At the Munich Security conference, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The U.S.’s special representative to Afghanistan Zalmey Khalilzad also made an appearance at the meeting.
According to reports, the ongoing peace negotiations between the U.S. and Taliban are expected to conclude any day now.
If negotiations proceed according to plan, then U.S. troops will withdraw from Afghanistan where they have been deployed for the past 18 years.
U.S. President Donald Trump had pledged to pullout all U.S. troops from Afghanistan during his 2016 election campaign.
However, Trump never made good on his promise, and now once again elections will be held in the U.S. in 2020. It seems that he doesn’t want to face the voters as a president who didn’t keep his word.
Young Americans regard Afghanistan as the new Vietnam.
Indeed, U.S. citizens are drawing a parallel between Afghanistan and Vietnam. The "Soviet Union" occupied Afghanistan in 1979. The Afghan war, which lasted for 10 years, hastened the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The Americans saw Afghanistan as the "Russian Vietnam.” About 30 years have passed since the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan.
Now the roles have been reversed: the Soviets stayed in Afghanistan for ten years, but the Americans have been there for 18 years now.
Trump has often said that the U.S. in no way profited from its deployment there and on the contrary, lost trillions of dollars.
According to data by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. spent 800 billion dollars in Afghanistan in the past 18 years.
Rumors are circulating that If Trump succeeds in withdrawing all his troops from the country, his hand will be strengthened in the upcoming elections.
Those who say this are referring to the U.S. Presidential elections of 1972. Richard Nixon, who was elected President of the Republican Party in 1968, promised to withdraw American soldiers from Vietnam. Nixon was pursuing a policy called "Vietnamization" to fulfill his pledge, and this policy was undertaken by National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.
Kissinger secretly conducted meetings with the Vietnamese and was also flirting with Chinese leader Mao. Nixon was playing bad cop and Kissinger was playing good cop. This delegation of roles strengthened Kissinger’s hand.
The pledge to withdraw from Vietnam played a huge role in Nixon’s re-election as president in 1972.
The Nixon administration withdrew U.S. soldiers from Vietnam in January 1973 after an agreement was reached.
Now it seems that Trump’s fate is hanging by a similar thread.
For a while now, Trump has been following an Afganization policy which has Nixon’s Vietnamization policy at its core.
However, Trump doesn’t have it as easy and Nixon did.
He is under great pressure from the American Military Industrial Complex, which feeds off the U.S.’s wars and has great influence in both the Republicans and the Democrats.
The complex is the most powerful lobby in the U.S.
In my previous column I had pointed out that alliances changed according to the world’s fickle conditions.
I had stated that Rising Global Power China was the greatest competition of the Ruling global Power, the U.S.
The U.S., which lost 58,000 men in Vietnam started thawing ties with Ho Chi Minh in the year 2000.
When Obama lifted the arms embargo, he ushered a new era of ties with the country.
Trump for his part considers Vietnam as an “ally country.”
His second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un even happened in Vietnam.
It could be said that the developing relationship with Vietnam is due to the China factor.
Sly old fox Kissinger is now giving advice to the White House to establish good relations with Russia to isolate China. The same Kissinger advocated a rapprochement with China against the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. In the "Cold War" period, the Soviet Union was the U.S.’s main rival.
Kissinger persuaded Nixon to establish diplomatic relations with China, weakening the Soviet Union's influence in Asia. It would not be wrong to link Trump's "Afghanization" policy with China, its “new rival.”