What is the Best Path Forward for U.S. Foreign Policy Regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 30, 2009
Man Watches Sunset on Outskirts of Islamabad

President Obama and Secretary Clinton named Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to serve as Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, two very different countries intertwined by geography and ethnicity. Ambassador Holbrooke will help coordinate foreign assistance to the region and work closely with partners on an integrated approach to address the situation in Afghanistan. In remarks, Ambassador Holbrooke said, “[W]e should underscore that we fully respect the fact that Pakistan has its own history, its own traditions, and it is far more than the turbulent, dangerous tribal areas on its western border.”

What is the best path forward for U.S. foreign policy regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Comments

Comments

Timothy
|
Minnesota, USA
February 4, 2009

Timothy in Minnesota writes:

The U.S. cannot afford to abandon Afghanistan like it had in the 70's -- creating a power vaccum that had allowed the creation of a compassionless terror network known as Al-Qaeda. However, we must also keep ourselves from becoming the worlds police and taking up the international complexities of other nations. As for the war in Afghanistan, as a member of the U.S. Air Force (but speaking on behalf of myself only) I still believe that the decapitation of Al-Qaeda through the death or capture of Usama Bin Laden is our primary objective. Apparently hiding out in Waziristan or Baluchastan, the U.S. should strengthen its ties to Pakistan (but set stringent conditions that Pakistan lay the groundwork for a more open democratic system) in order to effectively seal off any escape routes or travel routes that he may have in the country. However, the death of Usama Bin Laden is majorly a symbolic defeat of Al-Qaeda simply put because Al-Qaeda has evolved into a franchise in which any alienated muslim across the world can claim to be a member of Al-Qaeda and begin to carry out attacks in their region. The best way to defeat Islamic Extremism is to educate the West about true Islamic princicples and values -- not the fanatic brand of Islam displayed across our televisions as young muslims blow themselves up in a greatly misguided interpretation of 'jihad.' President Obama made his first great step during his inauguration speech when he opened up a friendly hand towards the Muslim world, but he must put his words into action. Over the past two decades we have seen a significant decline in U.S. popularity within the Middle East (as well as South-west Asia) due to the unilateral policies the previous administration had adopted. Until the East and West begin to realize how similar we are as humans (in that, we all wish to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), there will never be an understanding between us and there will never be true peace.

Zharkov
|
United States
February 4, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

According to the GAO, the U.S. cannot afford much of anything today -- not Afghanistan, not Iraq, maybe not even California.

Judy
|
Wisconsin, USA
February 4, 2009

Judy in Wisconsin writes:

STOP missile attacks!

9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows has published an excellent "Primer for Peace Activists" which calls for an "End to the occupation of Afghanistan"...

So, set a swift timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO military forces, to be substituted by UN forces for short-term security ....

Support negotiations between all parties involved in the conflict.

Thanks.

Stephen
|
United States
February 4, 2009

Stephen in U.S.A. writes:

I think the best path forward is for the United States to stop firing missiles into Pakistan and killing innocent civilians, as happened recently with President Obama's approval.

Please attend to this matter promptly.

Thank you.

John
|
Greece
February 4, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Nice anti-American conspiracy scenario Z. Do you "hope" that America will have to face what happened to Soviets in 1992?

No!

America will stay UNITED! All the STATES!

Eric in NM, in a 2008 comment was absolutely right. United States may have some "strange" -- temporarily -- financial "problems" right now, but soon enough you will understand that this blessed country/continent does not have to fear a thing.

Instead of what happens in CA, why don'ts you comment on what the Russians are trying to build again? A new Warsaw Pact?

And then what? Tanks again?

By the way, I liked so much the President's suggestion: BUY AMERICAN PRODUCTS!

Ernest
|
Arizona, USA
February 5, 2009

Ernest in Arizona writes:

An exchange of students, academics, social scientists and religious leaders on a regular basis might help build an improved understanding within each country of each country as I beleive we did with "ping pong" diplomacy with China.

