FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Karzai on a String

by RON JACOBS

In November 1963, the US-sponsored president of southern Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was murdered by members of that country’s military.  The murder was (at the least) tacitly supported by Washington and was partially due to Diem’s attempts to operate independently of Washington in regards to the war his military was fighting against Washington’s enemies–the National Liberation front and the northern Vietnamese army.  After a series of political machinations that included a stint by Nguyen Cao Ky as prime minister, a general named Nguyen van Thieu was named president after a show election in 1967.  He was chosen because he would do Washington’s bidding.  His administration was known for its corruption and acquiescence to Washington.

In the middle of March 1970, while Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia was out of his country, the United States government engineered his removal from power.  He was replaced by military strongman and CIA puppet Lon Nol.  Sihanouk had consistently refused to allow US troops to operate in Cambodia.  Simultaneously, he ignored the presence of Vietnamese troops fighting the United States military in Vietnam.  Of course, this angered the Pentagon.  Indeed, the United States Air Force had been illegally bombing the country of Cambodia for close to a year without telling the US public and much of Congress.  Within weeks of the CIA coup in Cambodia, Richard Nixon ordered a ground invasion of Cambodia.  That invasion was met with a massive wave of public protest across the US and much of the rest of the world.  The protests resulted in the deaths of six students in the United States, untold numbers of injuries, and a national crisis that was only calmed after Nixon agreed to withdraw the ground troops.

Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the United States has put in place a number of men to lead that nation according to Washington’s desires.  Some of these men were appointed and were clearly pawns of Washington, while others came to power wearing a pretend cloak of legitimacy provided by elections controlled by Washington’s occupation authority.  All of their governments were known for their corruption.  The current leaders exist at Washington’s pleasure, even though they pretend otherwise.  This is obvious from the backtracking done by the current Prime Minister al-Maliki regarding the withdrawal of US forces from his country.  Back in December, much was made of the fact that he was insisting on a complete and unconditional withdrawal from Iraqi cities by June 2009 and a total withdrawal from the country by 2011.  Recent statements by Mr. al-Maliki indicate that he is no longer insisting on this timetable.

I mention these governments and their fates in light of recent news coming out of Kabul, Afghanistan.  According to many news reports over the past few months, Washington is growing frustrated with the regime of Hamid Karzai.  If one recalls, the government of Mr. Karzai is a creation of Washington as much as those of Nguyen Van Thieu or Lon Nol.  In other words, he owes his current position of power to powerful elites in DC, not to any people or factions in Afghanistan.  Yet, he has spoken out repeatedly against US air raids in Afghanistan that indiscriminately kill civilians.  Like the governments mentioned above, Mr. Karzai’s government is rampant with corruption.  History tells us that Washington is quite willing to look the other way when it comes to corruption as long as the crooks  under their control do its bidding.  Indeed, the very presence of US forces and money is part of the dynamic which encourages such corruption.   Apparently, Mr. Karzai is no longer considered to be playing by those rules and attempts to unseat him are growing.  According to reports out of European capitals, Washington intends to create a new appointed position in the Afghan government–a chief of staff or prime minister–that will be given the real power to carry out Washington’s goals for the Afghanistan it wants to create.  By creating this position and filling it with a man willing to do Washington’s bidding, Mr. Karzai’s presidency will be rendered politically impotent.  Reports about these and other changes in Washington’s Afghan strategy are currently being dismissed by Obama administration spokespeople.  As for Karzai, he responded by saying (without irony) “Afghanistan will never be a puppet state.”

I suppose Mr. Karzai should be grateful that he isn’t being murdered like Mr. Diem. 

 

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

More articles by:
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
Binoy Kampmark
Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia
Arun Gupta
Trickledown Revenge: the Racial Politics of Donald Trump
Sen. Bernard Sanders
What This Election is About: Speech to DNC Convention
David Swanson
DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism
Linn Washington Jr.
‘Clintonville’ Reflects True Horror of Poverty in US
Deepak Tripathi
Britain in the Doldrums After the Brexit Vote
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Threats: Arbitrary Lines on Political Maps
Robert J. Gould
Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out!
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
Robert Fisk
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk
Lee Hall
Purloined Platitudes and Bipartisan Bunk: An Adjunct’s View
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping and WADA
Nozomi Hayase
Cryptography as Democratic Weapon Against Demagoguery
Cesar Chelala
The Real Donald Trump
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Propaganda Machinery and State Surveillance of Muslim Children
Denis Conroy
Australia: Election Time Blues for Clones
Marjorie Cohn
Killing With Robots Increases Militarization of Police
David Swanson
RNC War Party, DNC War Makers
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail