NATO will never win Afghan war: Interview with Political analyst and journalist Pepe Escobar.

On May 25, 2012 by stratagem

In your last story on the Chicago Summit you voiced a very interesting idea, you were saying that at the Chicago NATO Summit it will be crucial to identify the backstage players. Who are the backstage players you were referring to?

The backstage players for what NATO calls its strategic concept, that was approved at the NATO Summit in Lisbon in late 2010, it is a collection of the several points of 1% elites in Europe in fact and also with Americans themselves. They went into a council chaired by a former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and with the representatives from lawyers, insurance giants, especially big oil people who work for Royal Dutch Shell including the last chairman of Royal Dutch Shell. There are people who were from the former Blackwater, then remained the Xe, missionary outfits to put it this way. So, it was the collection of the elites in Europe and America and they were identifying the risk in their own words – risk management.

And the craziest thing is that this is applied not only to Europe, or the Atlantic Alliance but to the whole world. And this explains, because after they came up with these recommendations that were then crystallized in the concept approved by NATO, NATO had a war in Libya which was the proof of the putting. In fact NATO is applying, this is a strategic fact, in this case in Northern Africa, in the Mediterranean of course, but also in the Northern Africa. So, the craziest thing is NATO which was considered as the Atlantic alliance against the former Soviet Union. So, over the two decades after the end of the Cold War it became the militarized arm of the West, of the so called G8, Russia is part of the G8 but not part of NATO.

But basically the G7, which basically translates as Western hegemony, they interfere not only in the European theatre which was the case with the Balkans, they interfered in Afghanistan which is an occupation war as felt by most Afghans. They interfered in Northern Africa, in Libya. They would love to interfere in Syria but they don’t have the UN mandate for it. They could interfere in Mali, in Africa. And it is crazy because this whole thing is basically a Pentagon strategy.

We should always remember that NATO is basically the Pentagon in Europe and it is also linked with Africom which is the Pentagon command for Africa. The war in Libya was basically a NATO-African war. This means this was the Pentagon utilizing two of its arms – European arm and the Africom arm for the first war of the Arficom in Africa itself.

And what we have now in Afghanistan – after 11 years of NATO presence in Afghanistan we have a total quagmire. They will never win that war. In fact the war is already lost years back. They are just trying to organize the exit to the doors by 2014. Nobody knows what is going to happen afterwards apart from the fact that the Pentagon wants to keep military bases in Afghanistan, it wants to keep three big bases in Bagram, in Kandahar and Shindand. This means the Pentagon doesn’t want to leave Afghanistan, they will never leave. They may have a reduced presence but they will never leave.

And Europeans, they know they have to leave, first of all because there is no money. And no European country in the middle of the economic crisis wants to keep pouring money into what they know they are going to lose, that is already lost. So, you know, you see all this contradictions in terms of NATO being a kind of a global Robocop or a global cop defending the West all around the world. It is impossible. This is basically a Pentagon project and the Europeans have a much better fish to fry – which is taking care of their decaying economies at the moment.

It is interesting that you are mentioning the business elites playing a role. We all know that it is not for the first time that the US has been requesting its NATO partners to increase their share of financial commitment. The AP has even recalled the former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as saying that NATO risked falling apart if it continues to leave the hardest fighting and biggest bills to the United States. So, with the financial crisis raging in a major part of the Western world the issue of sharing the expenses has become particularly acute. Do you think that big business could perhaps make a contribution?

In fact a war conducted by this weaponized arm of the Pentagon which is NATO, depending on where you go for this war, it can rip a lot of benefits for the key industries such as big oil. Let’s take this example of Afghanistan. In Afghanistan system in mid 1990’es, during the Clinton Administration, which is the ancient history for a lot of people, the key issue was – we need a pipeline in Afghanistan. So, the pipeline would be a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan crossing Afghanistan and going to Pakistan, and ending at the Arabian Sea in Southern Pakistan. This thing has been discussed for almost twenty years now in fact. And obviously there was the Taliban in power, then the Taliban was expelled, the Americans wanted their own companies to do this thing, the Europeans were also involved. The first company that was involved was exactly Argentinean, then it was pushed out of it by the Americans.

And the whole thing was for building a pipeline outside of Russian influence of course and helping probably India later on because this pipeline was also supposed to go to India. We are still in the middle of this whole thing. The country is not pacified, on the contrary it is still at war. And even when NATO leaves there is no guarantee that a pipeline will ever be built because the Taliban will want their cut. And don’t forget that before 9\11 the Taliban was discussing with the Americans exactly this particular point – we want our cut if you want to build a pipeline on our lands.

So, who profits from it – of course big oil companies, European and American. And now, which is incredible as it might seem, even Gazprom from Russia is interested in being part of the pipeline, if it is ever built, because they identify their source of profit as well. One of the reasons of the war in Libya, there were so many, was the better opportunities for British firms for transfers of water and the oil interests for the House of Southern Qatari financial interests. So, if this coalition benefits, and of course it does, because wars in countries that are not totally subjugated to the Western financial system, means real opening of a new frontier.

So, in Afghanistan it is highly complicated because it is very hard to open a new frontier in a country that is being at war, inside war for centuries if not millennium. And part of it is mountainous, part of it is a desert and there is an ethnic conflict simmering over there between Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazars and so on. But there is a possibility of a lot of money in minerals, because Afghanistan is very rich in minerals, and in oil and gas travelling through Afghanistan but also prospected inside Afghanistan, and in Libya of course because of the oil the gas and water.

And these countries are totally integrated into the Western economy like Singapore in the South East Asia, or the Emirates in the Middle East. These are new frontiers and for huge corporations, as I’ve mentioned, of course this is absolutely perfect. And all that explain also why so many corporate interests are interested in regime change in Iran, with or without a war they want Iran to open to Western financial corporate interests. And that is very dangerous these interests will never give up the possibility of a military option applied to Iran.

So, that would imply that NATO, which as we all know was started as a bloc to oppose the communist bloc in the world, is now seems to be evolving as just a tool of the transnational corporations.

Yes, this is a pretty good summing up of the situation. It is a tool of the Pentagon agenda, of the official doctrine of the Pentagon in fact approved ten years ago in 2002 which is called full spectrum dominance, meaning the Pentagon has to dominate everywhere – air, land, sea, cyberspace, outer space. And at the same time it is a tool of Western corporate and financial interests as well, what we were discussing a few minutes ago, in terms of opening new frontiers for capitalist exploitation and profit basically.

So, yes, it is a kind of glamorized global cop which sometimes bypasses United Nations, like in the war in Yugoslavia for instance. Sometimes it goes through the United Nations, like in the war against Libya. But it is always trying to find wars or possibilities of intervention and expanding its riches, which is the case of the missile defense which NATO sells as – we establish the missile defense system in Europe to protect against Iranian or North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles. This is completely absurd. First of all North Korea has no interest to strike Europe. Number two – Iran has no interest to strike Europe because 70% of what they sell is to the European Union, at least before the sanctions. And Iran wants the European Union investment in Iranian industry. They will never attack Europe, this is a complete absurd.

So, missile defense as Russian intelligence has already identified years ago is directed against Russia. The mentality of the Cold War, it is still very much implanted in NATO’s genes in fact. And this is why it is so worrying for, I would say any country in the world. You can expect NATO in a not farfetched future to start having desires on South America as well. And people in South America and its intelligence I think already starts thinking that the Pentagon may even use NATO one day if they want to come here and take over our oil, gas and our honour.

Read More/Audio: Voice of Russia

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