The New York Times is on it:
When President Obama meets this week with Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s new president, he will finally be sitting across from an Afghan leader who is not brooding, agitated, suspicious or openly belligerent toward his American allies.He knows enough not to blow his nose onto his sleeve, or have a drug-dealer brother. This suavity makes the corruption and the murder and the bribery so much more appealing to squeamish plutocrats who prefer their puppets to be pre-existing members of their own club. The guy is an Insider. The bribery was a done deal decades ago.
The previous Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, had a relationship with Mr. Obama that was fractious and poisonous almost from the beginning. The new Afghan president arrives for Tuesday’s Oval Office meeting looking for a similar menu of American commitments on troops and money as his predecessor, but Mr. Ghani is well-schooled in Washington’s culture of politics and diplomacy: He spent 15 years in Washington at the World Bank and used to own a house in suburban Bethesda, Md.
But despite the bonhomie between intellectual equals, the warmongering establishment must still pretend that Ghani is an outsider presenting a "challenge" so as to avoid accusations of collusion between mercenary equals:
Mr. Ghani is certain to push hard to keep the current 10,000 American troops and thousands of private contractors in his country through, or perhaps beyond, 2016 when Mr. Obama insists the United States’ longest war will come to an end. Mr. Ghani is also seeking long-term commitments of money and support from the United States, where members of the public are skeptical of the value of that investment.The war will end, but the fighting and death will continue. If "we" get out now, investors will lose money. One warmonger pretends to push, the other warmonger pretends to pull, and thus will the coalition remain intact. The Times article does not inform readers that Barno is a fellow of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington think tank founded, funded, and operated by the Permawar Industry. Among the CNAS directors and investors who stand to lose profits in the event of an Afghanistan troop pullout are revolving door Senator Joe Lieberman, and officials of Lockheed Martin, Goldman Sachs and such investment outfits/defense contractors as Evercore, Mannheim LLC, and the hilariously-named security software developer "Endgame." And we can't forget former Carlyle Group director Bill Kennard, the "key force" behind Obama's decision to launch negotiations for the anti-regulatory, anti-democratic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Kennard, an Obama campaign bundler who was duly named EU ambassador, now helps run the telecom-heavy Grain Management private equity giant, which also manages some of the country's largest pension funds. He used to sit on the board of the New York Times Company. Talk about diversification. Follow the wanky war money all throughout this tangled web... if you can. If you dare.
“If the troops come out in 2016, the money is going to come out 20 minutes later,” said David Barno, the senior American commander of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005. “That’s going to be a disaster. They can’t operate without that money.”
So, the New York Times "news analysis" continues with the usual anonymous government source gratuitously insisting that the MIC's new puppet is both independent and feisty:
And Mr. Ghani can be difficult. His broadly pro-Western outlook is balanced by a deep nationalist streak, and he is known in Afghanistan as much for his technocratic skills as he is for his short temper. Western diplomats know well that he is more than willing to “give us the back of his hand,” as one American official put it, when he thinks Afghanistan’s interests are being trampled by its allies.As much as I would love to see Ashraf bitch-slap Barack in a fit of plutocratic pique, I have a feeling that the man becomes a real pussycat as soon as the White House shows him the money. He is a banker, for God's sake. The Times continues,
Two Obamas in a pod. Unrelatables who can relate. Cool, detached professors who can kill without breaking a sweat, unlike those recalcitrants who balk at their women and children becoming collateral damage during night raids by uniformed psychopaths. Ghani is presentable enough to be paraded in plain sight, allowed to eat in public, and express articulate appreciation as he is escorted to the same tourist sites he could probably see from his D.C. suburban backyard not too many years ago.Advisers to Mr. Ghani and Mr. Obama expect that they will relate easily. Mr. Ghani is far more of a financial technocrat than a natural politician, and his professorial approach to governing is sure to seem reassuring to his American counterpart.In the eyes of American officials, Mr. Ghani has also proved willing to take on the role of wartime leader, unlike Mr. Karzai, who sought to limit raids and airstrikes by foreign forces, and even by the Afghan Army.
