Profile: Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

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Hamid Karzai

Meet President Hamid Karzai, the first elected president of the Islamic State of Afghanistan.  After 2014 his government will be responsible for protecting the country which thousands of Americans, Afghans, and international troops have died to sustain.  It is in debate if he is up to the task.

In order to answer this question we must analyze who Hamid Karzai is

Karzai was always going to be a politician.  He first made a name for himself in the ranks of the Mujahedeen, freedom fighters resisting the Russian annexation of Afghanistan.  He gained notoriety fundraising for the Mujahedeen in Pakistan and fame by leading negotiations uniting conflicting factions and directing mass defections of domestic opposition.  In 1992 he served as the Deputy Foreign Minister in the Afghanistan government.  The Taliban’s growing influence hedged him out of the country.  It was not until the 1999 assassination of his father, by the Taliban, that Karzai began his crusade to end the radical regime.  It was not until the events of September 11, 2001 that Karzai got his opportunity.

During Operation Enduring Freedom, the NATO invasion of Afghanistan in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Karzai fought with his tribe to bring a new government to Afghanistan.  He met stiff resistance from the Taliban, who were specifically targeted him to deny Afghanistan of one of his finest negotiators.  Friendly fire, from American missiles, hit his troops and seriously injured Karzai.  He became the chairman of the transitional government and was essential to the negotiations which brought about a unified government in Afghanistan.

2004 was the peak of Karzai’s career.  He was elected the President of Afghanistan with 55.4% of the vote.  Numerous obstructions marred his presidency and public opinion depreciated.  Systematic corruption eroded public faith in the government.  Isolated and accidental killings of civilians by Afghan and NATO forces turned distrust into anger.   The Taliban was still at large in the southeastern parts of Afghanistan.  Illegal poppy fields remained the cash crop for the insurgency and the Afghan government could not cull the fields.  Karzai fiercely insisted to not use chemical herbicides against the poppy growers, due to fears of a much more volatile civil war, have stifled progress against the drugs.  IED’s, suicide bombers, and ambushes have only spread anger and dissention.

In  2009 Karzai won the reelection with only with just over fifty percent of the popular vote.  Accusations of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation, and a key opponent mysteriously dropping out just before the runoff election have left Karzai’s government under heavy suspicion.  It took over a year for him to place all of his advisors because the Afghan Parliament rejected many due to the candidate’s ties with warlords and inability to perform.

Criticisms are multiplying.  International activists have denounced his administration as one of the most corrupt in the world.  Millions of dollars of international aid have simply disappeared.  Widespread desertion is common in the Afghan military and discipline in the ranks is nonexistence.  Deserters often turn up in the ranks of the Taliban.

Karzai will be the President of Afghanistan until 2014, at which time international forces will complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan.  It is my opinion that Karzai is not up to challenge.  He has failed to rejuvenates a country which desperately needs strong leadership.  He is probably one of the best men in Afghanistan to mediate fair negotiations.  However, that is not the role of the President:  presidents must act, and Karzai does not seem to be reforming in a hurry.

Source: BBC, New York TimesBiography.com, Wikipedia

Athens and America: A Study of the Paralleled Rise and Fall of Empires

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Zeus or Poseidon?

History Repeats Itself

The global empire of the United States bears staggering similarities to that of the ancient Athenian empire; both rose through an influx in foreign wealth, fought long and costly wars, and lost their supremacy due to singular, devastating defeats.

Athens’s rise and fall was intertwined with the grand conflict of the Peloponnesian War.  Before the war, Athens dominated Greece.  Tribute, paid through monetary and naval capital by Delian League, was arbitrarily used by Athens for its own betterment.  Under Pericles, Athenians built great public works, such as the Parthenon, with foreign money.

Later, the tectonic Peloponnesian War erupted between Athens and Sparta.  Neither could defeat the other, so the conflict evolved into a regional, strategic struggle.  Foreign campaigns, like in Sicily, eroded the strength of the Athenians.  Athens was too heavily invested in these foreign conflicts.

