Pyrrhic Victory of a Blinded Superpower
By Horst Grunnert
[This article originally published in: Blattchen February 12, 2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.linksnet.de/artikel.php?id=536.]
Bush can gloat. He attained what he claimed to attain. However the victory in Afghanistan was a Pyrrhic victory. Hatred toward the US will increase.
The Taliban is crushed but not in a war comparable to past military conflicts where armies fought against armies. In the first war of the third millennium, a territory was declared the evil empire and simply deluged with bombs. The mercenaries only need to occupy the re-cultivated soil. The fast speed of their advance could bring more problems than the battle.
This is a victory right down the land gained against the dark prophecies of those who insisted a land like Afghanistan could never be conquered. I ask myself why the Soviets failed so miserably in their time. The land was ruined. However at least the army seemed intact. Probably no army can function when the land does not function.
A shadow falls on the impressive picture. Washington's mercenaries have still not succeeded in apprehending the two ringleaders who personify evil, Mohammed Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden and handing them over to American justice. Whether they are caught or not is only important for reasons of the image whether the two find a place of honor as martyrs on Allah's side or devote themselves unrecognized to the study of the Koran in a peaceful mosque.
What is central is the restoration of the hegemony of the US in the area between the Gulf and India that Washington lost after the disaster in Iran and assurance of oil transportation in the region. Bush can gloat. He has attained what he claimed to attain.
Strangely enough, the ecstasies in the world dominated by the US have not ended. The US won thanks to its technical superiority but lost sight of the enemy, at least the enemy that can be easily defined. In the past, Bush could show a country, a political movement and a few people who should be annihilated. What can he show now?
Nothing suggests that he intends to bring his people home after their accomplished work or use the events to introduce a genuine turn in international relations. This turn must put an end to the arrogance of managing the wealth of the world at their own discretion and lead to greater justice.
The question who and where is the enemy is much harder to answer after the end of the Taliban than before. The enemy is international terrorism. Where can it be seen? Where should bombs be dropped? In Somalia? In Iraq? The world is confronted with an enormous threat. Bush will find out. The enemy is everywhere.
Pyrrhic victories have occurred since king Pyrrhus sacrificed large parts of his army for his victory at Herakleia more than two thousand years ago. We are lost with such a victory! The US has not suffered any appreciable casualties. However Bush demonstrates to the poor world from Indonesia to West Africa how he intends to counter their revolts against hunger and misery, oppression and distress. Bush has shown that he is determined to stifle the cry for more justice in a storm of bombs. He has not taken note of the worries of respectable Americans disturbed in their rest who ask uncomprehendingly why the US is so hated or expects that rational ideas will soon be drowned by the waves of nationalism. Unfortunately he may be right.
Only those entirely robbed of their thinking ability believe in the end of the conflicts. Certainly, the US could stabilize its strategic position in this area between the Gulf and India, a goal never lost sight of after the US' expulsion from Iran. Still its strategic global positions have worsened. The hatred of people living in misery, hungering for food, thirsting for water and those deceived about education and life in dignity will increase. The movement of the poor against the hegemony of the rich will grow. The ruler-clique who adapt and hoard immense wealth will fall in its distress. The power of strong America will not be enough to protect the ruler-clique. New Bin Ladens will grow up - faster than many believe.
The victory in Afghanistan was a Pyrrhic victory. Washington has not obtained anything essential. Hatred toward the US will escalate. The struggle against injustice will continue. The popularity of fundamentalists will swell. All rulers in the poor world coming to terms with the West and shamelessly enriching themselves at the expense of their people will stagger. Restless times are imminent for everyo9ne following the course of a blinded superpower.
Unfortunately one who says this is stylized as anti-American. I regret this. I belong to those who prove themselves friends of Americans in the last adventure.