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World Affairs







 World Affairs

The world after George Bush

American President George Bush on Tuesday while remembering the dead of 9/11 said that the tragic event was one 'that changed the world.' Indeed it changed the world and President Bush took much of the flak that resulted as he pursued his 'Global War Against Terrorism.'

Some of his critics, particularly in the Islamist world even accuse him and the US establishment (CIA?) of destroying the Twin Towers and the Pentagon! Such is the degree of fanaticism generated, to which he had contributed much.

Despite many of his faults - and he had very many - President Bush can be credited with one achievement: There was no terrorist attack in the United States in the seven years that followed. That he proudly recalled in his remembrance speech on Tuesday.

President Bush will also be remembered but certainly not appreciated for another global transformation. When he leaves office, the world he leaves behind will also not be the same again. Substantial changes will be made by his successor, be it Barack Obama or John McCain and they have already said so.


Already changes are taking place both in Iraq and Afghanistan which Bush seems unable to influence now to some extent. The war on terror which he took to Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban government that was providing refuge to Osama bin Laden, the man said to be behind 9/11, doesn't look good for the Americans and their NATO allies.

The Taliban who fled to the Tora Bora mountains when under US aerial attacks are now back in Afghan towns and villages and taking on US and NATO troops. They are causing much friction between the Western forces and their Pakistani allies.

NATO and US forces have taken to bombing of villages and camps established in the tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. This has resulted in many civilian casualties and angered Pakistani leaders. The new Pakistani President Asif Zardari is caught in a vice between his American allies and his own people. No excuse could satisfy the irate people when bombed by their government's own allies. Besides, Zardari's climb to presidency was achieved in dubious and fortuitous ways.

Besides Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president who was elected under the patronage of the Americans and is described as an American puppet is also in a similar unenviable position as Zardari with the US and NATO bombing villages and towns where the Taliban has taken refuge, resulting in the deaths of civilians. This is ideal propaganda for the Taliban who are attempting to oust Karzai. And Zardari has to face an election soon.

Mistakes made by the US

Last week European Union's Special Representative to Afghanistan Francesc Vendrell in a candid interview in on BBC's HardTalk spoke on the mistakes made by the US in Afghanistan. Firstly, he said that foreign troops were welcomed in Afghanistan against the Taliban regime but this factor was not made use of. Now, at best, the US and NATO forces are considered a 'necessary evil.'

Secondly, the numbers of troops deployed were inadequate to achieve the objectives. The most telling point he made was that no change of policy in Afghanistan was possible because President Bush had his own way and no change was possible as long as Bush was in control.

 Some Western analysts have said that it would take decades to stabilise and introduce a Western style democracy as envisioned by the Americans and till then foreign troops will have to remain on Afghan soil.


In Iraq President Bush is happy in the belief that the security situation is turning around with a marked drop in terrorist and sectarian violence. Iraqi forces are now acting in concert with American troops and appear to be able to meet the resistance that still exists. Yet suicide and car bombings still take its daily toll.

In the Anbar Province, Sunni militants who were opposing American troops had turned their guns against the al Qaeda operatives who are no longer effective. President Bush claims that his 'Surge Strategy' sending in a large number of troops to bolster the existing troops had worked.

General David Petraeus, Commander of US troops in Iraq says that the 'peace is fragile but durable.' He however was cautious enough to point out in an interview that he had not ever spoken of 'victory' in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the confident George Bush says that 8500 troops will be pulled out of Iraq and 4500 sent by January to Afghanistan. Analysts however say that the reduction of only 5.5 percent of troops in Iraq would not make much of an impact. Twelve thousand troops are required by NATO in Afghanistan.

UN mandate

 The UN mandate for presence of foreign troops in Iraq expires in December this year. An agreement reached recently with the Iraqi government provides withdrawal of US soldiers from cities across Iraq next year and all US troops in three years.

John McCain, the Republican candidate will go along with President's Bush's thinking that there should be no fixed time table for troops' withdrawal and it should be done in accordance with the prevailing exigencies while Barack Obama has said that he will pull out all US troops in 16 months.

The consensus of American opinion - and perhaps as well as global opinion - goes against the line of thinking of President Bush. And that indicates the sinking popularity of George Bush. This is no doubt that it is also linked to the deteriorating American economy.


While Afghanistan and Iraq have significantly contributed to President Bush's sinking popularity,  he is now being stalled by Russia that is directly taking on the US, particularly on US interference in what Russia considers as its own sphere of influence.

Russian forces moved in to two breakaway provinces of Georgia - Ossetia and Abkhazia - and recognised them as independent states much to the fury of the US and European nations. This was tit-for-tat for the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state despite it being a part of Serbia allied to Russia.

The installation of a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic  has also caused the ire of Russia and last week it was reported that Russia would be deploying ships and warplanes in the Caribbean for war games with Venezuela whose President Hugo Chavez takes delight in taking on the  giant in the Western hemisphere.

Geopolitically the world after George Bush will undergo much transformation either for the better or worse. 

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