Conflict and Leadership
9/11 and the Defeat of the West

The scenario described here does not have to happen in this way. But the world order will certainly not remain in the current status quo. The brightest strategic minds in the West are now in demand. The real lessons of 9/11 have yet to be learned.

Even if the West does not want to admit it, the terrorists responsible for the attacks of 9/11 exactly twenty years ago inflicted a historic defeat on the West and drove NATO out of the Middle East. The aim of Bin Laden's diabolical plan was to lure the US into the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan in order to defeat it there in the gruelling petty war. The West is footing the bill for its mindless policies. Instead of promoting democracy in the region, NATO has left behind a field of devastation. Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan have become failed states. Worse still, instead of Arab nationalism, the "Islamic State" will be resurrected on the territories of these countries – ideologically and militarily directed against the West. And much stronger than in Iraq at the time.

Global Governance
Is the Afghanistan Problem Really Global?
Konstantin Khudoley
The Afghan crisis is still on the front pages of the world media; politicians, diplomats, public figures and experts talk about it, and think tank conferences, multilateral negotiations and consultations are held. But this wave will soon subside, since the Afghan crisis is undoubtedly long and serious, but not of a global scale, writes Konstantin Khudoley, professor at the Faculty of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University.
Expert Opinions


Western strategists have not grasped their historic defeat in the Middle East. In Western think tanks, the withdrawal from Afghanistan is seen as temporary. Should terrorism regain a foothold there, the US president would send NATO back to the region. One cannot, the argument goes, leave the field to the Russians and Chinese associated with Iran. Europe wants to lure the Taliban and Afghanistan's Islamic neighbors with development aid funds – in order to buy its way out of the pressing problems of mass migration from the region. What dubious diplomacy is this!

What the West does not understand is that NATO is facing a historic end after the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Who needs a highly armed military alliance that has been defeated by local Islamists? Even the US president, who was actually planning a crusade by the West against the dictators of this world, is now talking about the end of Western interference in foreign countries. The policy of regime change is over. NATO has only two functions left: to keep the US as the leading power in Europe and to impose a dubious deterrent against Russia. But no one can claim today that NATO is the strongest military alliance in the world.

Anyone who does not understand today that the world is facing a new upheaval, similar to that after the end of the Soviet Union, cannot be helped.

Joe Biden has apparently agreed with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on a de-escalation. The US does not want to put Russia under further pressure to prevent a possible Russian-Chinese military alliance. The bone of contention Ukraine is thus losing importance, the USA does not want a new edition of the East-West conflict.

The EU must learn to stand on its own security policy feet. Afghanistan has shown that the world power USA only follows its own national interests but treats allies like vassals. But the former Warsaw Pact countries, the new Central Eastern European NATO and EU states, do not want German-French military leadership in Europe, they only rely on their alliance with the USA. The EU will not agree on this issue. The West therefore remains transatlantic but weakened and on the defensive. The West has failed to maintain the unipolar world order under Western leadership. The transatlantic bloc will have to reassess itself in the other world order – the multipolar one.

An important building block of this multipolar world order will be the alliance of the superpower China with the Arab Orient. A bogeyman for the West!

This idea may sound so crazy today, but the "caliphate" or "emirate" built on the ruins of the collapsed Middle East will be oriented towards China in the 21st century. It is largely up to Western diplomacy whether this "alliance" develops into a cooperation partner or a rival of the West. A side note: China and Pakistan are nuclear powers, Iran is on its way there.

As long as relations between Russia and the EU are shaken by ever new conflicts, Russia will tilt towards an alliance of convenience with China. Russia wants NATO to withdraw from its western border. Russia will also be involved as a shaping power in the Middle East, also as a result of the war victory in Syria. Russia, no longer the USA, is now a close ally of the OPEC countries. Not to be despised are the new strategic relations that Russia maintains with the regional powers Turkey and Iran. Luring Western-disappointed Turkey out of NATO and into the Eurasian Union is a covert goal of Russian diplomacy. Along with China, Moscow will soon become to assume protective functions for Iran, which continues to be under pressure from the West.

Afghanistan under Taliban rule: A view from Russia and India. An Expert Discussion
17.09.2021
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.