Re: Aid for Afghanistan

From: Geraint Rees (
Date: Tue Jan 01 2002 - 13:46:30 MST

On 1/1/02 6:24 PM, "John Clark" <> wrote:

>> Kai Becker <> Wrote:
>> What seems to be difficult to communicate is that a long chain of
>> unwise behaviour of the US (and other countries) in the past has
>> led to the hate and the hostility of many people against the western
>> countries and especially the USA.
> Unwise? Probably false, certainly irrelevant. In a world with only one
> superpower that superpower will be hated in certain quarters regardless
> of its behavior, it's inevitable. However lots of people hate other people
> but they don't go around killing them because they know their will be dire
> consequences if they do, this war is about reminding Islamic fundamentalists
> of that fact.

I'm not sure that this is either false or irrelevant. I agree that there
will always be 'power envy', and there's not a lot you can do about that.
However, in this particular case the CIA & ISI throughout the 80s explicitly
encouraged, financed and trained militant Islamic groups in Afghanistan as a
way of fighting a proxy war against the Soviet Union. Specific individuals
who benefited from this US money and training included one Usama Bin Laden.
I've posted some of the sources for this material previously. Note that at
this time, the US were explicitly encouraging Islamic fundamentalism,
presumably because the people they killed (Soviet troops) were useful to US
foreign policy goals.

Whatever the merits of this strategy at the time, with hindsight the
description 'unwise' seems highly appropriate. The lesson to be learnt is
surely that today's apparently desirable foreign policy goals become
tomorrow's blowback disaster. There is surely no reason to assume that
current US (or any other country, for that matter) foreign policy is any
less fallible?

Best wishes,


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