Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Not Great, and not a Game

The Great Game, you will recall, was the term given to the intelligence war fought on the North West frontier between the British lion and the Russian bear that led to our first two disastrous military forays into Afghanistan. More recent military incompetence reinforcing political failure has seen us as militarily incapable of maintaining control of Basra and abandoning it, and of being so ineffective in Helmand that we've abandoned that too, leaving the Taliban better trained, financed, equipped and organised than ever, with bumper opium crops harvested under our noses. The only winners on our side as usual are the makers of prosthetic limbs and the intelligence organisations.

Now of course the CIA, NSA and our own boys and girls from Vauxhall and Hereford are getting used to the power plugs in Kiev, facing their counterparts from the FSB across the piles of tyres. The FSB is equipped with bits of US special ops field kit to leave conspicuously at the scene of fire-fights for journalists to be guided to 'discover', and the CIA is similarly equipped with bits of obvious Spetsnaz kit to leave at their own sites 'leaked' to US and Euro news crews to be filmed. No doubt they see it as a version of the Great Game for the digital news age. Meanwhile the muppets from the EU, whose own intelligence operations are both only risibly incompetent and totally  compromised by China, are holding their noses in their reliance on the NSA and GCHQ to keep them informed about what's actually going on in Ukraine, preferably before Beijing knows. The German whining about their phones being tapped has stopped, you will note.

The fact that Syria looks like being a 1 - 0 victory for Russia will no doubt fuel patriotic fervour in Langley to win the next leg in Ukraine. Except of course that this is a game played with real legs. And arms. And other body parts. In fact not a game at all, and with nothing great about it.

7 comments:

Nick Drew said...

great summing-up, Mr Justice R

right_writes said...

It might be better to leave the Afghani's alone, and buy their crop instead...

It will stop it getting into the hands of the black marketeers, and it is a useful product for hospitals.

I don't reckon that would be stepping on the toes of the pharmaceutical companies, there is very little profit in making morphine.

Net result, less death on the streets of this country, less death on the streets of Afghanistan, and a handsome profit for the government or its chosen "partner". Crapita or whatever.

visc said...

Nice idea RW though cynically I might suggest that out own set of narco-dealing intellligence agencies won't like the idea.

Mike Spilligan said...

I try to resist commenting if I've nothing to add - but this is an excellent post. I heard via phone from a Russian friend, that Merkel on her recent visit to Washington was refused access to her own file. Maybe they said "shuddup", too.

Span Ows said...

The bumper opium crops ins't 'under our noses', it is one of the reasons 'we' are there: the Taliban set about burning and clearing the poppy crops...by complete coincidence, the following year the US forces moved in, hey presto, supply restored.

Span Ows said...

Here you go: "In July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, collaborating with the United Nations to eradicate heroin production in Afghanistan, declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world's most successful anti-drug campaigns. The Taliban enforced a ban on poppy farming via threats, forced eradication, and public punishment of transgressors. The result was a 99% reduction in the area of opium poppy farming in Taliban-controlled areas, roughly three quarters of the world's supply of heroin at the time.[14] The ban was effective only briefly due to the deposition of the Taliban in 2002."

See image too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Afghanistan_opium_poppy_cultivation_1994-2007b.PNG

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile...
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/97d73f0a-a8aa-11e3-b50f-00144feab7de.html#axzz31libAOlm