Abdul R.
|
Virginia, USA
February 5, 2009

Abdul R. in Virginia writes:

I strongly believe that United States government should meet its interests through diplomatic channels. That means it should reverse Bush Administration's failed foreign policies especially towards Pakistan. By firing missiles into Pakistan, we are sending a wrong message to Pakistan and the world that we are an irresponsible nation especially because of innocent civilian casualities. First, Obama foreign policy team needs to understand that a better and secure Pakistan is in the interests of the United States and this world. If we have an insecure and a failed Pakistan, it will only spread the damage to U.S. allies in the South Asian region and several other parts of the world. Furthermore, by firing missiles into Pakistan, it is only creating more Anti-american sentiment. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan need to improve its country's security. Unfortunately, when there is no accountability of top leaders in Pakistan or Afghanistan, ordinary people also tend to break rules and laws. The problem of Pakistan and Afghanistan is its weak judiciary system which needs to be badly repaired. When everyone from President of the country to an ordinary person will be held for their actions, then only can nations like Pakistan and Afghanistan can grow and develop well. Only by having a strong law and order system in such countries, terrorists can be brought to justice for a trial. Also, U.S. cannot afford to be blind to give massive aid to fight terrorism. Certainly aid is given to countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, but there is no accountability where the money is actually spent. Also, We cannot always win a war through force. We must remember to balance diplomacy and force and use both tools whenever necessary. At the end, United States must also be brave and try to understand what militants/terrorists want. What I mean by that is that we must understand both sides of the situation. Only then we can make a better foreign policy.

Terry
|
Connecticut, USA
February 5, 2009

Terry in Connecticut writes:

We need to bring more troops to Afganistan which Pres. Obama is about to do. We should pressure the Pakistan goverment to help us more in tracking down the real 9/11 criminal Osama Bin Laden. No more excuses and lip service from Pakistan!

Zharkov
|
United States
February 5, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Our current foreign policy and these wars are breaking the backs of the American taxpayers. We can't afford to occupy Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the rest of the planet. The money it takes to keep the federal government going off in all directions is creating a financial vacuum in America. You can see the financial devastation across the U.S. -- the Rust Belt, a place that was the foundation for American wealth is now the graveyard of America's future. Unemployment is soaring. The dollar is collapsing as our federal government continues to be looted to reimburse the wealthy class for their losses. Obviously, there is something wrong with our government and its policies because it has bankrupted our country.

What part of Mr. Kissinger's "New World Order" do YOU want -- the endless wars, the starvation, the poverty, or the economic slavery of endless indebtedness?

Can you not ask yourselves, what did Mr. Holbrook do at the last few Bilderberg meetings? What was Senator Clinton doing at the Bilderberg?

What was their agenda and what was discussed, and why are these people meeting in secret, and why do our state security forces protect their secret meetings apparently at our expense?

Exactly whose interests are being served at these meetings and why do our government officials meet with foreign leaders and participate without any public record of the meetings? What connection exists between Bilderberg and the present economic collapse? How much of "our" foreign policy is made in these secret meetings?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 5, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Part2 (cont...):

"Aside from the demoralizing effect on the world at large and the possibilities of disturbances arising as a result of the desperation of the people concerned, the consequences to the economy of the United States should be apparent to all. It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any assistance that this government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation, I am sure, on the part of the United States government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. Furthermore, governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States.

It is already evident that, before the United States government can proceed much further in its efforts to alleviate the situation and help start the European world on its way to recovery, there must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take in order to give proper effect to whatever action might be undertaken by this government. It would be neither fitting nor efficacious for this government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a program designed to place Europe on its feet economically. This is the business of the Europeans. The initiative, I think, must come from Europe. The role of this country should consist of friendly aid in the drafting of a European program and of later support of such a program so far as it may be practical for us to do so. The program should be a joint one, agreed to by a number, if not all, European nations.

An essential part of any successful action on the part of the United States is an understanding on the part of the people of America of the character of the problem and the remedies to be applied. Political passion and prejudice should have no part. With foresight, and a willingness on the part of our people to face up to the vast responsibility which history has clearly placed upon our country, the difficulties I have outlined can and will be overcome."

