The US “Nation Building” Process- Building dysfunctional democracies since 1898
In the past 116+ years of "Nation Building" it's of great concern that in today's world, the US Government sucks at this process and truly needs to rethink any future endeavors.
To shorten that definition to just a single word, it's bribery, extortion, slush-money, payoff, protection, milking, exaction and so on.
One can argue with that sentiment, but basically we’re paying countries to be our “friend and ally” with Humanitarian Aid, Military Aid and sometimes good old cash money. A notch below the neighborhood bully in demands that your convert to a form of democracy that never flourishes.
Prior to the current attempts to “nation build” in Iraq and Afghanistan, the last time the United States attempted to simultaneously "nation build" was the turn of the 20th century with Cuba and the Philippines during the Spanish American War.
To recap, before the “yellow journalism” of William Randolf Hearst & Joseph Pulitzer that led the US into the Spanish American War, the US had general interest in a possible Cuban statehood since it was extremely close to Florida. Yet when war was declared, Congress decided not to lay claim to Cuba, instead settling on the notion of “influence.”
After two and half months of war, Spain called for a cease fire and left Cuba in the hands of the US to begin their “influence.” The influence directive was to create a mirror image of the US. Cuba was to; have a Constitution, free elections and prosperous economy, not to mention a portion of the island to be sovereign to US at Guantanamo Bay.
A new Cuban government agreed to a US likeness only because of fear of a permanent US occupation. Then three years later and large amounts of US dollars spent to help improve Cuba’s population in health, sanitation, education and so on, the US called its endeavor a success and left Cuba.
Shortly after the US walked away, many Cubans became impatient with their new found democracy and within a span of 10 years had three separate uprisings, opening the door for a temporary US return.
Now when the US declared war on Spain in Cuba, Teddy Roosevelt, then the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, without Navy Secretary John Long’s knowledge, sent a telegraph message to Commodore Dewey to move the Pacific Fleet to the Philippines to keep the Spanish fleet at bay.
Sec. Long let the order hold and a few months later Commodore Dewey sent word that he had destroyed the Spanish Fleet. Yet (here’s the clincher), President McKinley was excited by the news but did not know where the Philippines were and since there was no plan to “nation build” there, it was decided that the Philippines would be a US Colony but under self rule.
Well it wasn’t that easy, we actually bought the Philippines for $20 million in the Treaty of Paris.
But unlike the Cubans that were overjoyed by the US involvement, the Filipinos wanted nothing to do with Spain and the US and a small amount of guerilla warfare broke out for about 2 years, eventually contained and finally a form of “nation building” was set.
OK, that history recap was a little wordy, but now fast forward to today, does any of this sound familiar about today’s ventures in Afghanistan and Iraq?
We went into Iraq mostly on false information received by our own intelligence gathering almost equals that of the “yellow journalism” received about Cuba. And as quickly as we left Cuba, internal strife begun, just like in Iraq between Sunni and Shiite.
I can completely believe that the US actions in Afghanistan are close to that of the Philippines, as we’ve never planned on “occupying” Afghanistan, but the time has come for the US to leave. The mission is complete as revenge upon a Taliban government for harboring Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist group and their attacks on 9/11.
“Since September 11, I think everyone understands that we have a stake in the future of Afghanistan that is not simply nation-building for the sake of the Afghan people, it’s security-building for prevent terrorists from returning. That’s not a mission we ever thought about before in the United States,” – Unnamed senior US official (http://www.fas.org/man/eprint/carson.pdf)
So we’ve jumped the shark from “nation building” to “security building” when it comes to Afghanistan and there’s a great reason for this; Afghanistan has no real economic infrastructure and not to mention that it’s run by provincial tribal warlords, not a government, so it’s a haven for terrorists to set up camp.
In Afghanistan, there is no capital when your biggest export product is an illegal product in Opium, which overshadows the legal products of carpets and fruits. Think about it, each year since the US invaded Afghanistan; Opium harvesting has increased and expanded across the land. It’s a multi-billion dollar a year operation.
The very same Air Force the US developed with Russian built equipment and US tax dollars has become the logistical arm for drug lords. Opium distribution is so large that the Afghanistan Air Force has become the “mule” for drug running purposes.
A large majority of the airplanes in the Afghan Air Force cannot fly due to cost of fuel and/or part shortages and those that can fly are used by Generals and VIPs as limo services or transport Opium to various locations.
We’ve built power stations at $300 million a pop that cannot be turned on due to fear of Warlord/Taliban threats or they cannot afford the diesel to run the generators.
We’ve built roads to help commerce move through the country only to have those roads destroyed by Warlord/Taliban actions
But for some odd reasoning, there are those in DC and Media that believe we must stay even though it’s been stated by the Afghan government, one that we placed, to get the f*ck out.
These are the very same folks that cry “government needs to spend less” on a daily basis but refuse to come to reality that Afghanistan is not run by our well placed government, its run by tribal warlords that yield the higher power.
We’ve spent upwards near $460+ billion dollars just on the war in Afghanistan since 2001 and have no problems of the planned expenditure of close to $4 billion till 2024 to pay for Afghanistan’s National Security Force of 350,000 personnel and their salaries yet scream about not having money for our own military and their benefits!
I understand the politics of using people, whether it religious or economic demographics, as pawns. And it’s understandable that those being used are too ignorant to see they’re being bent over, but it’s truly disgusting when these political players use the men and women, those that have served and currently serving as pawns to win over the heart strings of the ignorant to win political points.
They want us to stay in Afghanistan that never truly wanted the US, not in the 80’s, not now and not in the future to rebuild their infrastructure while our own is crumbling around us. It’s pure political genius and their winning at it.
If we couldn’t help Afghanistan 34 years ago, we sure as hell will not help it tomorrow. It’s time to go, it’s time to return, it’s time to put the money back into the United States.