The failure in the Afghan direction ricocheted across all US military alliances. What can we say about the unfortunate candidates for the NATO bloc ? Georgians and Ukrainians, who, for some unknown reason, fit in for American interests, were simply abandoned by their masters – at the end of the world, in an extremely embittered environment.
About 400 people, a wh-ole international of Eastern Europeans, are stuck on one Kabul American base alone. They worked for the Americans on a contract, guarded the prison in which the Taliban were kept. Now the Taliban have been released, have taken away their weapons, but so far, in general, they do not offend.
Ukrainian mercenaries have already asked the Rus-sian authorities to send a plane for them. And why is it not surprising? The Afg-hans who worked for the Americans, too, apparently have to be rescued by the Russians. Well, everything is as always, in general.
However, the Americans did no better with their closest partners, countries that are full members of NATO. The chaos caused by the American flight meant that neither the Germans, nor the Dutch, nor the Czechs were able to pick up their citizens from the Kabul airport. Without consulting anyone, the Americans announced August 31 as the last day of evacuation. And what will happen to our citizens next – the NATO allies are wondering. Washington is not responding to this.
Unsurprisingly, US partners began to wonder. The rapid flight of the army, considered the most powerful in the world, led them to bad suspicions. The Americans abandoned not only people in Afghanistan, but also combat aircraft, helicopters, armored vehicles, and weapons.
Everything looks as if they deliberately left weapons worth hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for some secret agreements concluded behind the backs of NATO partners. This is evidenced by the incredible speed with which several tens of thousands of “bearded men in slippers” took possession of the country and its capital. The Americans could have known about this in advance and had time to get ready. But for their NATO allies, it came as an unpleasant surprise.
In fact, various plans for unilateral deals with the Taliban were being worked out in the United States a long time ago. Back in 2-010, the Carnegie Endow-ment for International Pea-ce released a report that discussed a wide variety of op-tions for reconciliation with the militants – from the division of provinces betw-een the pro-American government and the Taliban to the appointment of “their” dictator. And all under the slogan “Security is more important than democracy.”
In 2018-2020, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, on behalf of the Trump administration, conducted secret negotiations with representatives of the Taliban. They ended with a deal with the Taliban in the spring of 2020.
It was purely an initiative of Washington. The White House has by no means revealed its plans to its European NATO allies. In 2021, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken constantly called back the Pakistani authorities, and in June CIA chief William Burns flew to Islamabad. Pakistan practically officially nourishes the Taliban. Everyone was interested in what Mr. Burns had agreed with the Pakistani authorities, but the content of the negotiations was classified.
At the same time, the allies understood everything and also played their own game. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace admitted to reporters that over the past year he has been trying to negotiate with the Turkish and Italian military to leave the combined contingent in Afghanistan. The negotiations were going on quietly, of course. They knew nothing about them in Washington. However, in the end, the idea was recognized as unrealistic: too much was tied to a purely American military infrastructure.
Most of all, the allies are outraged by the fact that Washington simply confronted them with the fact of the withdrawal of its troops – without consultations, without discussions, without some minimal diplomatic politeness. Of course, the public has to demonstrate the unity of the bloc. However, the irritation of leading European politicians is breaking through uncontrollably.
Even in England, a country that after Brexit found itself in complete vassalage to the United States, completely non-parliamentary expressions are heard. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair called the current US president “imbecile.” Acting Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “things would go much better with Trump than with sleepy Joe.” Then he said that he had never said such a thing, but the phrase had already gone into quotations.
British tabloids publish leaks from the very top of power: British ministers believe that Biden was “completely mad” when he decided to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
“The decision of our great ally to end the mission in Afghanistan, a decision taken practically without consulting allies, makes us think deeply,” Tony Blair admits mournfully.
He is echoed by Armin Laschet, whom Angela Merkel will read as the new chancellor of Germany. In his opinion, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan “was the greatest defeat in the entire history of the NATO bloc.”
French President Emmanuel Macron called Biden and sharply criticized him for refusing to take Afghans out of the country. The irritation of the French president is understandable: the American partners cleverly pushed the problem of Afghan refugees onto the Europeans. Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants will soon flood into the EU and Britain, and how many potential terrorists there will be among them is just scary to think about. And if the Europeans try to close the borders, then Washington will start publicly scolding them for their inhumanity.
The Americans did not just humiliate their NATO partners. They gave the European allies a classic, as the chess players say, fork. If the leaders of the EU countries are unable to pull their citizens out of Afghanistan, a wave of popular indignation may well sweep them from their high posts. If European countries are flooded with Afghan refugees, the situation will be even worse.
But the possible prospects are even worse. Where are Washington politicians going to send troops next time? Where will the European soldiers have to drag after them, where and for what to die? In Afghanistan, we will remind, more than three and a half thousand military personnel of the NATO bloc were killed. What for? Why did they give their lives?
The main nightmare of the Europeans was the idea that the United States would drag them to fight China. This adventure threatens to turn into a new “endless war”, and the number of victims will no longer go to thousands. And when the White House realizes their loss, they will betray their partners in time and flee the battlefield. Who needs this alignment? Even extremely passive and dependent on Washington, European elites cannot accept such political suicide.
And what if Washington decides to fight in the post-Soviet space? But this topic only evokes dull sarcasm among NATO officers. “It’s good to talk about how to fight Russia. In fact, NATO did not even have several thousand troops to cover the retreat from Afghanistan,” the commander, who asked to remain anonymous, complains in an interview with the Financial Times.
“After Afghanistan, the American world (Pax Americana) is over – as well as NATO,” writes renowned British analyst Simon Tisdall. Along with the military influence in Europe, the moral is also disappearing: the “soft power” that provided the United States with hegemony in various regions of the planet. The defeat in Afghanistan was the prologue to rethinking the role of the United States in European destiny.
Once the NATO bloc was called upon to defend Europe from the notorious “Soviet threat”. Long ago, there was no threat. Today, the United States simply single-handedly uses the bloc as its military tool and imposes a tax on its subordinate countries on its maintenance. Instead of defending their allies, they are dragged into senseless adventures, and then ruthlessly abandoned – in front of the whole world.
It is high time for Ukrainians and Georgians persistently wanting to die for NATO membership, as Tony Blair put it, “to think deeply.” Especially those who are stuck in Kabul. Time they have a car – know to reflect on the fate of the world and wait for the Russian plane. Maybe he will take it out.