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Old April 20th, 2012, 08:16 PM   #1
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ROFLMAO!



Well, of course they do.



Quote:
Russia urges NATO to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014



By Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor | 08:48 am



Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov urged NATO to keep its forces in Afghanistanbeyond President Barack Obama's 2014 deadline for withdrawing from the decade-old war.



"As long as Afghanistan is not able to ensure by itself the security in the country, the artificial timelines of withdrawal are not correct and they should not be set," Mr. Lavrov said during a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels today.



That appeal comes, ironically, just days after Lavrov's boss, President-elect Vladimir Putin, called NATO a "relic of the cold war," and suggested it be disbanded. During his recent election campaign, Mr. Putin leaned heavily on anti-Western rhetoric and even accused the US of seeking "absolute invulnerability" at the expense of everyone else.



Though Russia has a long and painful list of differences with the Western alliance, chiefly US-led plans to install a missile defense shield in Europe, it has grown increasingly anxious about NATO's loss of enthusiasm for the Afghanistan war.




Moscow's main worry is that a precipitous NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan might lead to a Taliban victory, and a return to the turbulent conditions of the 1990's, when Islamist militants infiltrated the neighboring post-Soviet republics of central Asia, mainly Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and threatened stability on Russia's southern flank.



"Withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would be a very unfavorable development for Russia," says Andrei Klimov, deputy chair of the State Duma's foreign affairs committee. "It would lead to dramatic worsening of the situation in Afghanistan, and perhaps a repeat of all the turbulence that followed the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan (in 1989). We are watching (the approaching deadline for NATO withdrawal) with deep wariness and perplexity."


More.
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Old April 21st, 2012, 04:24 AM   #2
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No surprises there.
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Old April 21st, 2012, 08:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
ROFLMAO!



Well, of course they do.



Quote:
Russia urges NATO to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014



By Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor | 08:48 am



Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov urged NATO to keep its forces in Afghanistanbeyond President Barack Obama's 2014 deadline for withdrawing from the decade-old war.



"As long as Afghanistan is not able to ensure by itself the security in the country, the artificial timelines of withdrawal are not correct and they should not be set," Mr. Lavrov said during a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels today.



That appeal comes, ironically, just days after Lavrov's boss, President-elect Vladimir Putin, called NATO a "relic of the cold war," and suggested it be disbanded. During his recent election campaign, Mr. Putin leaned heavily on anti-Western rhetoric and even accused the US of seeking "absolute invulnerability" at the expense of everyone else.



Though Russia has a long and painful list of differences with the Western alliance, chiefly US-led plans to install a missile defense shield in Europe, it has grown increasingly anxious about NATO's loss of enthusiasm for the Afghanistan war.




Moscow's main worry is that a precipitous NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan might lead to a Taliban victory, and a return to the turbulent conditions of the 1990's, when Islamist militants infiltrated the neighboring post-Soviet republics of central Asia, mainly Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and threatened stability on Russia's southern flank.



"Withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would be a very unfavorable development for Russia," says Andrei Klimov, deputy chair of the State Duma's foreign affairs committee. "It would lead to dramatic worsening of the situation in Afghanistan, and perhaps a repeat of all the turbulence that followed the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan (in 1989). We are watching (the approaching deadline for NATO withdrawal) with deep wariness and perplexity."


More.


Does Russia have any of its troops in Afghanistan? If not, they should do so. If they want to see the Taliban defeated, then they have to help out, too. I am surprised they spoke up.
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Old April 21st, 2012, 08:54 AM   #4
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They are one to talk. They are the ones who invaded Afghanistan first.
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Old April 21st, 2012, 09:02 AM   #5
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Watch the movie "Restrepo."



I just watched it. A photojournalist was embedded with a group of soldiers on a 16-month deployment at an extreme forward base.



These guys watched buddies die, dealt with suspicious tribal elders, fought Taliban soldiers in rugged terrain that the Taliban know like the back of their hand, as they tried to explain "collateral damage" to those who'd lost a sister or a grandchild. And this movie was made in 2007.



