Only days after his December 1st announcement that a second surge of 30,000 troops would be sent to Afghanistan, US President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. According to Obama, “Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.”
By Andrew Grant, Socialist Party
The reality of the past 60 years of US imperialism is far removed from the fantasy that Obama and the rest of the American ruling class would like us to believe. Despite the promises of protecting its citizens from terrorism and promoting the spread of democracy, the core agenda of the US is no different in the Afghanistan war than it has been in any other. Their aim is to extend their influence in order to secure new resources and markets.
The economic decline of the US and inter-imperialist rivalries are the key reasons for the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. As the US struggles to maintain its global influence it has been forced to use its military to control resources and territory at the expense of competing nations.
Kevin Rudd’s promise to increase Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan following Obama’s announcement demonstrates the commitment of the Australian ruling class to US imperialism. Big business in Australia sees supporting the US as a necessary payment in order to secure markets in the region and benefit from the potential strategic and economic gains to be made in the Middle East and South-Central Asia.
Meanwhile, far from solving any problems in Afghanistan, the war has led to more and more chaos and corruption. The backwards regime of the Taliban has not been replaced by a western style democracy as the White House promised, but instead the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai, who runs the country with the aid of warlords and drug traffickers.
The idea of democracy is a joke with Karzai recently allowing the passing of an ultra-reactionary law which has massively restricted the rights of women in Afghanistan’s Shia community. After over 8 years of war, causing tens of thousands of deaths and creating millions of refugees, Afghanistan’s government is still hardly any more progressive than the Taliban.
The effect that the war has had on Al Qaeda’s ability to organise and carry out terrorist attacks is also largely unknown. But the immense destruction of life and property at the hands of western forces has only strengthened radical Islam and galvanised anti western sentiment in the region. This has without a doubt increased the desire of the certain sections of the population to carry out terrorist attacks in response to western imperialism, thus further jeopardising the lives of civilians in western countries.
The reality is that the increase in troops will not bring any solution to the present situation in Afghanistan. In fact it will only prepare the ground for more violence in the future. The only way out of this crisis is through the independent struggle of workers and the poor in Afghanistan to remove the occupiers and the corrupt Afghan government. Such a movement could challenge the power of the corrupt and backwards regime that rules Afghanistan and create a socialist state based around ensuring equality and meeting human need.
In Australia socialists will continue to campaign for all troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan and for the building of independent and democratic organisations of workers and the poor.