--Remarks of Secretary of State George C. Marshall
Harvard University, June 5, 1947

Source URL: http://iraq.usembassy.gov

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 5, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Part 1:

When Gen. LeMay ordered the firebombing of Tokyo in March 45, hundreds of thousands died in a single night, more so than both Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. A million were left homeless.

That is war at its most ruthless, waged against the ruthless by those forced to meet brutality with equal measure, in order to end war.

That was then, this is now, and the "Lessons from History" remain the same.
-EJ

-----

"I need not tell you that the world situation is very serious. That must be apparent to all intelligent people. I think one difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation. Furthermore, the people of this country are distant from the troubled areas of the Earth, and it is hard for them to comprehend the plight and consequent reactions of the long-suffering peoples and the effect of those reactions on their governments in connection with our efforts to promote peace in the world.

In considering the requirements for the rehabilitation of Europe, the physical loss of life, the visible destruction of cities, factories, mines, and railroads was correctly estimated, but it has become obvious during recent months that this visible destruction was probably less serious than the dislocation of the entire fabric of European economy. For the past 10 years conditions have been highly abnormal. The feverish preparation for war and the more feverish maintenance of the war effort engulfed all aspects of national economies. Machinery has fallen into disrepair or is entirely obsolete. Under the arbitrary and destructive Nazi rule, virtually every possible enterprise was geared into the German war machine. Long-standing commercial ties, private institutions, banks, insurance companies, and shipping companies disappeared through loss of capital, absorption through nationalization, or by simple destruction. In many countries, confidence in the local currency has been severely shaken. The breakdown of the business structure of Europe during the war was complete. Recovery has been seriously retarded by the fact that two years after the close of hostilities, a peace settlement with Germany and Austria has not been agreed upon. But even given a more prompt solution of these difficult problems, the rehabilitation of the economic structure of Europe quite evidently will require a much longer time and greater effort than has been foreseen.

There is a phase of this matter which is both interesting and serious. The farmer has always produced the foodstuffs to exchange with the city dweller for the other necessities of life. This division of labor is the basis of modern civilization. At the present time it is threatened with breakdown. The town and city industries are not producing adequate goods to exchange with the food-producing farmer. Raw materials and fuel are in short supply. Machinery is lacking or worn out. The farmer or the peasant cannot find the goods for sale which he desires to purchase. So the sale of his farm produce for money which he cannot use seems to him an unprofitable transaction. He, therefore, has withdrawn many fields from crop cultivation and is using them for grazing. He feeds more grain to stock and finds for himself and his family an ample supply of food, however short he may be on clothing and the other ordinary gadgets of civilization. Meanwhile, people in the cities are short of food and fuel, and in some places approaching the starvation levels. So the governments are forced to use their foreign money and credits to procure these necessities abroad. This process exhausts funds which are urgently needed for reconstruction. Thus, a very serious situation is rapidly developing which bodes no good for the world. The modern system of the division of labor upon which the exchange of products is based is in danger of breaking down.

The truth of the matter is that Europe's requirements for the next three or four years of foreign food and other essential products -- principally from America -- are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character.

The remedy lies in breaking the vicious circle and restoring the confidence of the European people in the economic future of their own countries and of Europe as a whole. The manufacturer and the farmer throughout wide areas must be able and willing to exchange their products for currencies, the continuing value of which is not open to question."

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 5, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Exit options:

>Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 03:41:03 -0600
>To: secretary@state.gov
>From: Eric from New Mexico
>Subject: "Powell doctrine"-- Exit options
>
(excerpt)
> Dear Mr. Secretary,

It seems logical to me when looking at the rebuilding of Germany and Japan after WW2, why we haven't been targets of terrorism by these former enemies, it may also be logical to view the rise of Hitler as a direct result of the sanctions imposed opon Germany at the end of WW1.

I agree that the war that has been declared opon us will take time, and cost much to win. I hope you will forgive my being so bold as to propose the following;

Based opon the fact that the people of Afghanistan have no self-determination of their fate, and are at the mercy of the Taliban(or who-ever controls them), and given the fact so many are abandoning the country in fear, it seems to me that this mission must be a liberation, not a reprisal, I mean by this that we perform surgery-heal the patient(Afghanistan).

