The NATO summit held in Chicago on May 20-21 featured an extensive program, the list of issues touched upon including European missile defense, the Open Door policy, and the alliance's efforts to strengthen its network of partnerships worldwide. Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Mongolia took part in the forum, and even though the current NATO candidates – Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina - were not issued the desired entry tickets, no doubt was left that the global march of the alliance would proceed at an accelerated pace. Importantly, the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan were – for the first time ever – on the invitations list. In Putin's footsteps, neither chose to show up, but the foreign ministers of the Central Asian republics attended the summit.
Outrageously, the NATO summit lengthily discussed the state of relations between Russia and Georgia or, in the terms of the declaration that eventually materialized, “the build-up of Russia’s military presence on Georgia’s territory”. “Georgia’s territory” was the NATO form of reference to the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - as on a countless number of previous occasions, US Secretary of State H. Clinton urged Russia to revoke the recognition of the independence of the two republics when she spoke at a meeting of the NATO countries' diplomacy chiefs.
Predictably, the focal point of the recent NATO forum was the alliance's strategy in Afghanistan. In fact, the theme overshadowed everything else to the point of causing watchers to describe the whole convention as an Afghan summit. It must be taken into account in the context that the complexity of the task of pulling the NATO forces out of the country is not necessarily the main reason behind the current centrality of Afghanistan to the agenda of the alliance.
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The summit, it should be noted, upheld a cautious approach to the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Somewhat earlier, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spelled out the position in a deliberately unclear manner when he said that the alliance would continue to contribute to the security of the Central Asian republic by training the Afghan security forces. The NATO countries subscribed to a plan to pour $4.1b annually into the 228,000-strong Afghan Army over the coming decade or longer, with a third of the funds coming from the US. There has to be a serious explanation behind the generosity, especially considering that the military budgets of the NATO members are slimming no matter how the process upsets Washington, and the spotlight steadily shifts towards efficiency and combination of resources. Rasmussen emphasized austerity in his budgetary comments, diplomatically noting that an improved cooperation culture should enable the alliance countries to jointly have what they cannot afford individually, which again read as an admission that the alliance's finances are running low - but saving on Afghanistan still seems to be out of question.
The statements churned out by Washington that the US military presence in Afghanistan will continue past the 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of the 132,000 coalition servicemen from the country further reinforce the impression that the Afghan part of the NATO agenda far exceeds in importance the majority of other issues. For example, residual US military presence was a part of the package when the fresh strategic partnership deal was penned by Washington and Kabul. The same question arises in this connection – what actually is the point?
The truth is that the game played out in Afghanistan revolves around more than just geopolitical or any legitimate economic interests. Its economic dimension involves a purely criminal component related to the drug business and to oil. Peter Dale Scott wrote in his “Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina”: “Drug networks are important factors in the politics of every continent. The United States returns repeatedly to the posture of fighting wars in areas of petroleum reserves with the aid of drug-trafficking allies - drug proxies - with which it has a penchant to become involved”. Being drawn into various conflicts, Washington gradually starts to pursue the interests of the drug proxies it originally hoped to cynically use.
A situation similar to the one found in Afghanistan is materializing in Columbia where the US is nominally waging a war against the drug mafia. The reality is that the main groups of drug dealers in the country are the militant groups which act as partners of the government forces, that is, of Washington’s allies. Moreover, the groups in Columbia are descendants of the CIA-created terrorist formations originally invented to fight the local left. In other words, in Columbia and Afghanistan, Washington is currently fighting against the forces it unleashed. It is a straightforward guess that the scenario for the foreseeable future in Kosovo, another place where drugs and terrorism are interwoven with politics, is going to be absolutely the same.
The situation in Columbia mirrors that of Afghanistan, the country across which the US-based UNOCAL planned to construct a pipeline back in 1998. Fighting against Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the US had to secure the support from the Northern Alliance, which is known to be heavily involved with the drug business. Trying to beat Bin Laden, NATO and its henchmen from the Northern Alliance which encouraged poppy farmers crashed the Taliban which in 2000 imposed a ban on poppy cropping on the territories under its control.....read More