I’ve always been amazed at the sheer sophistication of Eurasian nomads, especially their ability to discern propaganda. A culture primarily shaped within oral traditions is NOT easily duped by either western mores nor technological advance. As Marshall McLuhan studied throughout the 1950’s, the ear (aural) can dominate the eye (visual) in a way UNDETECTED by cultures dominated by linear didactic stress. That means the nomads throughout the southwestern Eurasian pivot inside Spykman’s “Rimland” are immune to the sophisticated culture of the west. This underwrites the convictions of many superior geo-strategic thinkers THAT IF the American’s get involved in a land war anywhere throughout the Eurasian steppe, absent highly developed alliances, WE’RE TOAST!!
This should temper our need to re-examine Hamid Karzai’s crazy behavior. For he’s only trying to make himself indispensable!
Given both the history of the region and the pure intractable socio-political cultural problems underwriting Afghan advance, we need to heed what Haroun Mir wrote recently. Krazy Karzai must be understood from within the finer psychological/strategic and political relations that harness power. His ability to ‘buck’ his U.S. masters gains him credibility. His astute knowledge of our fickle commander-in-chief was useful, especially as he mastered Richard Holbrooke’s misguided insistence for the nomenclature that became ‘AfPak’. Misguided, because it ignored the singularity that has always been Afghan culture, especially how its martial aesthetic found a deep abiding home in Islam’s egalitarian premise. Punjabi’s come close, but Afghans don’t cleave in a janus like embrace of modernity like Pakistan!
Karzai was right to insist that U.S. counter-terror operatives disregard Durand and move into north Waziristan, Quetta, Peshawar. We didn’t heed him because of our own misguided policy maneuvering regarding Pakistan as a ‘partner’. Bush gets credit for permitting the locals to prove themselves, but we must acknowledge how Kabul’s alliance with New Delhi inflames Pashtun imaginative grievance.
So, how does this ’70’s show end?
Given the Machiavellian nature of Obama in southwest Asia, I’d venture to say that a historic rout of American presence will underwrite the propaganda of any advancing Taliban, but Reapers and Predators will continue to sustain an American counter-terror posture.
Until that moment, we should anticipate how Krazy Karzai will resist being made irrelevant.