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The Fall of the American Empire (Opinion)

Less than three years after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in February 1989, the Soviet Union was dissolved marking the end of a once mighty empire.

Living up to its reputation as the “Graveyard of Empires”, Afghanistan, together with the Americans, Saudis and Pakistanis defeated the foreign occupiers, driving them out of their land.

After the 9/11 attacks, the US became the new contender for Afghanistan, unwilling to learn from the history of all temporary occupiers in this troubled land.

15 Saudis, 2 Emiratis, an Egyptian, one Lebanese and ZERO Afghan pilots were involved in the hijacking of the planes which would carry out the horrendous terrorist attacks in the US exactly 20 years ago on September 11, 2001.

Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi born in Riyadh.

A preliminary analysis would suggest intense Saudi involvement in the attack, with not only the majority of hijackers but the main planner, Osama Bin Laden also hailing from the Arab country.

Bin Laden’s fortune which was used in his terrorist attacks also originated from Saudi Arabia while his deputy in Al Qaeda, Aymen Al Zawahiri was from Egypt.

Yet, the US did not attack Saudi Arabia, or even thoroughly investigate the source of funds Bin Laden used to fund his terrorist attacks.

The US decided to attack Afghanistan, a country that was hosting Bin Laden as a foreign guest.

In this Oct. 7, 2001 file photo, President Bush poses for a photo in the Treaty Room of the White House in Washington after announcing airstrikes on on Afghanistan. President Bush said he didn’t care how Osama bin Laden was brought to justice. Just get him. That was back in 2001, when Bush used bravado to lead the nation past the shock of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/ Hillery Smith Garrison.)

The Taliban who ruled Afghanistan offered to negotiate handing over Bin Laden to a third country but US President Bush refused to negotiate, echoing America’s famous mantra after the War on Terror began, “you’re either with us, or against us.”

20 years, over $2 trillion and millions of victims later, the US has suffered an unprecedented defeat in Afghanistan, effectively ending the dominance of the United States as the sole superpower of the world.

The absolute failure of the American intelligence community in predicting timelines for the Fall of Kabul and their assessments regarding the effectiveness of the Afghan National Army reflect that in such matters, the assessments of the American intelligence community can no longer be trusted to be accurate.

After 9/11, the US emerged as an unbridled military machine that could attack any country, any time, on any false pretence which suited it.

The occupation in Afghanistan seemed to increase President Bush’s appetite for war, who then yearned for the blood of innocent Iraqis, falsely accusing the country of hiding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

President Bush, who could not even pronounce the word “Iraq” properly authorised US military action in Iraq based on a lie.

The competence of the American intelligence community was not challenged so thoroughly then since not only the US but the UK and other American allies seemed delighted for the chance to participate in another meaningless war.

Around 500,000 lives were lost in Iraq due to America’s uncontrollable thirst for war.

It was after many years that it was accepted that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

But the US occupation of Iraq ruined any emblem of stability in the country and paved the way for the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a terror group that continues to terrorise and kill innocent civilians across the world.

Even former US President, Donald Trump accused Barrack Obama of being the “founder of ISIS”.

While this comment reflects the internal political instability in the United States, it also begs the question, if the US never invaded Iraq, would ISIS exist today?

Probably not, which tells us a lot about the role of the former superpower in destroying the lives of millions of people in countries which were stable before US military involvement.

But perhaps American interests at the time were served better by the removal of Saddam Hussein, once an ally of the US and a (former) close friend of US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld.

Donald Rumsfeld (left), Saddam Hussein (right). Photo from 20 December 1983.

And Libya’s Qaddafi too would not be tolerated by America’s military machine, even if it meant the destruction of Libya and countless deaths of innocent civilians.

The War on Terror, which began with the deaths of approximately 3,000 innocent American civilians resulted in around 1 million deaths, reflecting that the US had established itself as a military superpower solely based on violence.

But even the myth of American military might was busted by the Taliban, a group of less than 100,000 Afghan tribesmen, who took over Kabul even when some US Soldiers were still present in Afghanistan.

The US empire post-2001 which began on the basis of violence was defeated by more violence.

20 years after 9/11, the US has a minimal role in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and other countries the empire targeted militarily.

It appears that the US lost much more than the twin towers after 9/11, primarily, its reputation in the global realm.

The Fall of Kabul on 15 August 2021 has shown that neither America’s military nor its intelligence community can be considered to dominate the world as it did 20 years ago.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be unfair to argue that the ultimate loser of the War on Terror is the US itself, which lost not only territorial interests but also suffered diplomatically.

Pictures of innocent Afghans falling from the wings of an American plane which took off despite the clinging Afghans showed the world how much America actually cared about innocent Afghans.

On August 29, an American airstrike killed 10 civilians, including several children near Kabul Airport.

Perhaps the attack was another mistake, or maybe it reflected continued American intentions of creating instability in other countries, even at the cost of innocent civilians.

But such disastrous American actions have resulted in a world where American interests, even if they are backed by military action are not served due to the continuous failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the list goes on.

Meanwhile, China, which is set to overtake the US economically as early as 2028, has established its grounds to become the new superpower, which is based on economic incentives rather than military coercion.

CIA Director William Joseph Burns meets COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi. Photo Via ISPR. 9 September 2021.

The current situation in Afghanistan hints towards a new world order in which the US is a relatively insignificant player in global politics.

Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and even Israel to a certain extent seem to already prepare themselves for the fall of the American Empire and the rise of China.

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