afghanistan by Pakistan?September 27, 2011
Rajeev Srinivasan presents in this article a very harsh and stinging analysis of the US adventure in Afghanistan from an Indian point of view. The author claims that the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, has mastered “the fine art of running with the hares while hunting with the hounds” and has twisted the US to its own strategic goals (while bamboozling successive US administrations into paying for its own defeat). Srinivasan writes:
In effect, the only ones who have benefited from the collapse of American clout are the Arabs, the Pakistanis and the Chinese. The Arabs, especially the oil-exporting dictatorships (with the sole exception of Libya) have managed to maintain their status quo ante, and they have parlayed the billions from an oil-addicted world into radicalised millions everywhere through insistent propaganda.
The Pakistanis have achieved their coveted ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan which is, in effect, their colony. True, there has been some cost to them in civilian casualties and the Frankenstein monster of internal terrorism, but that is collateral damage the Army is willing to accept in the pursuit of their strategic goals.
The unkindest cut is perhaps that China has won against the Americans. Again. This is the third military conflict where China has had the better of the Americans. In Korea, they fought to a standstill. In Vietnam, a then-Chinese ally defeated the Americans. In Afghanistan, Chinese ally Pakistan is doing this. This must be China’s dream come true: they are beating the Americans militarily and economically.
Srinivasan, again, is writing from the Indian point of view and ponders the question of what India should do going forward. If I might interject my American point of view, I believe that India and the US have deeply shared interests not only in Central, South and Southwest Asia, but globally as well. I believe that India, because of its democratic heritage, relatively open society, and latent power (both hard and soft) is destined to succeed the US as global hegemon, if not at the end of the current cycle, then certainly by the end of this century when the sixth cycle closes. Just as the British handed off hegemony to the US during the last century, the United States should build deep ties with India, begin a strategy of “graceful decline,” and prepare to hand off global leadership to India. The US can play a supporting role to Indian hegemony not unlike the one that Great Britain played for the US. It is the current world system of open markets and democratic nations that best provides security and prosperity, and this is the best means of maintaining that system.