Afghanistan: The Defeat of NATO Opens the Potential for a New Era

The dramatic developments surrounding the Taliban takeover of Kabul and the humiliating defeat and retreat of the U.S. led NATO forces in Afghanistan, have been presented in apocalyptic terms in Western media. Contrary to such hysteria, however, Helga Zepp-LaRouche noted on August 17 that this does not mean “the end of the world”. Rather, she said in her weekly Schiller Institute webcast, it is very good, first of all for the Afghani people, that 40 years of war is now finally ending, and it opens up the possibility of integrating Afghanistan into a regional economic perspective to begin reconstruction of the country, for example as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (

There is now a real opportunity, she went on, to “bring stability and economic development to the region”. That is clearly in the interest of the Central Asian and neighboring nations, and Russia and China are ready to cooperate in this endeavor. Now, it is time for Europe and the United States to join in.

But, Helga Zepp-LaRouche warned, that requires a complete change in approach. German CDU chancellor candidate Armin Laschet correctly stated that this was the biggest failure of NATO ever, and a few other Western leaders have reacted thoughtfully.

However, they need to recognize that the entire policy adopted since 9/11 – the regime-change wars, the “humanitarian interventions”, the attempts to impose so-called “western values” with military means – has failed completely.

In Afghanistan itself, the intervention was “ill defined from the beginning”, and there was never a viable war plan. (President Biden, by the way, just openly stated that “nation building” was never the intention of the war, only protecting the U.S. from further attacks. Thus, it is not surprising that the Afghan army, despite the countless billions NATO spent on training, was not willing to defend the “puppet regime” in Kabul, but immediately surrendered.) As for the Taliban takeover, Helga Zepp-LaRouche noted in this webcast and on other occasions, much hysteria is being spread. However, their leaders have agreed to a general amnesty for members of the previous regime, to sever ties with terrorist groups, to protect embassies and foreign nationals in the country, etc. If they are offered the perspective of economic development, in particular participation in the Belt and Road projects, there will be great pressure on them to uphold these commitments.

Several transportation projects for the country are already on the drawing boards and ready to be implemented. The humanitarian needs are enormous, starting with building a modern health system and improving agriculture and food production, as viable alternatives to the opium production which flourished during the NATO occupation.

In fact, the United States and Europe have everything to gain from such an approach, Helga Zepp-LaRouche stressed, as their image has been severely damaged by the Afghanistan debacle.

However, if leading institutions and personalities “would now say, ‘OK, we made a mistake, and we will change our view. We will cooperate with Russia and China in the construction of a new paradigm, where sovereignty is respected, and the advantage of the other is part of the equation”, then we could be at the beginning of a beautiful new era. And I think that is the kind of discussion that is needed right now.”

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