tv Cross Talk RT October 14, 2013 7:29am-8:01am EDT
switzerland will soon vote if they should start giving out thousands of dollars in cash to every adult citizen in the country you heard me right there's a grassroots campaign that is trying to get the government to give out to every adult says in two thousand five hundred swiss francs approximately two thousand eight hundred dollars per month the motivation for the project is that many in switzerland fear that the financial crisis has caused wealth inequality to skyrocket you know i'm not an expert at swiss culture so maybe people there are different but if they gave out thousands of free dollars per month anywhere i've lived you would see the majority of people going into early retirement and not working at all and it's sort of like how they tell people not to feed the bears at parks because then the bears lose their instincts and will go hunt because getting a sandwich thrown at them is a lot easier i mean why go through the effort of odd thing when the sandwich just magically appears handouts often creates law according to reuters some people are proposing a much better law for switzerland limiting executive pay to being twelve times
higher than that of the lowest paid employee although this plan is making headlines it seems like a much better idea because it doesn't to motivate people to be productive and yet it would create almost utopia like levels of wealth equality also if the bosses salary is tied to the employees that a lot of people be getting raises very soon this one to twelve pay ratio is much better than the free swiss francs and it gets my seal of approval but that's just my opinion. israel is the country iran threatens to wipe out stores or deal with them the iranian leadership openly says so in this sense there is no difference between rouhani enough but it is good to see for his visit to new york through honey publicly declared that their goal is to annihilate israel.
hello and welcome to cross talk of all things considered i'm peter lavelle as afghanistan prepares for a presidential election many in the political and media mainstream speak of the country's first democratic transition this may or may not be true what is less talked about is the dire security situation on the ground whether karzai is angling to succeed him self the powerful presence of the taliban and whether the u.s. will ever actually leave afghanistan. to crimes like the upcoming election in afghanistan i'm joined by john glaser in washington he's a contributing editor at antiwar dot com and a columnist for the washington times community section also in washington we have michael kugel and he is an associate at the woodrow wilson international center for
scholars and in philadelphia we crossed england in he is a political commentator and a writer or gentleman cross-talk rosen a fact that means you can jump in anytime you want john the reason if i go to you first in washington the reason i want to do this program is number one always make the american people and western publics remember what we did in afghanistan that's always a top priority for me i'm number two looking at the headlines democratic transition this is the first democratic transition in afghanistan and i'll give my opinion about that later but don't you think that the that's the wrong focus here is that actually nothing very good has happened in afghanistan the last twelve years and that's something western media and political elites don't like to talk about anymore well there's really no actual practicing democracy to speak of in afghanistan what you have is kleptocratic corrupt have a state that has control over some of the country. and doesn't have the
ability to maintain security over even the parts that it supposedly controls we have the state has. about eighty percent of the government's budget comes from abroad in foreign aid so it can't sustain itself and you know in terms of who will succeed cars i will be democratic you know that remains to be seen i know that there will be some international observations of the elections go but previous elections have proven to be fraudulent and many of the people running include warlords and insurgents and you know people that. welcomed the al qaeda people in back in the ninety's so you know it's hard really to talk about any functioning democracy in afghanistan and you know the united states has a lot of culpability for that ok michael i mean talking about it a transition in afghanistan is a way for the united states the finally cut in run they won't do it obviously in
that using those terms but they're still going to stay there and isn't that really what the future of afghanistan is about is the kind of relationship military relationship the united states and afghanistan will have moving forward has very little to do with the election actually. well i actually wouldn't go that far i don't think it's a sure thing that the united states is going to stay in afghanistan literally it will there's going to be a development presence and a diplomatic presence for a number of years but their negotiating effort will include negotiating for bases though michel they want nine bases for training purposes they are but those negotiations have been suspended and there's increasing i'm hearing things around town that this so-called zero option in other words an entire withdrawal of military withdraw from afghanistan may not be out of the question just because it's been so hard for the white house to work with karzai it's become a very tortured relationship i agree with you certainly the u.s. government would want to maintain
a residual force in afghanistan and that probably will end up happening but you know i don't think we want to get ahead of ourselves there may not be a residual presence in afghanistan and quite frankly selection is democratic transition may be delayed there may well not even be elections next year you know a number of afghan politicians powerful politicians close to cars i have said they're very uneasy about the idea of having an election given the security situation given the fact that the u.s. is withdrawing and there's also indications that some of these politicians again close to karzai would not be happy with any of the presidential candidates there about twenty seven of them right now so it's really a very uncertain unclear situation right now ok linda how do you read the tea leaves here because it's the u.s. certainly would like to maintain some kind of military presence there for purposes that could be explained in afghanistan outside of afghanistan iraq iran comes to
