Blog Week 4

In this week readings, I was very interested in Andrew Hartman’s The Red Template, and the lack of foresight on the part of the United States. During the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it was the Islamic fundamentalist mujahedeen that the US used as proxies to fight the USSR. Why would they do this, when they knew from experience that these groups weren’t specifically anti-Soviet, but anti-western. It was these same types of groups that overthrew the shah in Iran, so why not try to limit their involvement? And why was not help given to them after the fighting? All of these decisions, in my opinion, were negligent and shortsighted. The way Afghanistan was used then discarded by the US has had massive repercussion in the region, from indirectly creating the Taliban all the way the Islamic State. A quote from this reading sums it up nicely:

“It was a morale boost that Muslims of the world had not experienced in quite some time. Afghanistan became a launching pad for jihad worldwide, and the USA, with its overreaching geopolitical goals, became the target.”

Afghanistan cannot the only county that has had this fate. How many other parts of the Middle East have been affected because of the cold war? Iran is definitely one of them, along with Egypt.

But enough with the negativity, what can we learn from these mistakes? Especially when we see the conflicts in Syria, I think that the only way that we avoid the disaster in Afghanistan is twofold. I feel like we need to make sure that any aid we send is out in the public eye, so that everyone knows that it was the US that helped bring peace to Syria. This is the opposite of the policies in Afghanistan, where any of the aid we sent was funneled secretly through Pakistan, as to limit the US’s presence. Secondly, there needs to be a real focus on nation building when the fighting does stop. Leaving a country in ruins just like we did Afghanistan will just lead to a country fractured and divided amongst all the different players in the region.

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2 thoughts on “Blog Week 4

  1. I agree with your criticism of the decisions of the American government during the Cold War…it’s so interesting how we’ve come to fear/hate communism so much as a culture without *really* knowing why beyond “it takes away my freedoms, and the constitution, and founding father” and other such nonsense. The author of this article was very blunt about stating the motivations of the USA in defeating communism — because communist countries don’t participate in our global economy and do not provide us with goods/resources or purchase from us, they are evil. And that is so crazy to me! Why *shouldn’t* Iran own and use all of its own oil reserves? Or if Afghanistan did not want to sell the US any resources, more power to them! That’s their prerogative as a country! Historically, we’ve denied other folks and nations their autonomy, all for the sake of capitalism…so freedom is important to Americans, but only if it applies to them. American entitlement is out of control.

    As the article states, ” US policy [in Afghanistan] is consistent with both the overarching agenda of capitalism and the ‘naive emotionalism’ of anti-communism.”

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  2. Hello,

    I completely agree with your call for transparency on U.S involvement in sending aid to other countries. You stated, “I feel like we need to make sure that any aid we send is out in the public eye, so that everyone knows that it was the US that helped bring peace to Syria. This is the opposite of the policies in Afghanistan, where any of the aid we sent was funneled secretly through Pakistan, as to limit the US’s presence.”

    Americans need to be completely informed about their involvement in the aid of other countries, because how else can we improve U.S. policies in the Middle East if we don’t know the perimeters to which we are involved? The article states that U.S foreign policy is driven by capital; which is evident in many cases, but in this case, the Capitalists wanted to stunt the growth of communism and have access to Third War resources (i.e. oil).

    I agree with your verdict that U.S involvement was short sighted. They wanted to instill a feeling of mass emotion and panic about Soviet invasion, but had little peace in reconciling peace and justice in Afghanistan after the cessation of the Cold War.

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