I recently posted my Japan notes on the book China, Japan, and the Powers. I chose my notes to support the thesis that the United States of America started a war against Asia and Asians in the 1850s that had gone on intermittently and continues to this day. [See also Asian War]
President Barack Obama's planned escalation of the war against Afghanistan makes sense as part of this long-established historic pattern.
The simplistic analysis applied to the President's decision is that the U.S. military pushed for a major buildup in Afghanistan, but the Vice President said Democrats in Congress would not like that. Somehow only escalating troop levels a little (if 7000 soldiers rampaging about someone else's countryside can be called a little) is deemed a compromise. Taking 7000 troops out could have been a compromise too. The fact is the basic decision was to expand the use of force to obtain U.S. policy objectives in the region. Leaving an open door to further escalation if the Afghan people continue to resist.
In my Japan notes I run against the grain of the book itself. Like almost all America-centric history texts, Powers implied that Japan was, until the end of World War II, an aggressor nation and the U.S. was just playing defense. Because we are the Good Guys.
But you can't write a detailed book about America's history with Asia without mentioning a few things that tend to run against the standard theory. And if you can sit down and analyze the data, and take into account that it is biased to begin with, you can see history in a whole new light. You can see Japan as a country that did not want to be preyed upon by the U.S. and the European imperialists the way they saw the rest of Asia preyed upon. They did not want to become part of the British, Spanish, French, Dutch, Russian, or American empires. They took logical steps to prevent that. I don't condone their over-the-top militarism, but it does not compare to U.S. militarism. Going into World War II the U.S. had a bigger Navy than Japan. They had troops in China. We called that aggression, even though they had puppets invite them to wage war there. We had our puppet in China, so our military support for his militarist regime (his title was Generalissimo) was not qualitatively different.
Japan lost World War II, but they liberated Asia, or most of it, in the process. I doubt the Communist Party could have liberated China if Japan had not tossed out the Europeans and defeated the American puppet Chiang Kai-shek during the war. The people in Indonesia, then called the Dutch East Indies, refused to allow the Dutch to re-establish a colony. Gandhi may have been a pacifist, but it was the Japanese violence freaks who largely made British occupation of India untenable.
The U.S. War Against Asia has paused at times, but never halted. Most famously we tried to stop the nationalist movement of Vietnam from establishing a free and independent nation. Whenever possible we (our ruling class and its government, and whoever goes along with them) have tried to make the leaders of Asian nations into puppets.
And so when a socialist regime was set up in Afghanistan back around 1978, U.S. strategists took note. We were not pleased that the socialists were modernizers, not Islamists. They were clients of the U.S.S.R., a rival empire. And so our CIA armed the Islamists and embroiled Afghanistan in a civil war. When the Russians left in 1989, war lords and clan-based local governments took over most of the country. [See History of Afghanistan for details]
A man very different from Barack Obama decided to do something for his country. He did not have two parents with graduate school educations; he did not go to the finest private colleges in the world. His family was very poor. He fought against the Soviets, losing an eye in the process, and he studied in religious schools (Madrasahs). His only goal was to bring peace and justice to Afghanistan. Mullah Omar, as he became known, gathered a small group of other students of justice (Taliban). His first known act with this group, at that time numbering 30 soldiers (with only 16 rifles between them) was to rescue two girls who had been kidnapped and raped by local war lords. As their reputation for just governance grew, so did the Taliban. By 1996 the Taliban were in effective control of Afghanistan. Which was fine with the CIA and the few other U.S. policy makers who paid attention to such things. The Taliban were not communists, did not like the Iranians (they were in a different branch of Islam), and were not likely to ally with the Chinese. They brought peace to a land that had been at war for 20 years.
It is hard to imagine Barack Obama risking his own life, or even his political career, to save anyone else. But he is perfectly willing to kill Students in Afghanistan if that furthers the interests of the U.S. ruling class that he so happily serves (tea with your billions of federal aid? Perhaps some marmalade with your crumpets, fellows?).
Perhaps some day Americans will stop trying to rule the world. But apparently not under the administration of Barack Obama.
Can we produce millions of rounds of ammunition to kill people in Afghanistan, even when we seem to be unable to build houses or automobiles or schools in America any more?
Yes, We Can!