Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Too Much of a Coincidence?

First, American soldiers in Afghanistan burn copies of the Koran. Now one of them goes on a rampage and kills a bunch of Afghan civilians.

In an election year for President Barak Obama this is more than just bad luck. It smells of conspiracy.

 Seems like someone's trying to make it impossible for the United States to stay on in Afghanistan.

Who and why?

The choice of answers is very limited. It must either be an inside job -- someone with a lot of clout in the line of military command -- or someone with the means to corrupt and turn the individuals involved.

The first is highly unlikely unless a strategic decision has been made high up that the chaos that would necessarily follow a precipitate withdrawal would serve long term American interests. Such a decision too is not likely, but it is possible: if the United States is to remain the world's preeminent power, Asia must be kept in check, and a regional war would do that very nicely.  It would also help bring Pakistan and Iran to heel.

The second explanation is far more likely: that those who profit from the drug trade out of Afghanistan (to the tune of some $60 billion a year according to the latest estimate of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime), have suborned the individuals responsible. Their acts have made it difficult for any Afghan to consider Americans with a friendly eye.

American investigators into the two incidents would do well to look into whether the individuals involved or their family members have suddenly and quietly struck it rich. Of course, the payoff might have been through a numbered account in a "tax haven," in which case there would be no trace.

Whatever the case, if Project Afghanistan comes a cropper the implications for India can be dire. New Delhi should be prepared for the return of Nadir Shah -- the Persian raider who laid low the mighty Mughal Empire after Aurangazeb's death. He left the door open for the British to steal in.

If something like that happens I just hope Mamta and Patnaik and Jayalalitha with their talk of "Federalism" will remember their history.  

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