Editor’s Note: T.J. Coles’ new essay, What Are We Doing in Afghanistan? is a follow-up to his October 14 article, What Have We Done to Afghanistan? Reviewing a Decade of Anglo-American Occupation. He reveals the regression of the west from civilization itself in lust for petroleum and power. His highly readable and well-constructed analysis is extremely well-sourced and deserves a careful reading for understanding the underlying forces that threaten the earth and its inhabitants.
– Les Blough, Editor
Afghanistan has always been considered “the centre of great empires” by imperial powers,1 serving as a “buffer” between Persia, Russia, and India (Britain’s greatest colonial prize).2 Lord Curzon, viceroy of India, referred to the countries as “pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a game for the domination of the world.”3 A century later, the long-time geostrategist and energy investor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, authored The Grand Chessboard (1997) in which he called Eurasia “the center of world power,” adding that fragmentation will “keep the barbarians from coming together.”4
Collapse of the Soviet Union and Control of the Caspian Sea
|“As the Soviet Empire began to crumble, Britain established half a dozen embassies in the newly independent, energy-rich countries.”|
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left a question mark over the Caspian Sea and its energy reserves, with Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Russia claiming sovereignty. Bruce R. Kuniholm explained that “Brzezinski believed that how Russia responds to Ukraine’s closer relationship with Europe and to Azerbaijan’s desires to pipe its oil through Turkey will be the bellwethers for its imperial ambitions.”5 . . .