Another Hidden Cost Of the War In Afghanistan


(Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB’s Photostream)
Balancing the short-term expediency of working with strategically important states with the ethical issues and long-term costs of supporting repressive regimes is a complicated task that defies simple solutions.
One conclusion that can be made with regard to this conundrum, however, is that the more broadly Washington defines its interests, the more it will find itself compelled to lean on corrupt and illiberal governments for support in faraway places.
An historical example of this is how the United States’ support for “anticommunist” dictatorships in Latin America during the Cold War continues to haunt our relations with that continents’ people and governments today.
Last week’s uprising in Kyrgyzstan raises the question of whether the United States’ ongoing campaign in Afghanistan will have a similar effect in Central Asia – a region that will undoubtedly be important to American interests over the long-term on a variety of issues, including energy, terrorism, and managing relations with neighboring Russia and China.
In a pair of articles published in recent days Human Rights Watch Advocacy Director Tom Malinowski and International Crisis Group Central Asia Policy Director Paul Quinn-Judge, writing in Foreign Policy and The New York Times respectively, make a strong case that the United States’ Pentagon-driven willingness to deal with autocratic regimes in the so-called “Northern Distribution Network” may have deleterious effects on U.S. interests over the long-term.
Whether worth the price or not, it is fair to add support for illiberal governments in Central Asia to the list of hidden costs of the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
— Ben Katcher


8 comments on “Another Hidden Cost Of the War In Afghanistan

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    B….b…bbb…..b..uuuuut they hate us for our freedoms, cousin John! Thats why we’re there!
    And if some fuckin’ urban gang member doesn’t shoot me in the head and steal my car, I’m gonna be damned glad that Uncle Sam made sure ‘ol Ahmad didn’t sneak in to nuke me.


  2. JohnH says:

    I think Bart was intimating that Afghanistan is nothing more than a playground for the military and its expensive toys. Could be.
    But where are the “experts,” and why do they refuse to talk about American goals for Central Asia?
    There are some things you just can’t talk about in a democracy…


  3. DonS says:

    “Afghanistan is an ideal laboratory for testing of our cutting edge warfare, for example, the use of drone aircraft. ” (Bart)
    . . . and?


  4. David says:

    Stunninly telling photo.


  5. Bart says:

    Afghanistan is an ideal laboratory for testing of our cutting edge warfare, for example, the use of drone aircraft.


  6. JohnH says:

    Would someone care to specify American interests in Central Asia?
    It seems that this simple question is eternally missing from discussion here. Instead, the US supports a color revolution, establishes bases, and then squeals like a stuck pig when someone resists the mysteriously “critical” US presence.
    Frankly, I’m sick and tired of this. No one has yet made a reasonable explanation of why the US wasted a $Trillion in Iraq, what the US hopes to accomplish in Afghanistan, why the US is constantly threatening Iran, etc, etc.
    Come on, TWN foreign policy “experts,” let’s hear some analysis of why the US is doing what it is doing!


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