Afghanistan, a 21st-Century Cuba

By Hans Vogel

Last week's elections in Afghanistan were, of course, a travesty of democracy. A farce, a joke, a charade. Still, we haven't been hearing lots of laughter, though loud laughter, no matter whether cynical or not, would have been the only proper reaction to what was ubiquitously presented as a serious event in a democratic country. Anyone observing the “elections” should have been roaring with laughter, with tears in his eyes and cramps in the stomach, that kind of laughter. Yet most “Western” media reported on them with the utmost seriousness. It is just another proof of how utterly insignificant these media have become, manned as they are by traitors, weaklings, half-wits and other losers whom no one with a modicum of self-esteem would want to associate with.

Even if Afghanistan would have been a democracy to begin with, and not as now, saddled with a phony democracy imposed on it by “Western” bayonets, the normal functioning of the system ought to have been suspended because of the savage war raging within its borders. Moreover, Afghanistan is under military occupation by tens of thousands of trigger-happy, racist, foreign criminals masquerading as soldiers. They are routinely killing Afghan civilians, destroying its economy, wrecking its social fabric, ravaging the country. They have set up a collaborationist regime that could not possibly survive without their presence. The current Afghan regime exerts no control over the country at all. Perhaps in and around Kabul it manages to maintain a semblance of authority, but in actual fact, part of the country is run by the US government at Washington, working through a wide array of local warlords and chieftains. However, most of Afghanistan is run by the Taliban.

Anyone would agree democracy cannot function properly during wartime and, just in case you would not, there is overwhelming historical evidence to support this assertion. On the contrary, war is always a splendid opportunity for the elite to strengthen its control and to curtail democratic rights. It was during the Great War (1914-1918) that European state bureaucracies grew to levels of power and control never witnessed before. And don't you believe the new bureaucracies gave up any of their power when the war ended. The Second World War (1939-1945) saw a further development of state control, not only in the belligerent countries themselves (Germany, Italy, Britain, the Soviet Union), but also in most of the countries that were liberated or occupied or whatever term you would use for the military takeover by any of the main belligerents.

In the US, developments followed the same pattern as in Europe. Today, individual citizens all over the “West” enjoy less freedom, less liberty, less rights than their forebears living a century ago. These rights have been taken away and curtailed, step by step, inch by inch. Today, most “Westerners” are little more than consumers. They have become numbed by lousy media, trash entertainment and silly commercials to the point of losing their political identities. Too many still believe the crooks they vote for in periodic elections have their best interests in mind. In most of the “West,” democracy exists in name only. The label no longer covers the content. In actual fact, most “Western” states would better qualify as oligarchic, autocratic, or even totalitarian regimes.

Indeed, compared the states like the US, Britain, the Netherlands or other supine US clients, the political system imposed on Afghanistan is not that different. It may just be a bit rougher around the edges. If the US calls itself a democracy and gets away with it, there is little reason why Afghanistan could not qualify as a democracy either...

Afghanistan is only the latest country to receive the benefits of US-style democracy. The US began exporting its particular brand of democracy in 1898, when it interfered in the Cuba's fight for independence from Spain. That year, a US warship, the USS Maine, blew up when moored in Havana harbor. The US press, then as unreliable and as bloodthirsty as today, cried wolf, accusing Spain of sabotaging its warship and clamored for a war to avenge the Maine. The press got its war and within months US forces had invaded Cuba, the main supplier of the tremendous US demand for sugar. Equipped with an excess of firepower and a minimum of courage, but with a propensity for cruelty and wanton violence, US troops quickly vanquished the Spanish forces on the island. These had been demoralized by long years of fighting a losing battle against the insurgents. Then, US forces found themselves facing the insurgents, who at first believed the US had come to help them. Not so.

