Mythomaniac, drunkard, cocaine addict and unstable, George Walker Bush, as president of the United States, insisted on leading a "war on terror" for which he was not qualified, but from which he obtained ample political and personal profit; as well as from the attacks of 11 September 2001, which he squeezed to the point that he managed to get himself re-elected.
Now, almost twenty years after launching the invasion of Afghanistan (7 October 2001), Bush has lost the war, the same war that two decades ago he as president defended before the Congress of his country under the argument that it would not be "a battle, but a long war".
And he was not wrong: Afghanistan, along with Vietnam (1955-1975), are the two longest wars fought by the US army and the two most useless and costly for the US treasury.
The difference between the one and the other is that Afghanistan marks a turning point in the decline of US supremacy just days before the twentieth anniversary of the fateful attacks of 9/11, which prompted the heated decision of a Bush who, with his jeans on, believed that invading this Middle Eastern nation was like taming the wild foal with the Washington ramrod.... Still alive, at 75 years of age, Bush is still crashing against the failure of his decisions and with them he has managed to drag his country into disrepute and mistrust because we are going to see if the allies are going to second the Americans in another invasion.
The Vietnam invasion, also marked by failure, mistakes, the accumulation of deaths and costly machinery for the coffers, took place in a world with a prevailing Cold War, and from that world, Western democracy and capitalism emerged victorious when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.
These are different times and historical circumstances: 2021 continues to mark the decline of US hegemony in the face of allies undaunted by witnessing the most disastrous years of White House diplomacy. First Trump ignores and ignores them; then Biden forgets to agree with them on a dignified and orderly exit from Afghan territory. Every man for himself!
While Washington's power is waning, wherever it takes a step backwards in the international sphere, Russia and China take two steps forwards, and there are other actors who are venturing onto the stage and do not intend to be left behind, such as Turkey, India, Qatar, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Bush should be billed for his war: according to Brown University, almost twenty years of military occupation have cost the public coffers 2.3 trillion dollars.
Why is the Taliban's return to power so relevant? Afghanistan is not a country that is one hundred percent miserable, although 90% of the population lives below the poverty line and a tribal and sometimes nomadic regime persists in a harsh desert landscape, the country is located in a geostrategic node in Central Asia that is quite important.
It borders Pakistan to the south and east, Iran to the west, and the former Soviet Republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north and China to the northeast along the Wajan Corridor.
In 1998, the CIA documented a 300% increase in opium and heroin production on Afghan territory; it is the main source of livelihood for the population engaged in the cultivation and distribution of the drug to Asian countries, mainly China. It is currently the largest producer of opium in the world with 328,304 hectares cultivated with data as of 2017, according to the CIA Fact Book.
In 2006, the US Department of Energy put the potential for recoverable Afghan crude oil from known fields at 100 million barrels, while the US Geological Survey estimated the liquid reserves - still to be discovered in the north of Afghanistan - at around 2 billion barrels.
It also possesses enormous untapped mining potential with subsoils rich in gold, diamonds, lithium, cobalt and other valuable minerals.
As if that were not enough, Afghanistan is strategically crucial for China because it serves its interests in extending its New Silk Road (One Belt, One Road), which would allow it to create the necessary infrastructure to better connect with Europe.
It seems that Xi Jinping's government would be willing to make an understanding with a Taliban government in exchange for investment and, conversely, a commitment that there will be no terrorist activity and no ideological recruitment attempts in the area of Xinjiang (in northwest China) where there is a minority Islamic population. Afghanistan is the seven-headed jellyfish and the US was unable to cut off even one of its heads...