THE events of the last few weeks in Afghanistan may look like a defeat, a debacle, a disaster for the United States. Many insist it is the final nail in the coffin of American global dominance. All I can, and want to, say is, beware! It may well be just the proverbial lull before the storm.

The sea retreats before a Tsunami hits; the birds and other animals, even the wind, fall silent just before an earthquake. The US retreat may well be something similar; the prelude to something truly terrifying — a full-scale cold war between the US and China … maybe Russia will be a factor again. Who knows?

The US military is a behemoth gobbling up around $750 billion a year. It provides employment to hundreds of thousands, and, more critically, eye-popping revenue to thousands who have investments in the defence industries. Besides, it gives unimaginable power to the few who are able to control or manipulate it.

These stakeholders are not going to roll over or retreat with their tails between their legs because of what happened in Kabul. Did they learn a lesson from their Vietnam embarrassment? No. They just don’t want to. Maybe they just can’t. And, for sure, they won’t.

The US military industrial complex needs a war, and let us not have any illusions about it. The worrying thing is that the US needs another war sooner than later. The battle lines are drawn and the flash points — Taiwan, Belarus, Ukraine and others — are heating up; or are being made to heat up.

Because of its geographical location, Pakistan is likely to find itself caught in the whirlwind once again. I hope the country’s foreign policy hawks and doves are actively debating the pros and cons of every possible diplomatic posturing both immediately and in the long run. They will have to burn quite a lot of the midnight oil.

Daud Khan
Rome, Italy

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2021

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