Can the USA Pull It Together After Afghanistan?

The USA is Still Suffering from Too Much Collective Ego

Many conversations have been about the withdrawal from Afghanistan and whether the USA learned anything after spending $2.3 trillion over twenty years to not get much out of the exercise. The Taliban recovered Kabul within days of President Biden’s offering, the final withdrawal date of August 31st.

Let’s Look at the Big Picture

There will be an upswing, but America has some lessons to learn. Hopefully, they don’t learn them the hard way. As Einstein identified in 1949, humankind was already beginning to resent its affiliation with the collective we. He blamed it on the organization of society, with communism on one end and capitalism on the other. He said there was a balance in the middle, which he called planned socialism.

Well, communism collapsed in the Soviet Union. But, unfortunately, it appears the USA’s free-market capitalists used that as an opportunity to impose capitalism or say we were right about capitalism, so the oligarchs further weakened the government’s role (the collective we) under Reagan while expanding capitalism’s role.

The Capitalists Never Allowed a Democracy

A friend of mine likened capitalism to fire. It’s handy but requires significant control, or it can burn uncontrollably. It’s a good analogy, and it’s probably one that was used by our Founders based on the discussions and debates that they had when forming our union. Jefferson argued we need a strong government to control the economically powerful (he called them wolves). Then we need a strong press to hold him accountable in the government, or he might become a wolf too. You see, our Founders understood humanity’s nature and wanted a society that had checks and balances in place to control man’s lust for power and money.

Well, it’s my theory that the oligarchs or Robber Barons or “wolves” never allowed themselves to be checked by the government put in place. For one thing, women were treated as second-class citizens. And worst of all, the oligarchs in the South and many in the North had slaves. Even several of the Founders had slaves, so the “we the people” was a great line of bullshit.

The free press surrendered its power as soon as the local newspaper owner printed a story that hurt one of his advertisers and got a chewing out and lost revenue. After that, the owners of the expensive printing presses started censoring themselves. After that, the folks with money, the oligarchy, or Robber Barons controlled everything because everything required capital or money.

Jump Forward to the Reagan Presidency

Thanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency and the New Deal, the working-class Americans finally felt they made progress against the capitalists. The unions during the industrial revolution and the war brought with them class solidarity. When you take a closer look at what FDR did, he saved capitalism. Instead of being grateful, many of the oligarchs at the time got resentful instead. “How dare the government take my wealth and use it for the people.”

However, FDR’s proposals set the stage for the most profitable and equitable period the USA has ever witnessed, and it lasted right up to Reagan’s presidency. Ronald loaded his administration with Milton Friedman’s boys from the Chicago School of Economics, who sold the American people that the expanded wealth of the rich will trickle down on the rest of us if we make life great for the wealthy oligarchs. What actually happens is it starves the government of much-needed revenue and makes the wealthy extremely wealthier. Many books have been written about this period through today, but none more relevant than Thomas Piketty’s economic masterpiece, Capital in the 21st Century.

In essence, the oligarchy who resented FDR for his New Deal got their revenge. As a result, the rich have gotten richer, and the poor have gotten poorer, while the working class becomes the working poor. We are now in our second Gilded Age like we were before FDR took office.

Post Afghanistan War & Conclusion

I know this has been a fun historical trip, but trust me, it’s beneficial. As I mentioned earlier, the society established by our Founders didn’t exist at the time. They created democracy for the people, but the rulers over the country would be a constitutional republic. Einstein pointed out the owners/oligarchs controlled everything in 1949.

These transnational elites used a $1 trillion military to get what they want around the world. First, they set up companies to build weapons, surveillance, military vehicles; then, they get large contracts from the federal government they control with the politicians they own to extract even more wealth for themselves. Julian Assange told us about this in 2011, and they’ve made his life a living hell for the past decade.

Other than the CIA running a massive heroin operation in Northern Afghanistan for 20 years, and the $2.3 trillion spent on the country, the American people got nothing. Instead, the top military contractors and their grifting subcontractors/political insiders made fortunes. Stock prices grew amazingly — everybody was happy in the DC/NY circle. From Pepe Escobar:

Switching from the classics to a more pedestrian level, WikiLeaks has been replaying a sort of Afghanistan Greatest Hits , reminding public opinion, for instance, that as far back as 2008 there was already “no pre-defined end date” for the “forever war.”

Yet the most concise assessment may have come from Julian Assange himself:

“The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war.” 

The “forever war” may have been a disaster for the bombed, invaded and impoverished “Afghan people,” but it was an unmitigated success for what Ray McGovern so memorably defines as the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Counter-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank) complex. Anyone who bought stocks of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and the rest of that crowd made – literally – a killing.

Facts are indeed dire. Barack Obama – who presided over a hefty Afghan “kill list”  throws a birthday party and invites the woke nouveaux riches. Julian Assange suffers psychological torture imprisoned in Belmarsh. And Ashraf Ghani mulls how to spend $169 million in the Dubai rackets, funds some say were duly stolen from the “Afghan people.”

However, from an elevated view of what happened during the withdrawal and how quickly the Taliban recovered their stronghold in Afghanistan, the Pentagon and its intelligence community lost serious credibility worldwide. They’ve been on the news blaming others for the issues, but nobody in the world is buying it. Only the propaganda-loving Americans are eating it up.

So, will our humiliated Pentagon and the oligarchy stop and learn from this debacle, or will their egos go into denial mode and repress it?

I’ve read in many think-tank articles that we are pivoting to Asia/China.

Remember what I said about needing a strong government to control capitalism? We don’t have that in the USA, but the Chinese have a strong central government.

China (CCP) has called in the billionaires to let them know they are getting too big and control too much of the markets, causing social unrest. Xi said I am going to take some steps to reduce your power, and you need to take some steps to reduce your power and wealth so that all of society can benefit. Could you imagine President Joe Biden telling that to Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and most of the CEOs of major transnational corporations running the show behind the scenes?

Vladimir Putin told us we were getting way too prideful and couldn’t afford any more mistakes, and he’s right. He told us that before we blew the pullout in Kabul.

We’ve been spreading the propaganda about American Exceptionalism for decades and have bought into it ourselves. The oligarchs are doing what’s best for themselves while fracturing society. The media keeps pointing fingers at Russia for sewing discord–that’s a Cold War tactic that just doesn’t cut it anymore. The media wonders why nobody is watching or reading their propaganda. It has no depth or spine because they aren’t a truth-seeking media. They are entertainment. Our government is just as impotent. They are both weak and impotent, which is why our oligarchy has thrived for decades. I’m not even going to introduce the Federal Reserve’s role in all of this mess because it will blow your minds as well.

All I know is we need to make lots of changes, and they need to make them quickly. We need to learn from our failure in Afghanistan and work with other nations peacefully or risk falling even further behind Eastern leaders. The young people across the globe are demanding the changes, and their demands do not coincide with the oligarchs in the USA. Our brand of capitalism isn’t wanted anywhere else unless we force it down their throat, and I’m just not sure we have the ability to push our weight around anymore. We need to learn how to play in the sandbox with others.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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