Is Afghanistan American’s Tar Baby?

Tar BabyThe tar baby of Uncle Remus fame illustrated something much easier to pick up than it was to put down again; perhaps Afghanistan will prove to be President Obama and America’s tar baby. A deal to keep U.S. troops and freight car loads of American money draining into that country seems to be shaping up quietly in some back rooms.

When the ongoing pullout was negotiated with the Afghan government, the U.S. was willing to station some American help for the anti-Taliban programs in the country and along with them, to provide financial help but only under a status of forces agreement that protected those troops from the corrupt Afghan legal system. The Afghans refused that and a total pullout began.

Now, the Afghans want a long-term garrison and lots of money in the face of the coming hard times they see from both Taliban (Pakistani subversion) and from the fact that they are not a real, legitimate government standing upon a stable base. Afghanistan is more of a fiction than a country and left alone, its ‘government’ is more like the government of Kabul and environs. Add that the place has been lifted a couple of economic levels by U.S. spending and the desire for continued American presence is clear.

And there is more to the story. The American presence funded a lot of contractors, both American and Afghan, with a deluge of money long absent from Afghanistan. The contractors, in good crony-capitalist fashion, funded a lot of politicians, again both American and Afghan. And this widespread network of greed and need now sees the candy store closing. In the age-old dance of political corruption, the requisite politicians are hearing from these constituents, squeaking wheels (quietly, in private) demanding grease. At the same time, in the face of unending deficits and declining numbers of wars, the American military is facing endless cuts together with its own suppliers. These too are being heard in Congress. Lots of voters work for some of those suppliers.

So now the total withdrawal from Afghanistan is apparently under reconsideration. So very quietly that we don’t know whether the Afghans are offering to protect American troops from corrupt Afghan judges, or not. Rumor suggests that an open-ended (e.e. perpetual) deal is being discussed. President Eisenhower’s ‘military-industrial complex’ and the Afghan governments are facing big income reductions otherwise, especially with the war intended in Syria failing to catch on.

If you don’t think that pouring unending U.S. resources into the pockets of corrupt Afghans and continuing to subject American lives to roadside bombings is a good buy, maybe you would do well to inform your Congressfolk, since everyone they’re hearing from right now is all for it.

The question that somehow, still never comes up, is where is the American money going to come from when American is awash in deficits even before Obamacare payments are expected to start? (Silence…)


About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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