Webster G. Tarpley TARPLEY.net June 23, 2010
Prodded doubtless by forces above and behind the Oval Office, Obama has ousted General McChrystal in favor of General Petraeus, who now combines the post of CENTCOM theater commander with that of NATO commander in Afghanistan. This is a move deriving from the inherent fecklessness and incompetence of the Obama administration, especially from the imperialist point of view. Recent events have highlighted Obama’s total lack of executive ability, leaving him weakened as he faced the bizarre flap about some barrack-room gripes by McChrystal’s staff collected by a correspondent from Rolling Stone magazine. Because of Obama’s weakness, he felt obliged to react to the scuttlebutt peddled by Rolling Stone, when a stronger president could have dismissed it or ignored it. As Fletcher Pratt once wrote, Abraham Lincoln was capable of laughing an attempted coup d’état out of existence with an off-color joke. Obama is far too weak for that.
As for General McChrystal, he was critically weakened and made vulnerable to ouster by the total failure of his counterinsurgency strategy, with the Marja offensive faltering and the Kandahar offensive indefinitely delayed, even as NATO losses rise exponentially, President Karzai turns towards Tehran and Beijing, and many of the NATO coalition partners prepare to defect.
One effect of the sacking of McChrystal is likely to be the accelerated breakup of the US-led Afghan invasion coalition, which was already in bad shape before this incident. The Netherlands and Canada are leaving, the British and the Poles want to join them, and the Turks can hardly be enthusiastic. Who else will join them in the race for the exit door? NATO Secretary General Rasmussen, anticipating such a result, spoke out yesterday in favor of keeping McChrystal, who works for him as well as for Obama. More countries may now announce their departure even before the November NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
Another of McChrystal’s bosses, Afghan President Karzai, also made clear that he wanted McChrystal to stay. He will now use Obama’s flaunting of his wishes to accelerate his own playing of the China card in economic policy and the Iranian card in cultural and religious affairs. Afghanistan is likely to slip into the Chinese orbit.