By Mohammad Mazhari

U.S. Afghan exit marks end of the unipolar model in recent history: professor

August 1, 2021 - 10:35

TEHRAN - Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, a London-based professor, says that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is a sign of the beginning and the end of the unipolar model in recent history.

“It marks the beginning and the end of the unipolar model in recent history when the United States tried to dominate the world order by sheer military force,” Professor Adib Moghaddam tells the Tehran Times.
President George W. Bush, whose administration began the U.S.-led war against the Taliban in 2001, has told DW on 14th July that he fears for the fate of Afghanistan after American and NATO troops leave the country.
However, professor Adib-Moghaddam says, “When Afghanistan was invaded two decades ago, the George W. Bush administration institutionalized several dangerous unilateral norms that have been rejected by other countries ever since, even close allies such as Germany.”
Adib-Moghaddam, professor in global thought and comparative philosophies at the Department of Politics and International Studies in the London Middle East Institute, says “after two decades, the militarized approach to Afghanistan (and Iraq) has clearly failed.”
Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you evaluate the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan after two decades of war?

A: For me, it marks the beginning and the end of the unipolar model in recent history, when the United States tried to dominate the world order by sheer military force. When Afghanistan was invaded two decades ago, the George W. Bush administration institutionalized several dangerous unilateral norms that have been rejected by other countries ever since, even close allies such as Germany. 
After two decades, the militarized approach to Afghanistan (and Iraq) has clearly failed. The Taliban are in ascendancy and the United States was forced to accept this. In short: The war taught us that military advances don't translate into strategic success. The same happened in Iraq. Thousands of people died, millions were displaced and the decision-makers have nothing to show for.

Q: Do you think Afghanistan's neighbors can devise an initiative like the Astana process to restore peace in the country?

A: I believe Russia and China will take a lead in this and insist on two issues: First, that the Taliban would outlaw "jihadist" extremism and does not destabilize neighboring countries and secondly that the United States is marginalized in any future solution for Afghanistan and the region. Afghanistan plays an important role in China's Belt and Road Initiative and Russia's North-South corridor, so what we will experience is the "Eurasianisation" of the geo-politics embedding Afghanistan.

Q: What are the implications of the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan for Washington’s Arab allies? Can they rely on America in times of crisis?

A: I don't think that the Arab allies of the United States are in any doubt that their political fate has to be engineered by themselves at least since the Shah and probably even earlier. The United States is a convenient security guarantor and business partner, but not an insurance policy for regime survival.

Q: Do you predict a long-term civil war in Afghanistan? In that case, what will be its repercussions for neighbors?

A: I think this transitory phase will be particularly bloody, but in the end, the Taliban is likely to emerge as the winner which may stabilize the country albeit under a problematic banner. Afghanistan needs a long-term strategy embedded in an UN-sponsored regional security architecture that is inclusive and realistic. Alas, I don't see any of the governments surrounding Afghanistan as capable enough to spearhead such a strategic peace initiative.

Q: What are the main misconceptions of Western leaders when they decide to be engaged in West Asian woes?

A: Ignorance, bad advice, combined with the hubristic attitude to know.
 

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