Athens risked too much and the Peloponnesian League, Sparta and her network of Allies, punished them for it.  The tipping point for the Athenian Empire was at Syracuse.  Athenian generals procrastinated at the beginning of the conflict; this delay resulted in the unsuccessful siege of the city rather than a victorious strike.  Spartan reinforcements had enough time to reinforce Syracuse and beat back the Athenians.  Countless ships of Athens were lost in the harbor of Syracuse.  Athenian morale was splintered with their strength broken.  The downward spiral of Athens lasted eight painful years before they surrendered to Sparta.

America is on the downhill slide of the Athenian curve as she circles her own defeat.  Historians would place the high point of the American empire at the close of World War Two.  At this point, many nations adored the victorious liberators.  Wealth flowed into America in exchange for manufactured products.  Destruction of international economic competitions, with the bombings of Europe and the wars of East Asia, enabled this modern reincarnation of Athenian tribute.  Buoyed by foreign wealth, politicians constructed highways, funded Social Security, and created Medicare.  Meanwhile, the Cold War flickered into forest fire.

Forces mobilized against the United States; America’s Cold War would mirror Athens’s Peloponnesian War. Many nations sided with the USSR, and later China, in a manifold communist threat against the United States.  Communist converts were afraid of being poached by America’s predatory foreign policy; the CIA coup of democracy in Iran, GI’s fought the rightful rule of Vietnam, and paratroopers invaded Grenada.  This only empowered America’s enemies.

American capitalism and USSR’s communism fought long and hard, sapping global capital. China besieged the United States in Korea, freedom fighters in Afghanistan killed millions of Russians, and the Middle East burned as Israel, Egypt, and Syria warred.  Ideological conflicts continue to this day in various modern forms.  By 2011 America had overextended herself.  Tens of thousands of troops were stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, NATO jets controlled the airspace of Libya, and drone strikes assassinated opposition figures in Yemen.

Here the American model caught up to the Athenian timeline.  The next chronological event was a major defeat of the American Empire at the hand of the Chinese.  Despite having the best universities, arguably the most innovative populace, and the most capital the American economy was overtaken by the oppressive, environmentally destructive, and antagonistic Chinese economy. The Americans would be surpassed by 2020; China was declared the Sparta of the modern age.  As early as 2011 the Chinese were flexing their strength, the flow of resources, such as rare metals, was halted to the United States.  It would not be long until other essential elements of the globalized economy simply went missing.  America’s empire unraveled, just as its star-crossed ancestor Athens did before it.

China Arming Gaddafi: $200 Million Dollar Arms Deal Jeopardizes Future of Libya

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Libyan Rebels Discover the Chinese Have Been Arming Gaddafi

Beijing has hastily covered up of a $200 million arm deal with Gaddafi and his militant regime.  The deal took place to prop up the illegitimate regime. Libyan rebels have been capturing modern weapons with Chinese origins, it is speculated that they were secretly shipped to pro-Gaddafi force through Algeria. Papers found in the rubbish of pro-Gaddafi leaders confirmed the deal.   International ire has been raised; Beijing’s Gaddafi gamble has cast a shadow over their credibility and doubtlessly killed hundreds of rebels.

What Comprised of The Weapon Deal?

Everything to outfit a brand new army.

The papers revealing the weapons deal stated that rocket launchers, anti-tank, anti-aircraft missiles would be shipped in addition to assorted small arms.  Many good Libyans died to these advanced weapons.  Perhaps more will.  Gaddafi forces have retreated into Niger, it is speculated they will wage a terrorist war against Libya to attempt to regain control.  China did not score a strategic success, only pools of more bloodshed.

How is China Reacting To the Exposure?

China has now officially admitted that there were arms talks.

To make up for their failing the Chinese are stepping up regulation of private Chinese weapons manufactures.  This feint probably will not halt international outrage.  China has already overstepped its bounds in foreign affairs on many occasions.  Some examples including supporting the tyrannical North Korea or annexing Tibet.  This flair for violence has so far been tolerated; however it is poisoning the world against Beijing.  Libya’s Transitional Council is investigating this incident as anger flares throughout their supporters.  Libya will not be a fan of the Chinese.