mind things like this here but this seems like there's a this is not even an amicable divorce between the united states and afghanistan particularly we look at mr karzai well we have to look more closely at what of us is there in the first place and that's for geo political reasons is to chuck. and iran and. to maintain a footprint in central asia so with that in mind the u.s. was definitely like to stay on beyond two thousand and fourteen the reason why is scaling back its involvement because this kind of stalemate is what the taliban cannot defeat the taliban one hundred thousand troops will not be able to control the taliban with ten or ten or twenty thousand troops and karzai will be irrelevant soon enough because he's stepping down anyway ministration will collapse and his army will collapse so the us is pulling back because it's going broke home and is armies exhausted from from fighting the taliban which it can't defeat and the election itself will be illegitimate because the taliban which is the strongest
force in afghanistan were not participate it will even try to sabotage it so my prediction for the future is that the taliban will have a stronger presence after us back its presence there you know john you are reading antiwar dot com is the first thing i do in the morning after having some coffee and i run a fascinating article on that website how karzai is just going to succeed him self he's angling to do that he says could move next door and keep an eye on the new president whoever that may be. yeah this is an indication of how corrupt afghanistan the afghan government is that you know he's looking to have someone that's already within his inner circle come after him and hill he'll be sort of like a dick cheney to dick to our did george w. bush really pulling the strings and behind things so you know it's things don't look particularly good you know it what's funny is that there's a lot of predictions about what will happen in afghanistan and a lot of differing opinion about exactly what will occur but there is only one
major divide and the major divide goes like this about ninety nine percent of observers by my count think it's going to hell in a handbasket and then the one percent is in the obama administration and support of elements in the congress which say everything is going swimmingly it's all peachy were successfully training the afghan security forces and it's peaceful and so on and so forth and that's the kind of propaganda we've been hearing for the past twelve years it's always going wonderfully it just it was always going wonderfully in iraq and so you know that divide needs to really end because i think the american people really see what a failure and a waste this whole afghan war has been you know michael what happens if you i agree with you we don't even if those there's going to be an election in the legitimacy of karzai within afghanistan is questionable among afghans outside of kabul i was
there last year it's only about security i mean security is the only thing that you can you think about when you're in kabul i can't imagine what it's like outside of kabul you know with no security how can there be any kind of political progress yeah absolutely you know security has to come first and certainly i think it's important to acknowledge that the situation has improved on the ground. modestly so over the last few years certainly in kabul is a city that's that's funk. in all you know people can can can move around relatively freely in certain parts of the city it's not chaotic etc like that but certainly once you leave kabul which essentially is personal fiefdom once you leave kabul it gets really bad particularly in the south in the east near pakistan and increasingly even in the northern parts of the country which we have been told where the more peaceful relatively more stable parts of the country so i'm very skeptical if even if there is an election how credible it will be go ahead john
jump in. yeah you know what's funny is that the level of violence in afghanistan now is about what it was prior to the obama administration's surge in two thousand and nine and two thousand and ten and the levels of violence overall in the country went up as the u.s. efforts to stabilize the country and make it secure went up and so this is an indication of what a failure u.s. policy has been and what a failure counterterrorism policy has been. the places that are still unstable are unstable because the insurgency is alive and well and as lynn said we can't defeat it and yet the obama administration seems to be biding its time for a way to get out and say look we look how we won you know that it's just like in vietnam nixon and kissinger were desperate to get out and be able to wave
a flag of victory when everyone that just and has eyes and is in so cynical can see the truth and that's that we fail and you want to jump in there in philadelphia go ahead. i just want to say to you guys there is plenty of us the source of security and the source of. the solution but it is actually the instigator of violence and chaos in afghanistan so. we you know we should reframe the question so as long as yes stays there there will be violence there will be chaos because it's an occupying power. has turned afghanistan to its very corrupt and narco state you know how and production is out of control there so it is a source of all the chaos and lot of violence and it will be made that way as long as you ask for it maintains even a minimal presence in afghanistan. how do you feel about it because i mean it again you know the u.s. wants to keep a footprint there but the longer its footprint is there the more well with lin had to say the violence will continue because of occupation. well i wouldn't say that
the u.s. forces and international forces are the only reason that there is violence and it's not that it's the only spark for violence in afghanistan certainly there are a number of other factors one of them being the fact that pakistan has become a sanctuary for many of the militant groups of the afghan taliban the haqqani network that that go on the offensive in afghanistan and also you know just the fact that the afghan government has not yet been able to convince the afghan people that it provides a better alternative to the out to the taleban and that keeps recruitment levels up it's a very good point gentlemen we're going to go to one short break here and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on afghanistan staying with r.t. .
welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the upcoming election in afghanistan. ok john i'd like to go back to you in washington michael brought up a really good point here what about the eight hundred pound gorilla called the taliban what do they want ok everyone looks at karzai these you know comic book candidates running for president most of them a crony is of karzai anyway but what about the taliban they're the ones that are making decisions on the ground here there are many areas in afghanistan particularly in the southeast that where where the taliban hold ultimate control
they collect taxes they have laws and they educate educate disputes between people you know. and you know this this even though it's terrible and brutal and nothing that i would ever want to accept a lot of the people in afghanistan say hey this it least. when i'm when i'm given two. unhappy plates of food i still choose the less the less disgusting one and that's that seems to be the taliban because what you have on the on the afghan government side is a government that nobody trusts and nobody has any confidence in unless they're directly tied to it in some sort of financial way which is by the way a lot of the reason that people sign up for the security forces unfortunately in the syrian security forces there is a desertion rate of about fifty thousand per year but yes people don't have confidence in the afghan government and what also adds to taliban recruitment is the fact that the united states keep killing people i mean it was just. this week
that the u.s. launched another airstrike airstrike that killed several people including three children misshapen sort of every once in a while and you have to think about the lives of their that tears apart and it's no wonder suddenly that the the people aren't on the side of the occupation one other thing that michael mentioned it's really important is that and i can i have to sort of disagree with lynn here is that although the u.s. is the greatest purveyor of violence and a lot of the violence that occurs in afghanistan does come from the u.s. occupation it's also true that if we pull out there's a strong possibility that civil war will take place and if that happens of course you can probably look at the dissolution and collapse of the afghan state and then the saga of the tragedy of afghanistan what we've done to that country since the eighty's and through the ninety's and up till today is going to go on on and.
michael you like to reply to that because it looks like it's a no win situation you stay you lose you leave you lose yeah i think the united states has found itself really in a in a lose lose position you know i would argue that when this war first started in two thousand and one the us government had what seemed to be very specific basic goals and that was to overrule overthrow the taleban and then make a move the sanctuary for al qaeda in afghanistan both of those goals were essentially fulfilled several years back but the situation has become so ugly this is why you know the united states is very good at starting wars but it's not very good at ending them if that's true across the board so now you have a situation where the taliban is not in power officially but it could very well threaten to to return to power and of course i mean afghanistan is a longer sanctuary but you have. havens in the tribal areas of pakistan and of course it has changed
a lot as an organization in recent years but you know it's shifted to other parts of the stories in his day and also in the way. that they can do cross border attacks go ahead john continue i was just right well i was going to say that you know this idea that there's a sanctuary in pakistan there's no longer a sanctuary for terrorists in afghanistan and the one in pakistan i mean yes it's the only way that it threatens the united states is that they can do cross border attacks on occupying forces in afghanistan there's really no threat to the homeland the u.s. is not tough and requires. go ahead go ahead in philadelphia lynn jump in i understand that u.s. is u.s. is not talking pakistan because the pashtuns are also in pakistan you know the pashtun live on both sides of the borders and they've been there for two thousand years so you know a war against the taliban is basically a war against the pashtuns and you know they make up nearly fifty percent of the population so you can't kill them off so you know they will remain there too and
they will win out in the end michael so. it's a very complicated the tribal areas of pakistan it's true that i mean one has to look at the ethnic issues of the pashtun issues but let's face it i mean there that's become a haven for militants that are from all over the world and central asia you have punjabi militants from pakistan that have moved up there it's really it's a cauldron unfortunately of militancy that i think it's important to look at it in a broad way it's not just the taliban it's not just the pashtoon issue it goes because and goes much deeper than that in my view ok but john i mean i gree with michael here as why why not tell you let me go to john what is the u.s. doing there in light of what we just heard from michael here wouldn't it be better if the u.s. is completely with to use it you're right it could be a civil war but it's going to be the folks on the ground they're going to decide the outcome because the u.s. and its allies can't determine any outcome but it wants yes and we should be clear
to us after thirteen years now of fumbling around and screwing things up the united states presence there can only do worse for the country of afghanistan we will continue to push militants into the same stories in pakistan we need to get out and get out yesterday in complete and total i mean a full withdrawal not a semi withdrawal with ten thousand troops plus j. sock and bases for drones we are not going to improve the situation through the militarism that has been the case over the over more than a decade now. i hate to bring up the cliched phrase of trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results but that's true psychosis you know michael cutters i've talked about dealing negotiating with the taliban and this is kind of an interesting scenario because he's out of favor with washington i mean washington still has to give that government money ok and good for karzai and his cronies but i mean if you're making
