The failure of a universal and eternal war – Column by Antonio Albiñana – Columnists – Opinion

The hasty departure of the US and allied armies from Afghanistan, after 20 years of sterile occupation, has deserved a multitude of analysis in the world press and, at the domestic level, a serious erosion in the presidency of Democrat Joe Biden. An anniversary concatenated with the Afghan campaign is approaching: the solemn declaration by President George W. Bush in 2002 of the ‘global and eternal war on terrorism’, whatever it may lead to, including the large-scale violation of human rights , as the undeclared prisons in different parts of the world (Poland, Romania, Lithuania) or those known in Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib have supposed. A war that will have ended, as the political scientist Lluis Bassets points out, as “the mother of all defeats.”

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Let’s recap. As the Iranian analyst Nazanin Armanian recalled, George F. Kennan (one of the ideologues of the Cold War) declared in 1996: “If the Soviet Union were to sink under the waters of the ocean, the American military industrial complex would have to remain until some other adversary could be invented ”. A few years later, the Pentagon invented the “infinite war against Islamic terrorism”, to justify the continuity of NATO once the Warsaw Pact disappeared. In the “ideological” field, Samuel P. Huntington offered an effective way out in the search for an enemy after the fall of the USSR: “The clash of civilizations”. The West, under the leadership of the United States, was doomed to collide with the Islamic world.

The world war on terror was served when, on September 11, 2001, the largest army in the world encountered a group of ragged Arabs, with as much cunning as little material means. By threatening the crews of four planes with plastic knives, they managed to attack the greatest centers of American power. By a miracle they did not reach the White House itself. Immediately the invasion of Afghanistan was decreed, which theoretically housed the assassins (actually coming from the ally Saudi Arabia), and which ended with more pain than glory (including a drone sent as a farewell, which struck, as had the CIA itself warned against innocent civilians).

A war that will have ended, as the political scientist Lluis Bassets points out, as “the mother of all defeats.”

For Moussa Bourekba, from the important think tank Cidob (Barcelona), after two decades of the “global war on terror”, in which 800,000 people from 80 countries have died, “it must be recognized that, more than endless, it has been of an impossible war to win or, simply, of a lost war ”. According to the great expert Fernando Reinares, from the Elcano Royal Institute: “The failure and counterproductive of the so-called war on terror is reflected in the fact that within global jihadism there are today more organizations related or associated with Al Qaeda than 20 years ago” .

PS Journalism. The most important figure in Spanish journalism, Iñaki Gabilondo, retires from the office. The years and the environmental tension have advised him to leave the scene. Iñaki has been a benchmark in radio and television spaces for decades, and is the author of decisive essays on the role of the press. At one time we helped found the first democratic journalists’ organizations in Spain. Together we went to negotiate with the first democratic government (without much success) a new press legislation that would ruin that of the Franco dictatorship. An anecdote. Having arranged an interview with an important member of the Government for his television program, he received a call from his press officer asking him for the questionnaire of the questions that were going to be posed, to approve it and prepare the ministerial intervention. “Tell the minister – he replied – that I do not work like that, and rather send me the answers you plan to give, to see if I am interested in doing the interview or not.” This way of practicing journalism, without submission to any power, has reminded me, I don’t know why, of Antonio Caballero.


(Read all the columns of Antonio Albiñana in EL TIEMPO, here)



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