Afghanistan: Shrewd Policy Mr. President

Ho hum, another day, another ally bites the dust.

Just another day in Obama’s neighborhood.

Hamid Karzai has been the President of Afghanistan since that nation was liberated by Allied Forces led by the United States of America in October, 2001, ending the double and successive nightmares of Soviet occupation and Taliban control for the beleaguered Afghan nation.

In effect, Karzai became the first leader of a free Afghanistan in over 25 years.  A brilliant, strong and proud man, Karzai, when he first came to the United States, was hailed as a hero, and was made much of by everyone in Washington.

The President of Afghanistan was also treated with great respect by then President George W. Bush and everyone in his Administration.  This occurred both in public and in private.

Karzai also sent to Washington the first Ambassador of his country to the U.S. in over 25 years, Ishaq Shahyrar, an Afghan native who had become an American citizen.  A very successful and charismatic California businessman, he gave up his American citizenship, something that meant the world to him, in order to serve the nation of his birth, a nation to which he was still devoted and for which he would still make great sacrifices.

I had the honor of working as a Speechwriter for Ambassador Shahyrar during his tenure in Washington.   During this time, an invitation came from the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee through the Embassy to President Karzai to testify before their committee.  It would be the first time a sovereign head of state would testify before a Congressional committee.  State Departments usually frowned upon something that diplomatically unorthodox, but Ambassador Shahyrar was anything but orthodox and decrying the stultifying practices of “Old Europe,” (a phrase made popular at the time by then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld), he recommended that the President appear before the Committee.  President Karzai accepted the invitation.

Here is what happened:

I had suggested to the Committee staff that it would be unadvisable to place the President in a ‘well’, the part of the Committee room where witnesses are seated at a level significantly below that of the Senators.

Under the orders of Ranking Minority Committee Chairman Joe (three letter word, JOBS) Biden, they put the President in the ‘well’.

I had also advised the staff that President Karzai was a proud and quite religious Muslim man, and that the questioning should be appropriate.

Committee member Barbara (don’t call me ma’am, General) Boxer during the hearing proceeded to pepper the President with rather graphic questions regarding gynecological practices in Afghanistan.

The left really loves to plow ahead in their disastrous ways, leaving their inevitable messes behind them for others to clean up, don’t they?

The meeting was not a success.  It is my understanding that a sovereign head of state has never again appeared before a Congressional Committee.

Afghanistan is a punishing country in which to live, and always has been.  Its citizens are strong, even warrior-like, and beautiful as well as proud, and though the country has been repeatedly invaded by numerous other nations, it has never been permanently settled by another country.  The Afghans live largely as they have always have, in a tribal structure with the leader of that tribe, still most often referred to as the warlord, accepted as leader.  The land is under populated, as in more than a generation of war and brutality, so many of the precious sons of Afghanistan were lost.  Also lost, because of this constant strife, was the ability of Afghanistan to develop as a nation.  As a result, it has not been an easy process for Afghans to emerge from the past and enter into a 21st Century mentality.

President Karzai is often referred to as the ‘Mayor of Kabul,’ because outside the part of Afghanistan protected by Allied forces, the rest of the country is largely unmanageable.  The majority of the country remains under the control of its warlords, and not its central authority.  It is also true that the conflict between the two largest groups in Afghanistan, the Pashtuns and the Northern Alliance, is centuries-old and this has proven to be difficult to change.  The most recent election in Afghanistan, between President Karzai, who is Pashtun, and Abdullah Abdullah, who is Northern Alliance, (and who formerly served Karzai as his first Foreign Minister), reflected this animosity. 

The nation and its people, throughout a majority of their too often troubled history, continue to thrive on intrigue, and corruption has been and continues to be a way of life in Afghanistan.  This is in part due to the land’s war-torn history, but it also due to the way things have always been done in this nation.  A land rich in natural resources, Afghanistan has rarely had the opportunity or the funds necessary to develop any of these resources, and thus has too often fallen back into the easy and highly profitable trade of the opium poppy. 

A particularly sad example of what has happened to Afghanistan during its long history of attempting to develop its other resources can be found in the history of its vineyards. When it was discovered that the combination of the land and the climate of Afghanistan turned out to be ideal for cultivating vineyards, thereby producing excellent wines, they were planted throughout the land.  It should be noted at this point that before fundamentalist Islam took over, in the late 20th Century, Afghanistan was governed primarily by a benign hereditary King who ruled his people in a relatively modern and tolerant manner; e.g., women were not required, before the Taliban took over Afghanistan, to veil themselves.  With the takeover of the Taliban, however, in their tyranny and religious zealotry, the group completely destroyed all the vineyards, not only because they created a religiously forbidden product, but also because they provided effective hiding places for those fighting against the Taliban.

This destruction was so devastating, so complete, and so successful, that it has not been possible for the Afghans to successfully recultivate any of these vineyards.  What had been a profitable national resource thus was lost forever.

Billions have been poured into developing alternate profit-making resources for the Afghan people, but many of these have failed in large part as a result of the resistance to this by tribal warlords, who disagree with this policy.  This is true also due to the lack of experience and/or education on the part of the Afghan people to adapt to and take advantage of these modern practices. 

Right now, for many reasons, Afghanistan very much needs the United States of America.

Neediness, however, does not give our current President the right to treat another President of a sovereign nation with a complete lack of respect.  In his recent actions, Barack Hussein Obama publically chided and scolded Hamid Karzai for what Obama felt were various infractions on Karzai’s part.  None of these so-called infractions justified Obama humiliating the Afghan President on the world stage.

There is no hyperbolic term that can adequately describe the level of arrogance and hubris of this tragically elected 44th President of the United States.

The result has not been perhaps what Obama wanted.  There has been a mutiny of sorts on Karzai’s part, as anyone who spent two seconds studying the country, its culture and its people would expect.  Our President, however, is much too busy to do such a thing, as he and his people rush to accomplish the destruction of the United States of America that has existed for more than 220 years.  They are in quite a hurry, don’t you know?

These actions on the part of our narcissistic neophyte have resulted in what is now the worst relationship between our two countries since Afghanistan once again became a free nation.  Please remember that this is at the same time that our sons and daughters, and husbands, are in the front lines of one of the two theaters of the American war on terrorism, in Hamid Karzai’s country.

I have said this before, Mr. Obama, and I repeat: American Presidents do not behave like boorish bullies to another sovereign head of state, or to anyone, actually.  American Presidents do not command other sitting Presidents to do their bidding, and do it now, or else.  American Presidents do not publically humiliate fellow world leaders for all of the rest of the world to see and hear.
We might want to actually remove publically humiliating other world leaders from our overall international diplomatic policy.

The difficulties of this proud nation and its people to rise from the ashes are almost insurmountable, and how Obama thought what he did would improve matters, or be useful in anyway, either to the U.S. or to Afghanistan, is beyond comprehension.

It is also clear that Obama reserves his arrogant condemnation to be demonstrated only to our allies, while at the same time he grovels, and bows, to our enemies.

Shrewd policy, Mr. President.