Cue Tom Friedman, who will no doubt wax rhapsodic about this sophisticated banker-wanker creature in an upcoming column. Who knew that you could be a plutocrat and a puppet at the same time? You can be a hybrid creature called a Plupup who needn't even grovel or suck up. If you can rub shoulders at Davos and Aspen, then who cares about all the innocents you're rubbing out someplace else? Certainly not your fellow pathocrats.Doug Ollivant, who worked in the National Security Council for Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush, said Mr. Ghani is a “Western-oriented” leader who would be comfortable rubbing shoulders with intellectuals at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, or the Aspen Ideas Forum in Colorado.“He’s a creature of Washington, a creature of Aspen and Davos,” he said. “He’s extremely comfortable moving in these circles.”
Ollivant, as the Times conveniently forgets to mention, is also a war profiteer par excellence. His think tank, the New America Foundation, is funded by Bill Gates and other Silicon Valley billionaires, with an emphasis on Common Core training for a compliant cannon fodder citizenry. As a member of the David Petraeus Brain Trust of military "intellectuals" who have failed upward since their destabilization of Iraq, Ollivant makes big bucks in private equity. And as a lifetime member of the Council of Foreign Relations, he is a sought-after White House consultant who also frequently appears on CNN to drum up the terror and the patriotic fervor, lest the public remember that Iraq and Afghanistan have been unmitigated, deadly disasters. His job at Monument Capital Group Holdings is based on expertise in "post-conflict/emerging markets."
In other words, he specializes in the Plunder division of Disaster Capitalism. And lots and lots of killing. A blog post he wrote for the Terror Channel (CNN) couldn't be more blatantly bloodthirsty and money-hungry if it tried. Some snippets:
...We need to promote our forces who work best with allied forces in these spaces where the state is weak or nonexistent: the Army's Special Forces (popularly known as "Green Berets"). These forces have undergone significant neglect in the past decade, as the anti-terrorism capabilities of Joint Special Operations Command (SEAL Team Six and Delta Force) were seen as the most pressing need.
In both Iraq and Afghanistan, Special Forces teams were known to be tasked by their commands — or decide on their own — to pursue a more aggressive "kill and capture" mission, rather than work "by, with, and through" their indigenous partners. It will require cultural change (and likely an improved funding stream) inside the military to emphasize that these Special Forces teams — seen as considerably less glamorous than their Joint Special Operations Command counterparts — are the capability most needed for future warfare.Third, we need to continue to focus on prepared and ready land power — our own rifle squads, companies and battalions who can do the dirty business themselves, if need be....
... Many observers have pointed out that the military's traditional personnel management system has defects, both in recruiting and development. There are a host of suggestions, but any proposal that increases flexibility and expands the talent pool without degrading the necessity of producing leaders who can lead young men into combat should be seriously considered.Young men from the lower classes fight dirty over there so that the plutocratic "thought-leaders" can schmooze and munch caviar at the Aspen Ideas Festival over here.
Long-standing suggestions to increase language training, allow for late entry and/or sabbaticals, increase technical skills, get input from subordinates on their leaders, and recruit outside traditional pools -- for instance, in Silicon Valley -- should all be seriously considered. All will be necessary for these coming ambiguous fights.
What would be a nightmare to normal people is Ollivant's blissful wet dream:
It is possible that our next war will resemble nothing that anyone has predicted, perhaps a naval battle over the Arctic, or — God forbid — a nuclear exchange. And yes, it is possible that war could emerge between China on one side and South Korea, Japan or even the United States on the other in the South China Sea, though it is not overstatement to claim that this would bring about the end of the world economy as we currently understand it. But the most likely outcome, barring some shock to the world system, is that future wars will strongly resemble those occurring today.Never once does this warmongering wanker even remotely consider diplomacy as an alternative to wars. It's not part of his job description. Peace would be the kiss of death to profit.
It's no surprise that Ollivant titled his blogpost "What War Has in Store." Because as far as the global oligarchs are concerned, death and destruction are tantamount to a global shopping spree of orgiastic proportions.
But you won't learn about this in the pages of the Paper of Record, where war is about how well a bunch of wealthy, well-dressed intellectual wankers can all get along so famously.