Game with high stakes. How Afghan events will change the world
This is not just a victory for the Taliban. It is a success story that quickly spread throughout the Muslim world. What will happen next?
A question that has been widespread in recent days is whether the United States has seen where its money is going in Afghanistan, which in the end has not changed anything in this country. Americans have seen 100% where they invest their taxpayers’ money. This is a question of assessing national interests. Now the national interests and vision have changed. In the near future, you will see several more US decisions that will change the paradigm we understand.
Regarding accusations that the Americans are betraying their Afghan allies is not a matter of betrayal. The question is that for many years in Washington, for some reason (apparently, within the framework of external or internal political correctness), they were not ready to admit the facts that were spoken of in plain text. I remember very well how at the Afghan conferences, in which I took part as foreign minister, they talked about endemic corruption in Afghanistan, about the insufficient level of training, about very low morality. But the American presence and the injection of money into the country continued. Finally, Biden decided to stop it. Now this is a difficult situation for him. Including, from the point of view of political confidence in him.
I don’t think the Americans expected such a super-fast development. Although it is obvious that all the scenarios were miscalculated . They have enough people who very accurately and subtly understand the geopolitical situation around Afghanistan. The assessment of what the Americans have spent trillions of dollars on over this time should be quite sober and tough.
I do not exclude that the Senate will now hold hearings, and this will be an important part of understanding what to do around Afghanistan. This issue concerns not only money, but a lot of American lives. There will be a very thorough analysis .
Why couldn’t they build a new state in Afghanistan for this money? Because the stake was not on building real institutions, but on the ability to manage the situation more easily. And this is a typical mistake. It is easier to manage the situation, it is easier to influence it, but in the medium and long term this, of course, does not work.
I am not at all inclined to draw parallels between Afghanistan and Ukraine. There are almost none. But if there are no values as a base, then the house of cards will surely fall someday. Some are in favor of an American military presence in Ukraine. But the question is what kind of presence. If we are talking about alliance, that is, American troops are working with us and making us the eastern flank of NATO, then this is a completely different story, and we need to talk about it. I am a big fan of the deployment of American units and American infrastructure in Ukraine. But the Afghan scenario can only be avoided through real alliance: when one is for all, and all is for one. And when the Americans (a they understand very well the difference between Ukraine and Afghanistan) really invest in this story, and do not try to use us. And this is already our business. When we constantly rely on someone – the United States, Uncle Joe, it doesn’t work. Only real trust works, and they trust only a reliable and strong ally.
The United States created a megaproblem for China and Russia by curtailing such military support, and a fundamentally new game with insane stakes began. I don’t think there will be attempts after Great Britain, the USSR and the USA to control this country. Quite the opposite. There will be attempts at new alliances in the Muslim world: the Taliban, Qatar, Turkey, plus a few more key players. There may be fundamentally new coalitions, and these alliances will be fundamentally different, since there is a very different national element here – Turkish, Arab, Pashtun. And this will lead to a completely different influence of the Muslim world, if, of course, this dynamic can be preserved. And so it seems.
And I do not exclude that there will be new surges, from Palestine to the Sahel region. This is not just a victory for the Taliban. This is a success story that quickly spread throughout the Muslim world. To a certain extent, this will reset the Muslim world, give it new confidence and create a new player that, on the one hand, will contain China, and on the other hand, it is a challenge for the Central Asian countries that border Russia.
But we must understand that in such, even simplified geopolitical pictures – the United States against China, democracy against autocracies, there is now a completely different factor – the Muslim one. He is very heterogeneous on the inside, but is capable of generating a completely different emotion than before. And this is a challenge for all of us, with which we must also reckon and understand.
About Russia’s reaction in this situation. Let’s see what strategy Putin will choose. He can shift more power to Central Asia and Asia in general. Or it can play an asymmetric game to balance the Muslim surge in Tatarstan and the North Caucasus, and go into tougher tactics with us. He has proven time and again that asymmetrical tactics are his forte. And therefore, we should not relax at all. Putin also needs to raise the stakes inside Russia. Without significant steps before the elections to the State Duma, it is difficult to expect that the situation in Russia can be kept in the key that the Russian leadership and Russian elites want. Therefore, I do not exclude outbursts of both hybrid and military activity on the part of Russia in the near future.