NATO Will Cry Through Their Party Without Guest of Honor

Remember that as recently as the beginning of last week, Hamid Karzai still clung to the illusion that yesterday was the date on which Afghanistan’s new president would be sworn into office. Yesterday was a very important deadline because tomorrow, NATO begins their summit in Wales. For over a year, this particular summit has been circled on many calendars as the time when Afghanistan’s new president would revel in having signed the new Bilateral Security Agreement and begin to benefit from the graft flow of training and weapons coming from a residual NATO force now immunized against charges in Afghan courts and eligible to remain in the country past the end of this year. With no new president emerging yet, today’s Washington Post reports that NATO is going ahead with their summit, even though there will be a notable absence:

A gathering of leaders from NATO countries this week was supposed to be an opportunity to celebrate the close of the alliance’s long war in Afghanistan and to embrace the country’s new president.

But it’s hard to have a party without the guest of honor.

Despite smiling promises to Secretary of State John F. Kerry last month, two rival candidates to succeed Afghan President Hamid Karzai have failed to resolve a disagreement over a review of disputed election results in time to declare a winner. As a result, there will be no Afghan head of state at the NATO summit in Wales.

Gosh, John Kerry just can’t understand Abdullah Abdullah. Why can’t he be the man Kerry was, and, “for the good of the country”, go ahead and concede in the face of evidence the election was stolen from him? Alternatively, why didn’t Kerry insist that Afghanistan’s Supreme Court just select a winner in the election dispute, so that the country can “move on”? After all, that worked out so well for the US (and, indirectly, for Afghanistan) in 2000.

NATO’s Secretary General managed to hold back on his tears long enough to issue a statement picked up in the Post story:

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen made the best of a disappointing situation at a news conference Monday.

“We have done what we set out to do,” Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels. “We have denied safe haven to international terrorists. We have built up capable Afghan forces of 350,000 troops and police. So our nations are safer, and Afghanistan is stronger.”

Who needs international terrorist groups when you have home-grown ones? The Taliban had this to say to NATO:

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan touted the group’s role as trouble shooters, bridge builders and problem solvers in a bid to ally the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s concerns.

Taliban following a statement released ahead of the NATO summit in Wales, claimed that the group is the true representative of the Afghan people.

The statement further added that the group can play a central role in resolving the ongoing crisis of Afghanistan.
“The Islamic Emirate has arisen out of this nation and shared in all its toils and sacrifices. Due to this the Afghan nation has firm belief in the Islamic Emirate,” the statement by Taliban said.

Taliban called for an end of foeign [sic] military occuption [sic] in a bid to end the crisis in Afghanistan and inisted [sic] that complete withdrawal of foreign forces is the only successful solution.

Afghanistan’s ToloNews tries to put the best face on the summit taking place without a new president:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit is scheduled to be held this Thursday and Friday on September 4-5 in Wales where the 28-nation alliance will discuss and decide the financial and security assistance to Afghanistan.

Representing Afghanistan will be Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi, given that a president has not been elected yet.

Afghan political analysts hope that the absence of a new president will not change NATO’s stance on Afghanistan and continue to be committed to the country after the formation of a national unity government, stressing that the summit will significantly impact the nation’s future.

The article even does a bit of lobbying ahead of the summit:

The NATO Chicago conference had pledged to provide $4.1 billion to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF); however the Afghan government has announced that the overall financial obligations of the forces are currently about $6.1 billion.

Gosh, even as Afghanistan melts down, graft training and arming Afghan troops remains a growth industry.

The real tears are left for the final sentence of the story:

This year’s summit has been called the most important conference in the past 70 years.

Poor NATO. They’re hosting the most important party in 70 years and yet they have no boyfriend to bring to it. Go ahead, NATO. You can cry if you want to.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.
9 replies
    • Ben Franklin says:

      Ukies no doubt the guests of honor, but Georgia is getting negative feedback on membership. I thought the whole point was to bear-bait. Article 10 gives the US a monopoly, so what’s the problema?

  1. galljdaj says:

    NATO killings in Afghanistan! The the Great US Bifurcation of Empire Warring, and the ends of ‘impunity(s)’.

  2. ArizonaBumblebeeper says:

    Secretary of State John Kerry and NATO Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen are in a competition to see who can make the most asinine remark about world affairs. Rasmussen was quoted as saying, “We have denied safe haven to international terrorists {in Afghanistan}.” The batshit just keeps on coming. Why would terrorists need to hang out in a cave in the Hindu Kush when better digs are available in Mosul, Iraq or Tripoli, Libya? Fortunately for President Obama, the NATO summit is being held at the Celtic Manor Resort, which I understand has a world-class golf course. So, when the participants in the conferences get really teed off at Putin, President Obama can always announce that it’s time to tee off.

