David Jamieson responds to the Scottish Government’s call for Nato troops to remain in Afghanistan.
At the precise moment when ‘humanitarian’ military intervention has been unmasked as bloody fraud, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon decides that it’s time for Nato to intervene in Afghanistan.
Speaking as UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace visited Scotland, she said: “I support calls to ensure that there isn’t a cut-and-run operation in Afghanistan, that Nato countries are there and meeting their responsibilities for as long as is necessary.”
Wallace has accepted that the UK’s troops will leave by 31 August, the date negotiated by the US and the new Taliban government in Kabul. Sturgeon is part of a lobby of disaffected Nato hardliners, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who are urging an open-ended Nato military presence in the country.
This represents not only an endorsement of the fiction that Nato performs a humanitarian function in the country, but also a policy that threatens to promote ongoing war. The Taliban have said they will not tolerate any extension of the deadline.
Nato’s presence has brought the Afghan people misery, with widespread corruption (with western contractors and corporations the worst culprits), theft, destruction and killing. The idea of Nato as a guarantor of Afghan rights or safety is a grotesque lie. It was only days ago that the US was still bombing Afghan cities, with massive casualties. Such a force has absolutely no legitimate role to play in Afghanistan.
Last week, Conter submitted questions to the SNP, asking if the party now regretted its support for the war and occupation in Afghanistan. Those questions went unanswered by a party and government used to a culture of secrecy and impunity. But it is clear that as far as Sturgeon is concerned, the disastrous policy of the last 20 years does not need to be altered, and Nato can still play a humanitarian role in Afghanistan, even in the hour of its defeat.
Meanwhile, Nato itself is in disarray. There are stories emerging suggesting tension between US and UK troops in Kabul. Baltic leaders are denouncing Biden in panic, as Nato provides them with their influence in the region. The British state has been revealed as impotent without US power, generating anguish in the British parliament and press. Blair’s appearance in the debate registers real fear in powerful parts of the establishment who can see that Nato has been damaged by its failure in Afghanistan, and that the policy tide is ebbing away from his infamous call to “reorder this world around us” with military force.
All of this is to say that Sturgeon is making her remarks in a context: she is siding with the war party in Nato. Naturally she is doing this by saying that her concern is for refugees. But the Nato occupation has produced over 5 million refugees since 2001, and this wasn’t up for consideration when she backed the occupation. If Sturgeon wants to help refugees, she could take her arguments to EU leaders who are once again building-up ‘Fortress Europe’ in anticipation of a new refugee crisis. But she won’t challenge established power, be it Nato or the EU.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Green leadership, having agreed the basis for a coalition government with the SNP, are absent from their responsibility to demand an end to the policy of war, and for Scotland to quit Nato. There’s little point in having a policy of opposition to Nato if it is not advanced against the organisation and governments that defend it.
The humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan was generated by Nato and its member states. There is no ‘good’ or ‘humanitarian’ use of this policy. It should be dropped immediately and a simple lesson, accepted by most of the population in this country, learned: the US, UK and Nato have no place in imposing their will on foreign countries.