The fight against terrorism – the United States and Taliban friends

Terry Winters, title unknown, 2000


Comment on the recently published book by Reginaldo Nasser

The Cold War came to an end in the midst of 'the narrative that history itself would have come to an end since there would be no possibility of alternative projects for society in the face of 'the expanding neoliberal logic. Anyone who glimpsed the world at the end of the 1990s would have the feeling of living in a unipolar reality defined by a single military, economic, technological and cultural power that was increasingly projected as a hegemonic model for all.

But anyone who witnessed what happened in the first two decades of the 1990st century – seen in the XNUMXs as the scenario when humanity would finally come together around common causes as a true “global village” – saw that such a promise, self-proclaimed by Washington's political bosses and Silicon Valley tech bosses would not only fail to hold up, but would be replaced by the growing rivalry and unpredictability that help define the current global landscape.

Explaining the dramatic course of global transformations, centered on the trajectory of the United States, over the last 20 years is a complex task and still under construction. It is therefore more than welcome the recent publication of the book The Fight Against Terrorism: The United States and Taliban Friends, by Reginaldo Nasser, one of the leading specialists in themes related to the Middle East in our country, and which offers the best analysis made in Brazil on how the greatest military power in history would come to get so entangled in Afghanistan, known as the “cemetery of empires”, to the point of not only spending trillions of dollars in his inglorious, ill-defined and arrogant War on Terror, but also ending up disastrously withdrawing from the country, returning control of it to the very group that had removed it from power. a few months after the attack on the Twin Towers in September 2001.

When analyzing the domestic and foreign policy developments of such events, Nasser wisely does not simplify the narrative and carefully demonstrates the complexities that exist between the policies and discussions involved in the War on Terror in general, and the events directly linked to the Taliban – a group generated in the neighboring Pakistan, one of the most unstable countries in the world and which has always played a double game with the United States – which had nothing directly to do with 11/XNUMX, but which ended up becoming the only plausible focus (since the invasion to Iraq would be seen as spurious by the international community from the outset) of the doomed fight against Terror. Covering from Washington to Kabul, the book details how a post-Taliban government became dependent on provincial oligarchies in a country that, in fact, never had an efficient central government; in the midst of a reality where administrative decentralization also became useful for the outsourcing of occupation that allowed local feudal Warlords to jointly benefit from powerful US mercenary companies.

Enriching the narrative further, Nasser also aptly analyzes the political utilization of the War on Terror itself by not just George W. Bush, but Obama, Trump, and even Biden; since they all used it to promote their candidacies and the supposed gains of their governments. In fact, if there have been adjustments over the years, the fact is that the deliberate articulation of a diffuse war, with no clear enemy, and which would be pursued around the world, has always been useful to all presidential candidates, regardless of the party in question. .

Likewise, if Obama made more use of technological attacks (drones) than other presidents, and if he also tried to close the infamous Guantánamo Base, he was also the one who expanded the military presence in Afghanistan, allowing both Trump and Biden to promise an exit from the country not as a solution to ill-defined global terrorism, much less an end to the tragic humanitarian events in the land of the Taliban; but rather in response to the increasing expense and loss of life from such an ill-planned and tragic adventure.

The fight against terrorism therefore presents us with a critical reading of central elements of the geopolitical developments of the last 20 years that help to explain how the proclaimed North American global hegemony would end up revealing itself as one of the shortest in history. And although we are still in a world to define itself, it is a fact that the US incursions in hasty military operations and surrounded by high levels of corruption around the world helped to build the scenario in which we live. In this sense, Nasser offers us a necessary reading for everyone interested in thinking about the course of the XNUMXst century.

*Rafael R. Ioris is professor of history at the University of Denver (USA).



Reginald Nasser. The fight against terrorism – the US and Taliban friends. São Paulo, Countercurrent, 2021, 180 pages.


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