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Afghan Debacle Reminds Us That Finance Rules The World

The fall of the Afghan national government may be a calamity for the Afghans but not for the world's big-money interests, which prefer to deal with ruthless, incompetent regimes that will sell out their countries.

Afghan Debacle Reminds Us That Finance Rules The World

Evacuating operations at Kabul airport on Aug. 21

Sra Taylor Crul/U.S. Marine/Planet Pix/ZUMA
Mohammadreza Hosseini


LONDON — The world is still in shock from the sudden departure of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the collapse of its vast, national army, and the Taliban overrunning the country within days before an almost coordinated silence among governments and media.

People everywhere are asking: What really happened? There is no convincing answer yet. Initially it was said that Washington's policies toward the Taliban had failed. Then, that the Taliban were themselves Afghans, unlike the Pakistani Taliban, and somehow "working with" the Americans. Then U.S. President Joe Biden tells us: we never intended to forge a democracy in Afghanistan, but a security cordon for ourselves.

But one thing for sure he hasn't clearly explained is how 20 years of presence had left such an ill-prepared Afghan army behind. Did the Americans and the Afghan army agree not to fight? What led Biden and others to conclude the United States no longer had interests in Afghanistan?

Such questions often remain unanswered even if politicians know the answers. Decisionmakers deal precisely with these questions when meeting at international summits like G7 or at Davos. That is where it would be agreed that the United States can vacate Afghanistan and who's to come in its place. Yes, global capital is the guiding force behind such plans, and its interests and methods are the only explanation for the Taliban's unchallenged power grab. The same can be said about the world's silence over the crimes perpetrated by Iran's regime and the killings of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of civilians. Yet where it serves globalized interests, the world is whipped into a frenzy over the death of an individual and an incident becomes media fodder for weeks.

Globalism is neither a necessity nor an inevitable consequence of capitalist development.

Media of course are a key tool for the global control of both mass and élite opinions. A study from June 2020 by the Oxford Internet Institute cited China's direct influence, through think tanks and cash, on the world's most influential media. Its aim has been to sway opinion in favor of its Belt and Road initiative, which would reorder global economic ties and spread Chinese influence across Asia. Through the media, China wants to impose the idea, particularly in Europe, that its rise to global preeminence is inevitable and liberal democracy is no longer the only option.

It used these tools to divert suspicions about the Wuhan laboratory being the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, propaganda and cultural infiltrations are no novelty in communism. And in spite of the Soviet Union's collapse, communism's influence on Western minds and cultural institutions endures. It has merged today with the globalizing tendency led by China and includes perversions like support for reactionary regimes that have thrown in their lot with the "Eastern" bloc.

Evacuating women from Kabul to Spain on Aug. 29 — Photo: Mc2 Katie Cox/U.S. Navy/Planet Pix/ZUMA

Globalism is neither a necessity nor an inevitable consequence of capitalist development. It is forged and fine-tuned at the élite summits in order to maximize coordination between regional capital blocks and ease capital flows. It has little time for personal or labor rights and will turn if need be to changing political structures, or bringing down nations and "little" economies.

What it wants is a global market, not global welfare. It has already, willy-nilly, forced states to cut benefits and healthcare, pummel wages, delay retirement and create "zero-hour" contracts, while boosting spending on arms. But it also requires incompetent governance — by Taliban, mullahs or militias — and discord abroad.

Since the Taliban won't be able to entirely fill NATO's place, there is room in Afghanistan for other, unruly forces. As we witnessed with last week's attacks, Afghan lives and civil society will be swept away, but that is of little concern to the global society. Its concern is profit, and more profit. For that it needs the resources repressive regimes will sell it cheap to earn the world's indulgence for their repressive acts.

Recent events are a turning point as the United States cedes its place to China.

Not content to ruin their own countries, the revolutionary zeal of these regimes inevitably leads them to stir trouble among neighbors. Which is fine, as fearful countries will purchase more arms. The aim in any case is to keep governments weak and ensure they will not obstruct profits from flowing to where they must.

The reasons why strong parties and institutions did not emerge in Afghanistan should be studied elsewhere, but recent events are a turning point as the United States cedes its place to China as the ranking superpower. An appeasement-minded outlook may have led many Western politicians to overlook the former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's observation that since Mao, Chinese leaders have simply mastered the art of diplomatic bluffing, or bluster, to get to where they are today.

Globalism is turning into capitalism in its most ruthless form, undermining nations, states and culture to forge and control its single market.

Perhaps the only thing that might stop its plans is public awareness. It doesn't seem like much today, but with a few more shocks like Afghanistan, people might take the first step, and shake off the chains of the false promises coming out of the media.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After The War, After Abbas: Who's Most Likely To Be The Future Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked bitterly: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photograph of Palestinian artists working on a mural that shows the  jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghout. A little girl watches them work.

April 12, 2023: Palestinian artists work by a mural shows jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza.

Nidal Al-Wahidi/ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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