The Cubans could now only get their independence from the hands of the US, and only after acceding to adopt a pernicious clause in their constitution. Known as the “Platt Amendment,” this provision gave the US the right to intervene in Cuban politics whenever it deemed fit, and to install a government to its liking. Thus, in 1902 Cuba became independent in name only. Elected in US-supervised elections (with the usual vote rigging and intimidations) its first president, Tomás Estrada Palma, was also a US citizen. In fact, Cuba was a US protectorate, at least until the US allowed it to delete the amendement in 1933. Until Fidel Castro daredstand up to the US after 1959, Cuba remained wholly subservient to the US, a weak, thoroughly corrupt, exploited, meek client state like the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama. Any attempts in these states to attain full independence have been steadily met with violent and vicious reprisals from Washington, ranging from orchestrating international isolation to full-blown military intervention, either with or without UN or OAS approval.

Now compare these facts with the Afghan situation. Like Cuba a century ago, Afghanistan is the main supplier of a substance that is essential for the US. Cuba produced sugar, Afghanistan heroin, which is shipped to markets worldwide by the CIA and which earns billions of dollars of hard cash urgently needed to finance all sorts of secret and illicit activities. Both sugar and heroin are white, addictive and bad for your health.

The collapse (to use a neutral term) of New York's twin towers was used as a justification to invade and conquer Afghanistan, just like the blowing up of the USS Maine was the pretext for intervening in Cuba. Funny by the way, how the US tends to be “dragged into” foreign wars (always against its will, mind you!) by dubious incidents such as these. The sinking of the Lusitania and the Zimmermann telegram in 1917, the Japanese “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a US puppet without spine, character or intelligence and resembles Cuba's Tomás Estrada Palma in more than one respect. So far, Afghanistan's elections have been as much a travesty of democracy as the Cuban elections until at least 1933. Rife with vote rigging, selling of votes. manipulation of results, intimidation through violence and above all, taking place under the protection of foreign bayonets, no one in his right mind could possibly qualify the last Afghan charade as a true election. And where were all the foreign observers that have become a requisite in order for elections in “non-Western” democracies to be regarded as open fair? Russia, the Caucasian Republics, the various new Balkan states, numerous African and Asian republics, have all generously allowed the presence of teams of foreign observers. Why were such teams of observers not present in Afghanistan? Was it perhaps too dangerous for them? If so, it was certainly too dangerous for the Afghan people to cast their ballot!

Nor has there been any serious independent reporting out of Afghanistan over the past eight years. Ever since the US invasion and occupation, “Western” journalists have only been allowed to do their job while “embedded” in army units, or working under close supervision of the military.

Indeed, by all reasonable and objective standards, the recent Afghan elections were a total and absolute farce, a shameful, scandalous affair.

Yet what happened in Afghanistan and what is happening today, is not without significance. This is the way the US intends to rule the world: conquering nations and regions it has been coveting, turning them into vague political copies of itself, suppressing any kind of opposition by endless doses of violence, totally insensitive to the amount and extent of human sufering it causes.

For more than one hundred years now, the US has been trying to impose its own backward notions and standards on the rest of the world, causing even more disruption and havoc than the European colonial powers it has been so eager to replace. Like the German political scientist, Christian von Krockow expounded with keen insight in Die Zukunft der Geschichte. Ein Vermächtnis, (the Future of History, 2002), the history of the 20th century offers abundant proof that mankind does not learn from history. Whatever lesson history may be teaching us, the modern “West” does not learn it. Having taken over the US disdain for and ignorance of history, the “West” keeps repeating all of the mistakes from the past, over and over again.

The Afghan tragedy is a case in point. To even a superficial observer, it seems a repetition of what the US did to Cuba a century ago. After subjecting Cuba, the US began to apply this recipe to the rest of Latin America. You may bet your bottom dollar (which does not amount to much anymore lately...) that the Afghanistan treatment, which has already been extended to Iraq, will be meted out to as many other nations the US can handle. Everywhere the US will encounter fierce resistance and long guerilla wars, just like in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Thus the US is busy carrying out Che Guevara's suggestion: “Crear dos, tres, muchos Vietnam...” (Create two, three many Vietnams). He might as well have said, “create two, three, many Cubas.” After all, Cuba was among the first nations to be conquered and colonized by the US, and among the first to shake off its yoke. Vietnam followed the Cuban example, just like Afghanistan will one day in the not too distant future.

History still has many surprises in store for the US and for those who, like the US, have chosen to ignore history and its lessons.

Hans Vogel

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov