Does anyone remember the case of the WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq?
The argument was built systematically to smash Iraq, a major oil power and one of the most progressive countries in the Arab world.
Saddam Hussein, possibly unwittingly, uttered a mammoth truth: This is the mother of all battles. — As everyone agrees now, Iraq has turned out to be the fertile mother of all battles.
Iraq today is exactly opposite of what the WMD blame-designers dreamed of but that will not deter some harebrained policymakers from trying to replicate the experiment in Central Asia.
After all, doing the same thing over and over again with the expectation of different results is the hallmark of the foreign policy of certain countries. Never mind that it also happens to be one of the definitions of madness.
If the trouble wants to happen, and some countries, most notably the USA and Russia may actively want it to happen, it will follow two separate paths in Afghanistan and Central Asia.
In Afghanistan it will be simply the case of transfer of allegiance; Taliban and anyone else with a Kalashnikov and a piece of black cloth may proclaim to be ISIS.
In Central Asia, it will be jut the eruption of pent up frustration, exploited skillfully and maliciously by the external players.
The demeanor of President Ghani of Afghanistan could be an indicator of the things about to happen in his country. He was generally silent on any ISIS presence or threat in Afghanistan, even denying at least once any ISIS existence in his territory. Conversely, just a day before his departure to Washington, he changed the tack and said that ISIS was indeed a looming threat for Afghanistan. He repeated this in Washington and analysts believe that the words were put in his mouth by the hosts.
Since the negotiation are already being launched between the Taliban and the US and Afghan authorities, one possible outcome could be that the Taliban may announce secession of their activities and after the interval of a few weeks the same people may pick arms again under the flag of ISIS.
Simultaneously, there may possibly be the engineered incidents in Central Asia to give the impression of the presence of small, scattered groups of ISIS in the region.
Why would it happen? Who stands to benefit?
The interests of the USA and Russia are fast aligning in the region, though for different reasons. Both will benefit from either the chaos or the fear of chaos in Central Asia.
The main concern of the USA, anywhere in the world, is China. The flawed American mindset that gave birth to the preposterous idea of exceptionalism, compels them to believe that the rise of China spells the fall of USA.
Here are some Chinese initiatives that are worrying Uncle Sam to the core:
- China is slowly withdrawing its heavy investments in the US treasury bonds and finding better uses for its spare cash
- The Road and Belt initiative of China has already attracted some 40 countries and 60 more are in the process of joining, making it the first major global finance and development apparatus where the USA is not even a member, let alone the leader
- China is systematically switching to trading in mutual currencies with its partners, eroding the artificially bloated dollar
- China has huge spare production capacity of construction materials that it is ready to offer at attractive terms to gain partnership with countries around the world; the USA has nothing to match this
Slowly and methodically, China continues to build infrastructure connections with Central Asia, in the shape of oil and gas pipelines and transport and communication networks. These are vital arteries for the health of the Chinese economy.
Any chaos or fear of chaos in Central Asia would disrupt the flow of hydrocarbon resources and trade between this region and China. This would benefit the USA and its allies because it would decrease the capacity of China to continue with its global initiatives.
Similarly, Russia also stands to benefit from disruption of Central Asia-China energy and trade links. The Russian economy has shrunk considerably and it is about to lose a hefty portion of its European gas market. China is a ready buyer and Russia would logically desire that China should meet all of its piped energy needs from Russia rather than Central Asia. This is a rather simplistic view but that is how the minds of some decision makers work.
Both the USA and Russia stand to benefit from trouble in Central Asia and both are known to lend a helping hand to ignite the trouble where none exists.
To be continued . . .