In order to retain support, especially throughout the Arab world, for a sustained presence in the region, it will be necessary to address the humanitarian needs of the refugees immediately to;

A.Show compassion in the midst of our wrath.

B.To prevent further human suffering due to terrorist acts opon us.

I will base the following on the assumption that the military surgery undertaken will remove the cancer in a similar fashion as in WW2-unconditional surrender.(*)

Given the resulting void in government structure, and to avoid setting up what might be viewed as a "puppet" government, I propose this as an alternative:

Restore the government prior to the Soviet invasion, most of that ruling family is in exile.(although a monarchy,it held democratic ideals despite the influence of the Soviets and had no clue about the Soviet agenda until too late) . I have only my gut instinct to go on,but the "northern alliance" might agree to this as it would bring the country full circle, bringing hope again and the ability to function as a distinct political entity in the U.N.

In addition I believe that the whole premise by which we may safely exit the situation with the goals in hand is this; If the average Afghan citizen can say they're better off than they were before the Taliban took over, and having the world's help rebuilding, not only will the world respect us, but we'll give them nothing to hate us for in the future. The massive response with food, shelter, clothing to the refugees prior to any action against the Taliban or bin Laden will immediately let the world know without a doubt that we consider them victims of terrorist aggression, and that our mission is to rid them of this and restore sanity.

If we do this right, the long term prognosis will be a full recovery from a terminal illness. Afghanistan may need a decade of peace to achieve this. The stability necessary for this can only come from the people's desire to be at peace, and a hope for the future.

(*) Unconditional surrender in this case does not require use of nuclear weapons to achieve objective, if used, all support will evaporate, and the objective (long term)is lost. I believe it's logical given the terrain, that this may have been considered, hopefully only for a fraction of a second.

-end excerpt-

Two days after Senator (now Vice President) Biden's office sent me the read reciept he publicly called for "a Marshall plan for Afghanistan". A curious case of parallel thinking perhaps. As an ordinary citizen, the probability of a few letters making any difference in the course of his government's policies or course of action, is so remote that his fellow citizens would consider him to be crazy to even try.

As I have since learned, these and other letters were reviewed by over a half dozen individuals in both the Dept of State and the Whitehouse after they were recieved.

But whether they were read by the recipients themselves could not confirmed via constituancy services.

Apparently this citizen does not have a "need to know."

But the "thank you!" from Ambassador Robert Finn (1st US ambassador to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taleban gave me a fair idea they were not passed around Washington as a joke.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 6, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Lessons from history:

(excerpt)

>Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2001 14:14:12 -0600
>To: john_kerry@kerry.senate.gov,senator@billnelson.senate.gov,senator@biden.senate.gov,senator@dodd.senate.gov,senator@enzi.senate.gov,senator_frist@frist.senate.gov,jesse_helms@helms.senate.gov,webmail@brownback.senate.gov
>From: Eric in New Mexico
>Subject: Lessons from history
>> To whom it may concern,

In regards to Sen. Helm's 20/20 hindsight on Iraq(CNN-9/23), I believe he is correct in stating that we should have removed Saddam Hussein from power. Sanctions do not work, history has proved that economic sanctions hurt the average citizens, and promotes a climate ideal for the incubation of terrorism. If you look at the National-Socialist(and Hitler's)rise to power in Germany, the treaty of Versais, and the sanctions that were imposed at the time, were a major contributing factor.

When WW2 ended, Germany and Japan were rebuilt politically and economically under the Marshall plan, and there have been no terrorist attacks instigated by these countries. In light of the present situation, I hope you will consider this:

A. The Afghan people are victims of terrorism, and a religious government that may be compared in thought and deed to the Spanish inquisition. Millions of refugees are the result.

B. The only way these people will return home to rebuild is when it is safe to do so, this will not happen if the Taliban are allowed to remain.

