Former CIA Kabul Station Chief Graham Fuller: Neocons and Liberal Interventionists Exposed
Aug. 20 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Graham Fuller, the former CIA Station Chief in Afghanistan and a 27-year veteran of the CIA and the State Department, published a strongly worded article on Aug. 16 in Responsible Statecraft, “America Leaves Afghanistan, and the Regional Politics Take Over,” regarding the situation in Afghanistan, subtitled: “There will likely be a return to a much more historically normal state of global affairs in which multiple players are engaged.” He is contemptuous of the “American neocons and liberal interventionists” who got us in the regime- change wars of the past decades, and points positively to China’s Belt and Road as an avenue for rebuilding Afghanistan and bringing peace to the greater region.
“The neo-imperialist neoconservatives all argue that the American departure and the subsequent collapse of the Kabul government are deeply destructive to American ‘credibility’ as a superpower in the world. The underlying ideology of this view is of course the cherished concept that the United States must serve as global policeman everywhere and that a failure to do so is a sign of weakness and decline.”
He may have added that British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said essentially the same thing today, that the pull-out of Afghanistan shows a lack of “resolve” which “our adversaries like Russia find encouraging.”
Fuller continues: “This line of thinking is precisely backwards: it is the overall decline of America domestically and geopolitically that is the telltale sign of its deeper weakness; there is an increasing international belief that the United States is living inside a fantasy bubble of denial about maintaining its global hegemony.” But, he observes, there is a “deeper and more profound reason for the American invasion and lengthy occupation,” namely, to
“establish a military and geopolitical foothold in Central Asia on the very borders of Russia and China. That ambition was never nakedly articulated but was clearly understood by all regional forces. The ‘nation-building and humanitarian’ aspects of the American occupation were largely window dressing to cover Washington’s geopolitical ambitions. Those ambitions still have not fully died among American neocons and liberal interventionists.”
He points to the fact that “all three countries which the United States perceives as enemies—Iran, Russia, and China—actually all share with Washington the same major goals for Afghanistan’s future: stability and an end to bloodshed and jihadism. But all three of these countries also unite in vigorous opposition to American intervention and dominance in Afghanistan and Central Asia.” He points to China’s “ambitious and visionary plan of the Belt and Road Initiative across Central Asia,” as the best hope for transforming Afghanistan into a modern, peaceful nation.
As to the Taliban, Fuller writes that “this is a new generation of Taliban leaders who have traveled, seen the world, and dealt with many other governments,” and that “if Taliban social policies are distasteful to Americans, they might wish to reflect upon Saudi Arabia in the same context.”
He concludes: “President Biden deserves at least some measure of credit in finally closing the spigots on U.S. blood and treasure in Afghanistan after 20 years. Hopefully it is the beginning of a sign of greater realism on the part of Washington’s geopolitical thinkers about the new limits of American power. And the need for a far more modest vision of what truly comprises American interests.”
Responsible Statecraft is the publication of Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.