Why Would China Fight the Rebels?

Beijing is posturing for a Second Cold War.

Arming America’s enemies is reminiscent of previous Chinese interventions, such as Vietnam; they perpetuated a twenty war with tens of thousands of American casualties by arming the Vietcong and NVA covertly.  The goal was to win influence for China through killing its enemies, the Americans, through indirect means.  Their objectives are met and China is not publicly threatened.

The Western powers have aligned with the rebels.  China seeks a world empire to match that of the Westerners.  Damaging new additions to Western Coalition will weaken NATO, the European UN, and the United States. Libya has oil, China views it as a valuable player should war evolve.  Weakening this hapless state, while they are violent civil war, reinforces their position.

Calculated moves such as this have already set the Second Cold War in motion, only historians will mourn our loss of peace.

Morale Gone: American Troops in Afghanistan Endangered More by Mental Disorders than Insurgents

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Afghanistan
Morale for the 100,000 troops, fighting the longest war in the history of the United States, is at an all time low.  The terror tactics of the guerrilla Taliban have killed dozens of Americans without firing bullets and have injured thousands with life threatening Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental disorders.  Suicides have risen and morale has plummeted.  All American troops are now endangered, both by psychological assaults and a weakening military.

Why is Morale Failing?

The psyche of the soldiers is under assault from a perpetual threat of terrorism; the psychological weight of the war puts soldiers at risk to themselves and their fellow combatants.  The mental stamina of American troops has degraded during this war.  Psychologists confirm (what common sense tells) that terrorism is linked to mental health disorders.  This naturally sinks morale

What Evidence Shows Morale is Falling?

Army psychologists have identified over 66,935 cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a severe anxiety disorder which plagues soldiers with asocial tendencies and painful flashbacks, during the War in Afghanistan.  The number of cases grows with each year.  Further evidence suggests a generally low morale; there were 339 non combat related deaths of American personal 60, or roughly twenty percent, were suicides.  More soldiers have been injured by mental disorders than by insurgent encounters.

The battlefield is even more dangerous to the integrity of the soldiers minds. A vicious onslaught of terrifying assaults from Taliban back militants have killed more American troops in the spring of 2011 than at any point in the entire war, except the initial invasion.  In this last February there were twenty lost, in March there were 31 casualties, and during April 47 American troops who were killed in action.  Soldiers are under higher threats of death and injury; this knowledge burdens them.

In addition these American sacrifices, to restore democracy to a troubled nation and defeat the Al Qaeda, seem to be in vain.  Afghanistan remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world with an economy dependent on opium.  The Taliban are only growing in strength and Al Qaeda is threatening to take control over revolting countries in the Middle East.  Morale has fallen off a cliff.

Why Does Morale Matter? 

Morale dictates the soldiers willingness to fight.  A strong sense of nationalism and faith in the war gives soldiers a reason to fight and definitively gives them a better chance of wining any battle.  Soldiers with low morale are less likely to fight effectively, endangering themselves and the entire army.  In the worst situations, which it has not deteriorated to in Afghanistan, armies simply desert en masse.  Low morale aided American defeat in Vietnam, however high morale during World War Two succeeded in a one-sided two-front victory.  Morale wins wars.

How will Morale Be Restored?

It wont. Unless there are decisive social victories in Afghanistan

The infamous Osama Bin Laden Assassination in Pakistan was a single bright flare of hope for the troops.  Recently they have been clearing out the worst combat zones of Afghanistan; grueling and dangerous work as they search enemy territory for combatants and weapons caches.  The Taliban is stepping up the pressure at the same time, launching daring guerrilla raids and diabolical IED explosions.  The Defense Department has announced that it expects higher casualties because of these methods.  This will continue to erode morale.

American forces have planned to leave the struggling democracy in 2014.  At such times morale will rise, because soldiers are no longer fighting in a perpetual war in an unstable region of the world.  Morale will return after it is needed.

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