a deal with the taliban and you kind of playing both sides against the middle here this is what's going to keep karzai and his clan in power i don't care if he's president or not president that doesn't make any difference but this is an interesting scenario that he may be attempting to have and there's a fundamental divide here when it comes to the issue of negotiating with the taliban i mean the taleban has been very insistent that it wants the united states to the universe that it wouldn't go she with the united states because the united states is the crying power it does not want kabul does not want the afghan government involved of course karzai understandably wants this to be a quote unquote afghan led process and that's that's a divide that has not been bridged yet and quite frankly if that's not divided if that's not bridge then you know you have to link this to the to the future of the u.s. military in afghanistan because car as i said that unless there is a peace process led by the afghan government he's not going to negotiate a security agreement to allow the u.s. to stay there after twenty fourteen so this is something that people around here in
washington don't and in my view don't really make that link enough because there's a pretty good chance that we may not have much of a presence military presence in the country by the end of next year ok lynn maybe after twelve years that's not a bad thing to happen. well the war on terrorism has been incoherent from the start you know it's now being. presented as a war against islamic fundamentalists and against ours but the united states is supporting fundamentalists in syria and libya so you know it doesn't make any sense what you know about we're fighting to talk about because they fundamentalists but you know since we already supporting terrorists and fundamentalists i was aware john how much is it get down to just hubris john how much is that get down to hubris that this has been a complete utter waste of time i mean we can't do that in the beginning the afghan war was a lot about hubris right now i think it's about political reputation i think it's about not wanting to admit to the world and everything the united states does as
apparently has to be on the world stage but to admit to the world that we screwed things up and failed and failed miserably it will be harder for us to do the nationalistic ceremonial praising of the sacrifices of our soldiers who have died in vain and who have been maimed and had their lives ripped apart themselves in addition to the afghan people for the political reputations of the people in the executive branch you know it's interesting to note that back when the obama administration was deciding on whether or not to surge in afghanistan there are some insiders that have written in publications like foreign policy magazine who have noted that obama was planning on withdrawing fully from or at least almost fully from iraq and in order not to be criticized by the military and or nor to seem like still he was a tough guy and
a strong leader he decided to do the surge in afghanistan this is always been about politics for the obama administration and that's a sad note that people continue to die and grow into the country continues to be torn to stretch the corrupt government in afghanistan as being in a rich again by for just for the political reputation of barack obama needs to stop . michael what about that is it just about reputation because i mean just getting all of this stuff out of afghanistan is costing billions and billions of dollars when just pointed out what about making money well i mean of course the defense companies are very happy with this because they have to replace the stuff i mean it's a win win for them. i mean it really has become an issue of credibility because obama essentially took ownership of this war i mean he was elected he said he was going to withdraw from iraq and get things right with afghanistan and so that's why he you know he ended up committing to the surge and and now i think what john says is
to an extent i would agree with you know i think that obama has always been someone who is who he's never been comfortable committing to a long term military presence he's always sparred with the middle with the generals about troop numbers and then even when he announced the surge he said right then that he was going to pull them out within eighteen months but at the same time he took ownership over this war so i think there is this this intent in the white house to try to do something anything whatever that is i don't know to try to make this more of a quote unquote honorable withdrawal but there's really nothing for the honorable about it right now and i think the key is as someone said before let's try to figure out how to get out as quickly as possible in a smooth fashion as possible but it's not going to be easy gentlemen i don't think that's model and we have run out of time many thanks to my guest today in washington and in philadelphia and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t. see you next time and remember rules. some
real damage and complexity of this oil spill was not something you can grasp just by looking at dirty birds we have between four to five million people in this directly affected area of the coast and it's pretty clear why it's not being reported because b.p. can't afford to have a reported all along the gulf coast are clean they are safe and they're open for business if b.p. is the single largest oil contributor to the pentagon the us war machine is heavily reliant upon b.p. and their oil this is a huge step backwards for democracy it's a step forward for the oligarchy carex it is toxic as it looked like spraying in vietnam it was it was not a picture that either the government or b.p. really wanted to have out there i don't want dispersants to be the agent.
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