  3. Harry Weaver says:

    The U.S./NATO scenario has just been screwed, Jim.

    They thought they had what it took to pass a deal on some dumb ragheads, but had no idea they were up against the baksheesh bazaari mentality that was working major slippery deals, when Columbus mistakenly stumbled over America on his way to somewhere else.

    The U.S. thought it was being intelligent, giving itself the appearance of clean hands by palming off the lion’s share of the mineral extraction contracts in Afghanistan, to the two major cheap, out-sourced, labour markets: China and India. After all, the same cheap, end-product price was going to remain the same, right? But these two parties have substantial military assets of their own to take care of their interests, in the ongoing process of removing the almost $US3 trillion in, in some instances, quite rare minerals.

    Added to that, there’s the mutual defense agreement that Afghanistan and Iran have been looking at recently, so while it’s all very kind of everybody to stick around to take care of all those poor little Afghan people, it’s not really necessary. But for some reason, Kerry’s still in there trying. I can practically see Ghani waving Kerry off at the door, a couple of hours after he’s touched down, played around with his sad little head over a Turkish coffee or two, then turned back into the house to ring Abdullah to let him know that: ‘O.K., Man. He’s on his way over to you. this is the gig’. And then laying out the spiel he’s planted in Kerry’s sad excuse for a head, for Abdullah to extend on.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of town, in Iraq, we lose yet another head in an ongoing campaign to manufacture consent to regain ‘boots-on-the-ground’ there, also, but it’s still not working. So, there will be more, because it’s necessary, as the ‘nuclear’ negotiations with Iran have not gone as well as anticipated, as there are simply too many parties involved, and even with the French protectionist attitude toward their own nuclear industry bringing them onside, there’s not enough to sway the scenario toward approved foreign policy direction. Troops on both sides of the fourth largest oil production situation on the planet, however, would be ideal.

    Only it’s all falling apart again!
    Just when it looks as though we had Russia all tied up with that Ukrainian deal, and we were going to be able to re-implement original invasion policy into Syria, Iran’s principle ally in the region and where the only naval base Russia has in the Mediterranean is sited, Poroshenko and Putin get it together and work out a ceasefire deal.

    Life is just *so* unfair!
    When are we ever going to get a free run at actually killing some people, so we can resurrect a failing economy with arms tech?

  4. TarheelDem says:

    I’m beginning to find it interesting that Fogh and not the President of the United States or the US Secretary of State is doing the PR for NATO. If NATO was the indispensable organization the public perceived it to be during the Cold War, heads of state would be willing to be backlit by its glow. It looks increasingly like Fogh is trying to keep his job by trying to make NATO relevant again, which is an impossible job unless Europe decides to descend into its historical internecine wars–given the current central bank incompetence, not as unlikely as it would have seemed 20 years ago.

    NATO’s relevance ended at the end of the Cold War. Most people in NATO countries today see it only when it sends troops into yet another war outside Europe, most often at the behest of the US. People are waking up to the fact that instead of being an instrument of deterrence, it has become an instrument of very expensive meddling that sucks off their tax money. Thus the necessity of invented Putinphobia.

    Given the pics of the battleship regatta, the good people of Wales are getting a sense of what a modern invasion looks like. When does their independence referendum come up? Does Scotland automatically take its place as a NATO nation if it votes Yes?

  5. Garrett says:

    Abdullah was explicitly the mujahideen ticket. A Jamiat guy, a Hezbi guy, and a Wahdat guy. With some of the worst warlords behind him. Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Gul Agha Sherzai, Atta Mohammed Nur, etc.

    They played the game of extracting concessions from the U.S. and the international community, via threat of ethnic civil war, very well.

    Afghanistan gets a westernized reformer, a Columbia grad, with development philosophies, as president. Up against the warlords, and lacking legitimacy. Afghanistan looks pretty well fucked to me.

  6. AnonBosch says:

    Are there credible, independent monitors asserting fraud on the part of Ghani’s camp sufficient to steal the election? Taking as a given there will be fraud both ways, and either party would claim the election was stolen.

    I don’t necessarily find the swing to Ghani in the second round incredible in and of itself because as a Tajik, Abdullah was probably a lot closer to his natural ceiling of votes in the first round while Ghani probably pulled in more votes from the eliminated Pashto candidates.

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