Afghanistan & WWIII

Russia's 9th
Russia's 9th | Source

Post-Taliban conflicts

Thoughts having to do with World War III are best dealt with prior to the event. Happily, one country that can be crossed off the list of tomorrow's biggest culprits is Afghanistan. It is not going to be the match that sets off the flame. At the moment, the bombing of Iran is the most likely scenario to ignite world war and introduce universal grief. It gives tacit approval to other countries that wish to bomb an adversary. There would be no holding back. The global game is full of such mischief. Of course, this could change momentarily. There is no second-guessing the self-absorbed leadership that informs the New World Order. As it stands, it is entirely possible that a bad hair day could decide the fate of mankind.

Culpability cannot be attributed to the USSR either. It has been gone now for over twenty years. The thinking is that its disappearance had something to do with Afghanistan, a Vietnam-style quagmire from which there is no real extrication. 9th Company (2005) is a Russian movie that deals with the subject. It begins in 1988, nine years into the bloody stalemate. The 9th Company of the 345th Regiment of the Soviet Air Force earned a reputation for taking on the hardest assignments. The film depicts an example. Troops must gain safe passage for a convoy that, it turns out, is not coming. Still, they fight incredibly hard against the Mujahadeen, who trap them in the stark mountains.

In World War II it seems as though everyone knew what they were fighting, both for and against. In the modern era, this is not the case. Soviet troops in the movie chant as instructed about resistance to imperialism, but where is it? All the eye can see is a village high up in the middle of nowhere whose occupants would rather not be interfered with. Naturally, this is a movie and not an analysis, but it serves to stimulate thought. And this cheap product of human existence may actually be all that there is to stave off a nuclear holocaust.

Osama bin Laden's presence in Afghanistan ultimately wreaked havoc on the US on an unprecedented scale. So, this drug-infested and Islamic country, which appears in photos and films as a vast wasteland, is far from innocent. But the continued show of foreign force in the region is a worrisome indicator that geographic research and development is now in the process of seamlessly shifting local struggles into those that are wider-reaching. Al Qaeda cannot be permitted to return; the US cannot allow itself to leave. But terrorism will continue, if not here, then elsewhere.

Also, notice how the Russians, after ten years of sacrifice and effort, simply packed up and departed. Comparisons to Vietnam are inevitable. One would like to know what Bondarchuk, the director of 9th Company, thought of Hamburger Hill (1987). The taking of Height 3234 in the former is a lot like Hill 937 in the latter. However, the main point is that in the aftermath, Russia did not aggressively seek another ten year conflict to compensate for the disappointments of their Afghanistan affair. Back in the States, the Iraqi-Kuwait operation, entailing a dazzling multi-national coalition, miraculously cured America's war-related complex. Years earlier, the NVA was supposed to have been a pushover. Not so. But the million-man army collapsed like the walls of Jericho. Since the 1970s, getting beyond Vietnam had always been a challenge. September 11th left no choice except another armed response. But that was then, what about now?

Now, the US is not just militarily strong, but psychologically confident, too. This is a positive development, but only if level-headed. The USSR did not want world war, and therefore pulled back from both Cuba and Afghanistan. Communist or not, this is not an irresponsible nation. The USA, on the other hand, has never been more hawkish in recent memory. This policy puts US citizens at risk, if not in the short run, then in the long. Payback is koranic. At any rate, it is not the country that is at fault -- if there is blame at all. That is to say, its common citizens lack sufficient information to produce an informed opinion. And if the USA is actually trying to provoke greater and more explosive conflicts in transition to World War III, then this can only be the fault of a few bad leaders.

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