A story in the Telegraph confirms what only makes sense about NATO involvement in Afghanistan:
Asked whether the future of Nato was at stake, [U.S. General Dan] McNeill said: “I think all 26 members realise that from a military context, and that is primarily why Nato is here, this is a decision point. Either we are going to get it done, or we won’t.”
McNeill claims that there are insufficient NATO forces “to clear and hold every part of this country.” I have read elsewhere that while NATO forces defeat Taliban forces in every engagement and supposedly enjoy the support of the Afghanistan people (but see this story in Afghan News Net) and a democratically elected (!) government, the Taliban are making strategic gains. According to the Guardian, “wide areas of the south – in Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan provinces – are controlled by the Taliban, and the fighting is migrating north, into Ghazni province – where 23 South Koreans were kidnapped in July – and Wardak, right next door to Kabul, the capital.”
But support for the United States in Afghanistan frees U.S. forces for Iraq, and, potentially, Iran, and helps to sustain U.S. hegemony around the world. Citizens in the rest of the world aren’t nearly so deluded as in the U.S.; the Telegraph story observes that “political pressure grows in Canada and Holland to downgrade the combat status of their soldiers in southern Afghanistan, where British troops are based.
“The governments of Germany and Italy are also under huge pressure over their deployments in the north.” I have previously written on the fragility of the political situation in Pakistan.
The U.S. relies on its self-image as a “shining city on the hill” to sustain imperialism. To the rest of the world, this appears as hubris. Hubris might not seem so bad, until all of a sudden the support the U.S. is counting on isn’t there.