Posted by lex, on June 28th, 2011
US foreign policy in Afghanistan now seeks to mimic the Congress of Vienna and turn the central Asian “nation” into peaceful oasis at the center of Great Game rivalries, according to the Financial Times *:
US officials say that Washington’s diplomatic efforts are largely aimed at achieving a regional compact, whereby countries agree not to use Afghanistan as a battleground for their rivalries.
The Obama administration is turning its back on more ambitious nation-building efforts in Afghanistan, which officials now dismiss as doomed efforts to build a Switzerland or a “Central Asian Valhalla”.
Asked by Richard Lugar, the senior Republican Senator, about the importance of bringing countries such as India, Russia and central Asian states to the table, Mrs Clinton endorsed his suggestion that the Congress of Vienna be a model.
“The Congress of Vienna is an interesting historical example because there was a pact made among regional powers that in effect left the Benelux countries as a free zone,” she said.
That’s a rather ethnocentric model of diplomacy which disregards the region’s seething historical antagonisms, but it would be a neat trick if we could pull it off. It’s also worth pointing out that while the Congress of Vienna gave the low countries a century’s breathing space, in the next century they became an invasion route.
Which, when it comes to Afghanistan, have as much of that as you would like, for we have about had our fill.
** 05-21-18 – Links to UK’s Financial Times gone – Ed.