But America’s disastrous intervention and ignoble retreat illustrates some uncomfortable if not random truths that are left out of the chatter.
Unless the elites of the world transform their understanding of security, things are going to look good for extreme movements in the 2030s and beyond, whether they stem from perverse religious identities, ethnicities, nationalisms or political ideologies.
Of course, Afghanistan has no oil, and this much was known. But in the 1990s the oil reserves of the Caspian region, adjacent to Afghanistan, had been the object of a game of aggrandizing that led to exaggerating their extent at least of an order of magnitude.
Afghanistan has been shredded; a country rich with fruits, nuts, melons, and forests was degraded into barren hillsides and emaciated rubble. Torn by decades of war and internal resource depletion, but with the promise of vast mineral “riches” yet untapped beneath the ground, its history has arrived at a special place in time that asks the question; how do we move forward? There are two very different dynamics developing in response to the question and what we do as readers at the end of this article may directly affect the outcome.
Working with school children in Afghanistan, one experiences the great sweetness of the people there and the commonplace lack of ecological understanding of how the physical world works. This absence of understanding is magnified by the striking deterioration of the Afghan land and the American effort to address these pressing problems with bombs and bullets.