C. World support will hinge(in the long term)on whether we are perceived as liberators or "Satan".This will depend on our commitment to restore Afghanistan to sanity, and will require an internationally backed "Marshall" type plan to succeed.

D. Russian and American involvement there in years past has been instrumental in creating the current situation, as such, It may be our responsibility to correct it.

---end excerpt---

"lessons from history" (part-2) sent and received Oct 4th 2001

(excerpts)

"As no one can foresee the future, I have only my instincts to guide me, out of a sense of duty to my grandfather's memory I have chosen to contact you again to caution you all that I believe we have been, and continue to be, manipulated into action that will give rise to the largest mass religious manipulation of people in history. Let the world become aware of the manipulation, and watch as Islam takes a good look at itself.

As I believe we are. I have read the Quoran, and I did so in order that I might understand my landlord's actions last year, a devout Muslim, his neglect of his family shocked all of New Mexico. "In some cases,the situation is such that you cannot walk away from it, and remain human." were the words I remember saying then. Today I believe it would accurately describe the situation in Afghanistan. What we cannot permit ourselves to do is turn a blind eye to their fate."
....

Lessons from history part-3 "echoes from the past"
(Sent Oct.7th 2001)

Shortly before the coup in 1973, the U.S. embassy began building a church for its employees(and anyone else wishing to enter).The Prime Minister(Moussa Shafik) then had it demolished, not because it posed a threat to the Muslim beliefs that the population held, but because we did not ask permission. Had we asked in advance, I have it on good authority that permission would have been granted. Prince Dauod came into power a year later, he imprisoned Asham Maywandwal(ex prime minister under Zahir Shah) Who he believed was CIA and plotted his overthrow by a coalition of extremist Muslims, trained in Pakistan.

In 1978 the first Russian controlled government under Noor Mohammad Taraki and Hafizolla Amin conspired to kidnap and kill the U.S. ambassador and made it appear that opposition Shiite groups had been responsible. Why we did not respond at that time is a question only you may have the power to discover. It may be that mistakes, like not showing basic respect, as small as they seem at the time, have contributed to our diplomatic failures in the past. It is clear to me that we have lacked consistency and vision in the past, the tug of war that both Democrat and Republican administrations have had with Congress have been manifest in our policies and there lies the crux of the problem, and the solution."

--end excerpt--

Paul O.
|
North Carolina, USA
February 6, 2009

Paul O. in North Carolina writes:

Our policy towards Afghanistan should be to maintain or increase troop levels until we have the same cohesive government that is propelling itself forward in Iraq. Definitive borders need to be established for Pakistan. The issue between India and Pakistan is very volatile, and should be addressed immediately. I believe if we coerce leadership in Afghanistan to be a positive force in the region, we should have them help engage the region. Make the leadership in Pakistan accountable for its actions, and make them understand that a leader leads by example. Pakistan is actually the newest democracy out of the initial engagement, Musharaff only just took off his uniform. Good luck, and best wishes. Hurry home because Mexico is rising.

Jamil
|
Lebanon
February 6, 2009

Jamil in Lebanon writes:

A nation building manual has not been written.

We can only go therefore, with reverse engineering. What is the stable form of any democratic government: a tripod : security/ legality/ information flow.

The U.S. foreign policy has been chronically anemic on legality. This is the high moral ground that is necessary for the U.S. to perch on, in order the reduce security investment and increase credibility.

Traditions, the laws of the land, the girders of social order have waned extensively in both countries. Tradition is a very slow percolator compared to the fast, dizzying acceleration of modernization. Traditions are no match to the explosion in population and urbanization.

Both Pakistan & Afghanistan have a frightening bulge of youthful population. It is burgeoning at a rate that has out run traditions, and out paced the services of bureaucracies in both states. To attain stability we have to help them regain social order, fast.

People interface with the law for all the workings of their social activities. Currently the state of APPLICATION of the laws is this: traditional laws, mixed with contemporary laws adjudicated under bureaucratic/ political institutions that are stretched beyond their designed capability. In this lapse, gap, chasm is where Islamic movements spawn and propagate.

Enter technology, and performance is boosted exponentially.

Make the dynamic of the LAW the first order of the political process of nation "rehabilitation". Not the slogan "rule of law", which is very likely to provoke recoil. Address the MECHANICS, the EFFICIENCY, the RESPONSIVENESS of the EXISTING system.

Invest urgently in updating the mechanics (computerizing) of the LOCAL judiciary systems in both countries as they stand currently.

Do not interfere with the law itself, lest you become sitting duck targets of accusations by the current usurpers of tradition: the Islamic movements. You will be easy prey for their propaganda, and so inadvertently become fodder for their cannon.

Instead,

Transform the operating bureaucracy of the Judiciary from a state of agonizing sloth, to a responsive and efficient state. The impact will be that citizens will quickly reconnect with the state. Give those societies the tools for political auto-regeneration. The only incubator of good citizens is timely justice.

Change the U.S. paradigm of engagement: from arms to computers and software in places that effect many people. The US in this role will be abiding by the eternal wisdom of the Chinese proverb: if you meet a hungry man, do not give him a fish, teach him how to fish.

Provide the Pakistanis and Afghans with tools to bridge the massive chasm into which Islamic movements are driving the citizens of both nations (and beyond).

Good luck.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 6, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

5000 character limit and I still gotta cut up posts into parts..(chuckle) This is the email I was refering to in respect to VP Biden in my last post.

>Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2001 14:14:12 -0600
>To: john_kerry@kerry.senate.gov,senator@billnelson.senate.gov,senator@biden.senate.gov,senator@dodd.senate.gov,senator@enzi.senate.gov,senator_frist@frist.senate.gov,jesse_helms@helms.senate.gov,webmail@brownback.senate.gov
>From: Eric J.
>Subject: Lessons from history
>> To whom it may concern,
In regards to Sen. Helm's 20/20 hindsight on Iraq(CNN-9/23), I believe he is correct in stating that we should have removed Saddam Hussein from power. Sanctions do not work, history has proved that economic sanctions hurt the average citizens, and promotes a climate ideal for the incubation of terrorism. If you look at the National-Socialist(and Hitler's)rise to power in Germany, the treaty of Versais, and the sanctions that were imposed at the time, were a major contributing factor.

When WW2 ended, Germany and Japan were rebuilt politically and economically under the Marshall plan, and there have been no terrorist attacks instigated by these countries. In light of the present situation, I hope you will consider this:

A.The Afghan people are victims of terrorism, and a religious government that may be compared in thought and deed to the Spanish inquisition. Millions of refugees are the result.

B.The only way these people will return home to rebuild is when it is safe to do so, this will not happen if the Taliban are allowed to remain.

C.World support will hinge(in the long term)on whether we are perceived as liberators or "Satan".This will depend on our commitment to restore Afghanistan to sanity, and will require an internationally backed "Marshall" type plan to succeed.

D.Russian and American involvement there in years past has been instrumental in creating the current situation, as such, It may be our responsibility to correct it.

E.Russian hesitancy to get involved should be understandable-If we were asked to return to Vietnam, we'd feel the same way.

D.The threat of nuclear weapons being used, in the event that hostilities are not confined, is very real, not only if Pakistan is attacked by the Taliban, but as a result of further terrorist attacks on NATO members.

F.If we use force, we must be willing to go "all the way", unconditional surrender and nothing less, for the terrorists and regimes supporting them, no exemption.

Zharkov
|
United States
February 6, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Here is what one former U.S. government official says about our truly "foreign" policy:

"In the fall of 2001 I attended a private investment conference in London to give a paper, The Myth of the Rule of Law or How the Money Works: The Destruction of Hamilton Securities Group.

The presentation documented my experience with a Washington-Wall Street partnership that had:

1. Engineered a fraudulent housing and debt bubble;

2. Illegally shifted vast amounts of capital out of the U.S.;

3. Used "privitization" as form or piracy -- a pretext to move government assets to private investors at below-market prices and then shift private liabilities back to government at no cost to the private liability holder.

