The death of Osama bin Laden was announced a year ago. The evidence of his death was as detailed as Obama’s birth certificate. Anyway, he’s gone. He is no longer wanted, dead or alive. He is no longer wanted by the FBI for his involvement in the attack on two U.S. embassies in Africa. (The FBI never implicated him in 9-11).
Yesterday, Obama paid a surprise — to voters — visit to Afghanistan to sign an agreement that promises something or other.
By design, the agreement is sweeping in scope but light on details. It took months of negotiations for the two sides to agree on a draft version of the pact just over a week ago. Thorny issues, including the size of America’s post-2014 force, the bases it will occupy and the degree to which its actions will be overseen by Afghan authorities, are still being worked out.
There is nothing like a good agreement with Afghanistan. Do you recall the 1999 agreement that was signed by the USA, Iran, Russia, China, and a lot of other regional players? What’s that? You don’t? Well, let me refresh your memory. There were 13 guiding principles. Here are the first three.
1. We are convinced that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict, which must be settled through peaceful political negotiation in order to establish a broad-based, multi-ethnic and fully representative Government.
2. Accordingly, we urge the Afghan parties to resume political negotiations aimed at achieving these goals.
3. In order to help bring about a cessation of hostilities, which we consider essential, we have further agreed not to provide military support to any Afghan party and to prevent the use of our territories for such purposes. We call upon the international community to take identical measures to prevent delivery of weapons to Afghanistan.
This indicates how reliable such agreements are.
The foreign policy critic Pepe Escobar over a decade ago named the region: Pipelineistan. He had it right.
The phrase, “We’re here for the duration,” sounded authoritative, even dedicated. But the question remains: Duration of what?
What constitutes a victory? When will we bring the troops home?
When the Great Default comes. When they run out of money — solvent money — in Washington, they will bring the troops home. Not before.