Staying or going? Biden’s Afghanistan policy

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a two-day visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels yesterday, recommitting the United States to shoring up the military alliance that has for decades played a central role in the Pentagon’s efforts to dominate the globe. A wide range of issues were discussed, but perhaps most closely watched were talks over a potential end to the occupation of Afghanistan.

Blinken’s reassurances come on the heels of the Trump administration’s fraught relationship with NATO, which include a pledge to leave Afghanistan by May 1, made as part of a peace agreement with the Taliban.

Additionally, the move to revitalize the NATO alliance is widely understood as a thinly veiled attempt to threaten Russia and strong arm them geopolitically. In particular, Blinken warned the German government over its Nord Stream 2 pipeline which would extend from Russia to Germany and provide natural gas and fuel to large parts of Eastern Europe.

Allowing Russia to be at the fore of Germany’s energy supply is a move the United States strongly opposes. Allowing Russia to develop any sort of strategic leverage both undermines the U.S. “great power competition” doctrine and puts U.S. energy corporations at a disadvantage.

Will the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan ever end?

Growing uncertainty over whether the Biden administration will follow through on the commitment to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by May 1 is yet another indicator of the hard-line militarist attitude that is pervasive in the foreign policy and “defense” circles that hold sway in the Biden administration.

Generally speaking, peace agreements made by former administrations are honored by the next, but last year’s peace plan agreed to by the Taliban could very well be scrapped in favor of more endless war. 

Nothing is gained for the working class in Afghanistan or the United States by continuing the 20 years-long “forever war.” Over the course of this bloody invasion and occupation there have been tens of thousands of Afghan civilian casualties. Nearly 2,500 U.S. service members needlessly lost their lives in this war for Wall Street profits and Pentagon domination. No one can be said to be winning the war except for the U.S. military-industrial complex and to a lesser extent ISIS, which was able to gain a foothold in the region due in large part to the destabilization caused by the U.S. occupation. 

Blinken’s remarks in Brussels signal a return to form for the Biden administration. Maintaining U.S. hegemony by means of NATO is a cornerstone of his plan to show the world in deadly fashion that the United States is “back in the game.” 

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