Other presenters at the conference included distinguished reporters covering privatization in Eastern Europe and Russia. As the portraits of British ancestors stared down upon us, we listened to story after story of global privatization throughout the 1990s in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Slowly, as the pieces fit together, we shared a horrifying epiphany: the banks, corporations and investors acting in each global region were the exact same players.

They were a relatively small group that reappeared again and again in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia accompanied by the same well-known accounting firms and law firms.

Clearly, there was a global financial coup d'etat underway.

The magnitude of what was happening was overwhelming. In the 1990's, millions of people in Russia had woken up to find their bank accounts and pension funds simply gone -- eradicated by a falling currency or stolen by mobsters who laundered money back into big New York Fed member banks for reinvestment to fuel the debt bubble.

Reports of politicians, government officials, academics, and intelligence agencies facilitating the racketeering and theft were compelling. One lawyer in Russia, living without electricity and growing food to prevent starvation, was quoted as saying, "We are being de-modernized."

Several years earlier, I listened to three peasant women describe the War on Drugs in their respective countries: Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. I asked them, "After they sweep you into camps, who gets your land and at what price?" My question opened a magic door. They poured out how the real economics worked on the War on Drugs, including the stealing of land and government contracts to build housing for the people who are displaced.

At one point, suspicious of my understanding of how this game worked, one of the women said, "You say you have never been to our countries, yet you understand exactly how the money works. How is this so?"

I replied that I had served as Assistant Secretary of Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the United States where I oversaw billions of dollars of government investment in U.S. communities. Apparently, it worked the same way in their countries as it worked in mine.

I later found out that the government contractor leading the War on Drugs strategy for U.S. aid to Peru, Colombia and Bolivia was the same contractor in charge of knowledge management for HUD enforcement. This Washington-Wall Street game was a global game. The peasant women of Latin America were up against the same financial pirates and business model as the people in South Central Los Angeles, West Philadelphia, Baltimore and the South Bronx.

Later, courageous reporting by Naomi Klein and Greg Palast confirmed in detail that the privitization and economic warfare model I discussed in London had deep roots in Latin America.

We were experiencing a global "heist": capital was being sucked out of country after country. The presentation I gave in London revealed a piece of the puzzle that was difficult for the audience to fathom. This was not simply happening in the emerging markets. It was happening in America, too."

Why does the "international financial community" want to destroy even the poorest nations on earth? And why should we help them by preparing Pakistan for economic servitude?

Suggested reading: "WAR IS A RACKET" by Marine General, Smedley Butler.

adam
|
New York, USA
February 6, 2009

Adam in New York writes:

Well lets start by catching and killing Bin Laden and his associates. That is the reason we went there in the first place isn't it? I don't think anyone can deny that pakistan has been harboring al qaeda for far too long and its way past due that we destroy the organization in Pakistan as well because if we don't do something and Pakistan becomes more unstable and the government collapses under the burdens of constant terrorism who's going to stop al qaeda when they get ahold of their nuclear arsenal? I don't think anyone wants to see the consequences of that.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 6, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Jamil in Lebanon, You said "a nation building manual has not been written."

Well try this link and look under publications on the right side of the page, you'll find a number of "living documents" that would fit the criteria in specific areas.

http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-cutting_programs/conflict/

---

"Anyone who has witnessed the birth of one's child can tell you that yes indeed you create your own reality, the question is what do we wish to create for ourselves as reality on this planet, now and for our children's, and their children's future? Not just in this country, but the world as a whole, as an international vision.

Inherently, change is viewed with suspicion, as a threat to culture and ways of tradition and ethical belief systems. As it applies to developing countries in this nuclear age, the post-cold war aftermath presents a vast paradox that present no easy solutions, and has culminated in the reality of the war on terrorism as it exists today."

This quote is from a letter I wrote that ended up being published by the U.S. Dept of Energy in an environmental assesment as public comment.

I'm sure there's many interpretations, but your's is one to be appreciated.

Great post!

Pages

.

Latest Stories

January 27, 2009

Food for Thought

About the Author: David Nelson serves as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. Video Text… more

Pages