When their deployment was over, nothing was gained, nothing was settled. The net outcome was ordinary American citizens were taught to kill, killed, made excuses, and went home.



A cold assessment from none other than Aljazeera.



Quote:
Europe's Greece, America's Afghanistan
Quote:

Each and every effort in the beleaguered nations will be wasted, unless their leaderships look past personal interests.



Washington, DC - Europeans are regularly skewered by many in the US for having "messed up" Greece. Meanwhile, the United States is doing no better with its own special ward, Afghanistan. There is plenty of blame to go around, but ultimately nowhere more than in the two troubled countries themselves.



The parallels between Greece (from a European perspective) and Afghanistan (from a US perspective) are astounding. Both have turned out to be very expensive engagements, taking up extraordinary amounts of decision-makers' time in Brussels and in Washington. Both have disproportionately dominated global news headlines for quite a long time.



And yet, for the extraordinary degree of European and US engagement, the growing expectation is that much of the effort will be for naught. The principal reason for this disappointing state of affairs is that Greece and Afghanistan have political leaderships focused mostly on serving their own personal interests. In both countries, there is widespread corruption and a general inclination among the elites to take foreigners for a ride.



No wonder then that, in both Europe and the United States, there are now profound questions about the viability of their ventures.



Greece adopted the euro on January 1, 2001, a mere nine months before the events of 9/11 put Afghanistan squarely in the US consciousness. European and US officials embarked on their respective endeavours of reshaping Greece and Afghanistan with high hopes. The general expectation was that their engagements would help remake what were notoriously troubled countries by modernising their economies, societies and politics.



And yet, for the hundreds of billions of euros the Europeans have put into the bailout of Greece (with at least a couple of hundred billion more to come), and for the trillion or so dollars the US has spent on the war in Afghanistan, the results so far are sobering. Both places are hardly in better shape today than they were a decade ago.



To be sure, European and US officials are culpable of having taken their eyes off the ball for key periods of time during their supposed intense engagements.



Unfortunately, once Greece had adopted the euro, the rest of Europe treated it in a manner reminiscent of how the US treated Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989. Its "engagement" was perfunctory at best. Left to its own devices, Greece's old wounds festered once again, only now with much more money flowing in.



Politics of corruption



For the Americans, it was the costly and unnecessary involvement in the Iraq war that jeopardised, if not fatally undermined, their high hopes for remaking Afghanistan. That "sideshow" nixed what was already a slim chance of turning what is, at its core, a society largely based on clan and family networks into a nation-state of the classical definition.



Afghanistan's tribal conflicts simply run too deep to be "fixed". Its economy, insofar as it is not based on opium production, depends heavily on inflows of financial aid from the United States. Moreover, its broader neighbourhood provides little support for the United States' vague hopes of creating a "new Afghanistan".

Yet, when offered a helping hand for the reconstruction of their country, Afghanistan's leading politicians and cabinet ministers choose instead to take the whole arm. Their destructive practice of using high office, through family ties, for private gain, starts right at the top with President Hamid Karzai. But he and his clan are just one of many focused almost entirely on their own self-interest, rather than the nation's interest.



In Greece, it is not so much that the top politicians are corrupt. Rather, their vice is that they have proven incapable (or unwilling or both) to put an end to endemic corruption throughout society and to curb tax evasion by the rich.



The end results, however, are the same. Despite the inflow of billions - whether predominantly in financial aid (as in Afghanistan's case) or capital inflows (as in Greece's) - very little has been used by those in political power to remake their own countries.



As a consequence, Europeans and Americans now both resort to surrealist rhetoric. Europeans still claim that Greece won't default. After Defence Secretary Leon Panetta blurted out "we're winning" during his trip to Afghanistan last December, official US proclamations have tended to employ squishy statements like "making progress", "fulfilling commitments" and "achieving goals".



In both cases, a realistic, if highly sobering, assessment seems still quite a distance away.



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