Tucker Carlson, the host of the 8 pm Fox show, is obviously bright. He loves to engage in debates especially with people whose views he thinks are wrong. His ability to listen and use the words & approach of his opponents against themselves is a big reason for his & his show’s success.
His technique works in most cases when he is on solid ground both on the facts and history. When he is not, it exposes him to ridicule and worse. Look at his interview with Erik Prince, founder of the private security firm Blackwater. Mr. Prince recently made rounds on TV networks pushing his idea of using a private security force to replace the US army to fight the war in Afghanistan.
Frankly, we expected Tucker Carlson to listen to Mr. Prince and then tear his argument to shreds with simple facts & logic. Instead Carlson let Prince speak without the slightest attempt to even understand what Prince was saying. Guess Tucker actually believed Prince was an “expert” on Afghanistan as he had introduced him.
We were dismayed but not entirely surprised. And the problem here is much bigger & deeper than Tucker Carlson. We recall that Russian special forces experts had come to Afghanistan to talk to US Rangers after the US forces had defeated & driven out the Talebani Army from Afghanistan. The US Rangers, according to a New York Times article, refused to meet with the Russians saying “they lost to these monkeys” and so it was pointless to talk to the Russians.
The victory of the Taleban army in 2001 was swift and as easy as German Blitzkrieg into Russia. The Northern Front army of non-Pashtun minorities, Hazara, Tajiks, Uzbeks, was ready and supplied the manpower. US Airforce & special forces led them. It was almost a cakewalk. No wonder, the US troops were elated and arrogant. President Bush & his advisers had fulfilled their mission to punish the government that had backed & aided the horrific attack on 9/11. So Afghanistan was deemed a settled war & all attention turned to Saddam Hussein & Iraq.
The Taleban were mauled but not defeated. They simply retreated to where they had originated – across to Pushtun lands inside NonPakistan. There they regrouped, got weapons and began infiltrating back into Afghanistan. Not as a formal army that can be taken out but as a resistance group that engaged in hit & run tactics. Nothing that America has done after the initial victory in 2001 has worked & nothing can work. The eagle had come down into a thicket of bushes & trees teeming with monkeys who kept inflicting small bites on the eagle.
Nothing that Germany did in Soviet Union worked after German forces had been lured deep into Mother Russia. Nothing US did in Vietnam worked after the initial victories.The force envisioned by Eric Prince will get chopped up after getting trapped into destroying America’s reputation as they did in Iraq with murder of innocent civilians. People like Carlson forget that Soviet Union killed over 1 million Afghans in their intense attempt to eradicate the Afghani fighters. That didn’t work and the Soviet Union left after 10 years.
There is one way to get an American “victory” in Afghanistan and that involves a threatened eradication of all Pushtuns using tactical nuclear bombs on the areas inside NonPakistan that border Afghanistan. By the way, that was the solution discussed by Winston Churchill after his British Army service in Pushtun areas as a young man. That is how Genghis Khan converted Pustuns into Mogolian subjects – by destroying the Afghani city of Herat & killing all. Reportedly only nine people in Herat survived that massacre. After that, Afghans surrendered & many took the title of Khan as a sign of respect & surrender.
Apart from that, the conflict in Afghanistan will go on for the foreseeable future & as long as NonPakistan remains the regime it is now. And US forces will have to remain there for this foreseeable future. As soon as US forces leave, Afghanistan will crumble into another strife torn quasi-terrorist regime that will soon infect Tajikistan, Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan, meaning all of Central Asia.
So the stalemate will continue – the Afghan government won’t get peace & stability and the Taleban will not get power & major cities. The US forces will remain at current numbers to secure Kabul and strike at the emerging ISIS presence.
You can possibly forgive Tucker Carlson for his ignorance and his ignorance-based interest in stupid selfish solutions proposed by Erik Prince. But what about what he knows & should know about. Listen to Tucker Carlson go nuts in applying “racism” arguments to the after effects of one of the worst race-based invasions in history.
Carlson not only acted indignant but he allowed a guest called Marian Tupy to wax eloquent about equating the previous Apartheid based White South African regime with today’s South Africa.
The issue is broad & universal. Victims of racist & apartheid based powers need to get their assets back after the evil regimes have been removed and if the victims are no longer in that land, then the invader regimes have to pay reparations to the victims. That was the principle behind war reparations paid to Jews by German Banks well after World War II. No one, at least no one sensible, equates payments of those reparations as another mistake equating the original mistake of seizing of Jewish assets by Nazi Germany.
South Africa is dealing with a critical issue. The “white” farmers who “own” their land in South Africa got their land under an Apartheid based “white” regime imposed by White Europeans who came over from Europe & colonized the land. When that Apartheid regime was removed, all assets unfairly given by that regime should have returned to the State of South Africa.
South Africa did not do that because forming a new state was an incredibly difficult task and nothing was deemed more important that rebuilding the nation. But that doesn’t mean the old order must remain for ever or that assets that were wrongly given to a few privileged people because of their skin color should remain in their ownership for ever. South Africa is battling an economic regime that is still horribly unfair & the divide between the poor and the landed is appalling. So land reform is a major necessity.
We speak of this out of personal family history. Our family was a family of “Aachaarya”, scholars & teachers who gave free education to students. This was the family practice for generations. To facilitate this, the State gave farmland to our family & families of other “Aa-Chaar-Ya” which was leased out for an annual fee to farmers. The farmers who tilled the land had both the upside & the downside.
After India became independent in 1947, the state of Mahaa-Raashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, passed a law that decreed the land belongs to the farmers who till the land. Instantly, our family and families of other AaChaarya lost the only asset they had. This is not old history. It happened to our grandparents & granduncles. Since their profession was to provide free education, the families lost all sources of income. That began a migration of Braahman families from smaller towns to Mumbai, Pune & other urban areas.
While the land reform law enacted was unfair and imposed hardship on a class of people, it made owners of the majority of farmers. Today, the State of Mahaa-Raashtra is the most prosperous state in India and among the most stable ones. Contrast that with poorer backward states in areas of North India where land ownership still belongs to small minorities. And contrast that with the horrible condition of the Panjab state of NonPakistan which has never undertaken land reform. No wonder that region breeds terrorism.
One principle we believe and know to be true. Heirs of stolen or seized assets do not have ownership rights to that stolen or seized property. Under that principle, “white” farmers who were “given” land under the previous Apartheid regime do not have ownership rights to that land. So legitimate measures to restore equality by reclaiming ownership of such unfairly seized land are valid & indeed required for the success of South Africa as a state and a society.
But this is a very difficult issue that needs to proceed with deliberations, discussions and a degree of empathy. Based on what the State Department told Tucker Carlson, South Africa seems to be doing so.
This issue is not limited to South Africa. The more general issue of reparations by Europe to Africa, Asia & the Middle East will become more pervasive, more vocal and more strategically important in the next decade or two. It will force America to decide whether America sides automatically with crimes of old Europe or act in accordance with the principles of Lincoln, Roosevelt & Eisenhower.
A bright guy like Tucker Carlson should spend some time thinking about that.
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