The rise and fall of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani mirrors US puppetry in Philippine politics

Why does the rise of Ashraf Ghani to President of US-occupied Afghanistan in 2014, sound so familiar? This is because it has been the mold by which the US has implemented its hegemony.

A report published that December by European Union electoral observers concluded that there had indeed been rampant fraud in the June [2014] election. More than 2 million votes, representing over one-quarter of the total cast, had come from polling stations with overt irregularities.

Whether or not Ghani actually won the run-off was nebulous. But he had managed to get over the finish line, and that was all that mattered. He was president now. And his imperial patrons in Washington were more than happy to sweep the scandal under the rug.

Think of the Philippines prior to independence and the creation of the Liberal Party under Manuel Roxas. Under President Ferdinand Marcos, the template was the same but, at that time, there was the threat of communism so that fueled the rise of Asian strongmen; Lee Kuan Yew, Suharto, and Marcos. Martial law was condoned but the economy was run by the International Monetary Fund – World Bank (IMF-WB).

When Marcos ran afoul of the Americans, it was Ninoy Aquino’s turn. His fifteen seconds of fame came in 1983 at the tarmac of the airport now named after him. The guarantee given was Marcos would fall within a year but that didn’t happen. Marcos got suckered into calling the snap election. We all know what happened after that in 1986. It took us another thirty years before we finally got the President we needed.

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Today, the Philippines is at another crossroads of history with elections in 2022 to determine how the country will move forward in the pandemic environment. But there is also the matter of the political choice the Filipino will make; will it be the continuity of an independent Philippines or will it mark a return to the arms of Uncle Sam? Afghanistan at least got billions or even trillions of dollars while the Philippines has nothing to show for its subservience to the US from 1946-2016.

Recall how former Defense Minister/Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile recounted before President Duterte how badly they were treated during the Marcos administration when they were reduced to begging for military hardware despite the presence of US bases in the country. The fact that we were a former colony didn’t even count. But what was missing in the Philippines was present in Afghanistan. There was a war with profits to be made. The war machine favored the US military-industrial complex. It also allowed the export of neoliberal ideology which was also what the Arab spring was all about. But look at what it wrought in Syria, Yemen and Libya. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan now.

The US continued its destabilization efforts in China by way of Hong Kong and Taiwan. Hong Kong has been shut down while Taiwan remains in play and is a veritable powder keg. The problem is it will take some time to live down the Afghanistan fiasco which has exploded in President Joe Biden’s lap. There is already talk that Biden might be a one-term President like Jimmy Carter who had his chance at reelection blown by the Islamic Revolution in Iran which triggered the hostage crisis.

The story of Afghanistan makes for a better script than the narcos of South America and the Iran-Contra scandal. On one side you have the US supporting a corrupt government while on the other, you have Islamic fundamentalists who are also a US creation raising monies through the drug trade. The fall of Afghanistan is reminiscent of Batista in Cuba who also ran away with the money but in his case, it wasn’t all from the American taxpayers because some of it was from La Cosa Nostra. Afghanistan is also a slap on the collective faces of the American neoliberal establishment. Their Philippine counterparts must be cringing because it couldn’t come at a worse time when the election is less than a year away and they don’t even have a viable candidate.

It thus begs the proverbial question, who will Uncle Sam bless as his anointed? Ladies and gentlemen of the Philippines, this is what the Opposition is part of. This is the ideology they are preaching and selling. It is up to you to make the choice come May 2022.

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