Has President Trump Found a Solution to America’s Afghan Problem?

But it may come at a massive cost to the Afghan people.

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Kabul kids in 2002. Many hoped for a better life for them after the fall of the Talibans. Even after two decades of bloody conflicts, it is yet to be fulfilled — photo by author.
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Kabul 2002. Residents are still reeling from the shock of American firepower — photo by author.

“The Geographical Pivot of History” — the Heartland Theory

In 1904, British geographer Halford Mackinder proposed a theory — which he called the ‘Heartland’ theory — in a paper titled “The Geographical Pivot of History.” The essence of this theory is that Eurasia is the global pivot point, and whoever controls the Eurasian continent — the ‘Heartland’ — can exercise global dominance. Today, the Heartland consists of Russia, the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia, and the Caspian basin. Russia has long been the de facto controlling power of this region.

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Pivot area of the Heartland Theory. CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=118732.

The collapse of the USSR and the subsequent US policy

Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US adopted a policy of expanding in this region, made explicit in a Pentagon document in early 1992. It stated that the first objective of the US was to prevent any rival power dominating this region, and it would preclude the emergence of any potential future global competitor.

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USGS map of Afghanistan showing its mineral resources. Open-File Report, 2006–1038. https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1038/.

“To the victor belong the spoils.”

In January 2017, Donald Trump took over as America’s 45th president. In the same month, he declared at the CIA headquarters: “To the victor belong the spoils.” But picking up the spoils Afghan war was a dangerous and costly endeavor as most mine sites were still under Taliban control, and security remained ever elusive.

‘Prince’ to the rescue

Remember Erik D. Prince of the private security firm Blackwater International, that gained notoriety in Iraq? Prince is now in the Afghanistan arena, promoting a new idea that could enable the US to reduce its troops and, at the same time, ensure the security of the mine sites and transport the minerals outside the country. How? By privatizing the war.

The human cost

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Victims of the Narang night raid that killed at least 10 Afghan civilians, including eight schoolchildren. RAWA / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

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Heads a $60m engineering consulting business and a team of 750+ members. Travels and writes as a hobby on history, culture, politics, and contemporary issues.

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