Rand Paul will face massive opposition from the establishment, pro-military complex wing of the Republican Party in his presumed bid for the White House. People with big check books are ready to fund Paul’s opposition. The neocons don’t think Paul is “strong enough” on Israel. They want to make sure the $3 billion currently flowing to the country from US taxpayers keeps flowing. Much of the political class in Tel Aviv counts on this infusion in one way or another. Anyone (Paul possibly) who would even consider reducing the annual gift is considered an existential threat.
I don’t think that Halliburton profits were THE chief driver of the war, and I don’t think Rand Paul does either. But Dick Cheney’s former company sure did make (and continues to make) a lot (billions) in Iraq.
We stay and will stay in a more “limited” way in Afghanistan because it is vitally important in the “grand game.” Afghanistan is the cornerstone of Asia and it is at the crossroads of the Silk Road. To the north is Putin’s Russia, to the west Iran. To the east China. To the south India. It may be inhospitable. It may be dangerous. It may be the place where historically empires have gone to die. But it is full of unexploited minerals and lots and lots of opium.
Let me say that I am a friend of Israel. I grew up with the children of Israeli air force pilots. In my home my father had a picture hanging in his office signed by some of his Israeli friends flying over a bombed out Iraqi nuclear facility. I grew up with the knowledge that the only place in the Middle East where the average Arab had any voice in government at all was in Israel.
But the Israeli lobby (and let’s be very clear about this, Israeli does NOT mean “Jewish” lobby) is too powerful in this country. Far too much of our foreign policy is dictated by a small group of very powerful people who believe that the USA must continue to funnel money to Israel no matter the cost. We wage wars to provide cover for Israel. Much of the Iraq war was about providing a buffer for Tel Aviv. Likewise the war we almost got involved in in Syria was also driven by Israeli interests. (Thankfully the American and British people rose up and made sure we stayed out of there.)
Not a surprise that Russia has a robust lobbying and PR presence in the USA, but still good to be aware of.
Above was the moment when Putin knew for sure that Obama wasn’t much of a player.
There are actually 2 major reasons. The first is that Afghanistan is at the crossroads of Asia. The power which controls Afghanistan controls the Khyber Pass and with it access to the Indian sub-continent. To the east is China. To the north Russia, to the west the Middle East. Though it’s a rough neighborhood the real estate is prime location-wise.
Afghanistan stinks. The death, despair, cronyism, corruption, the companies licking their chops over lithium and rare earths deposits, the endless funds which are printed here and flow through Kabul to God only knows where, the “heroin bomb” dropped on American cities. The country may look like heaven in places, but for America it has been hell.
This seems, unwise.
War is often a waste. A waste of people and treasure and other things. This is a treasure story.