Rhetoric aside, the superstorm Sandy will have an overriding impact on the US security interests in the conflict zones, the purpose of which has been to block the economic and strategic influence of China, Russia and al-Qaeda. The tragic loss of life and destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy is the most regrettable incident, and it is just unimaginable for all those who lost their homes, businesses, and some of them their lives in this horrific and stormy episode. The America we all know time and again has shown the capacity to help every other nation that faced such destruction. Walter Russel wrote (via Meadia) entitled, Nature and Nature’s God, that “those who live and do their business there pay very little attention to the natural world most of the time. Into this busy, self-involved world Hurricane Sandy has burst. Sharks have been photographed (or at least photo shopped) swimming in the streets of New Jersey towns; waves sweep across the Lower East Side; transformers explode on both sides of the Hudson as salt water surges into the tunnels and subways. For a little while at least, New Yorkers are reminded that we live in a world shaped by forces that are bigger than we are; tonight it is easy to identify with the sentiments in John Milton’s paraphrase of Psalm 114”:
Shake earth, and at the presence be aghast
Of him that ever was, and aye shall last,
That glassy floods from rugged rocks can crush,
And make soft rills from the fiery flint-stones gush.
The results of superstorm Sandy would be painful even economically devastating for developing countries, because the crucial flip side of US Aid phenomenon will deadly slow down the stability process. This does not mean that it would be impossible for the US to intervene where American interests are being threatened by other regional powers, but due to new domestic dynamics, economic crisis, and realities of geography, demographic dominance of China, all of these will burden American power, just as the US and NATO’s power will try defining the twenty-first century strategic and economic territories.
One can only hope that the US focuses on redressing its own economic and financial losses instead of expanding NATO’s strategic influence in Asia pacific, because all the major military operations being coordinated with NATO, ISAF and other allies will soon be facing the financial fallout of European economic problems & Hurricane Sandy. This assumption is based on the fact that almost every NATO member state is cutting defence spending and downsizing their work force in defence related organizations. It is bad news for the people of Afghanistan because the developmental work and the responsibility to build the nation state cannot be continued in the backdrop of such a natural catastrophe and economic problems.
On the other hand, the foregoing allows current Afghan government to understand that no foreign force or super power can build sociopolitical structures for the people of Afghanistan. The paradox, however is that rampant corruption and cronyism is something that whatever the amount of economic and political resources might be supplied, the Karzai government would respond with political rhetoric and the inability to serve the ordinary citizens of Afghanistan. Consequently, we see this contradiction: on the one hand, Pakistan is deeply resented over the cross-border infiltration of TTP militants from Afghanistan, and on the other hand, the disequilibrium in US security and foreign policies predict a dangerous century, particularly for the developing nations in Asia and the Middle East.
In geopolitics, natural calamities are not considered as tangible or clear-cut threats, because principally the states are obsessed over short-term and “assured” details of foreign and security policy malfunctions, aware of the fact that even the biggest mishap can be managed through forming new alliances or modifying their own policies in favor of the most powerful countries. Due to the start of untimely wars and then wrongly wrapping them into ideological cover reflects that both Middle East and Asia are at the verge of fragmentation and civil war. There will be numerous Syrias and Iraqs, just because the international system of relations is badly out of balance.
In the past, the US had a huge margin of error, as the matchless economic dominance made the US careless in exercising its global power. Now, it simply has to be very careful because the homeland security and stability is hugely breached by Mother Nature and therefore the chaos caused by “bad economy” is supplemented by anger over destruction of superstorm.
If the US and NATO considers that they have succeeded in dominating Asia and Middle East then they must rethink because having systematically achieved the strategic objective, especially building strong military hold in the South & Central Asia, the US and Europe has a very little margin of error. The tremendous economic resources on the basis of which the Western alliance intervened are crumbling, and thus the strategy of reasserting its sphere of influence might take decades or the great retreat of the US occurs before 2030.
To be concluded, in due course and after the results of the most expensive US elections in history (an estimated 10 billion dollars are being spent on both presidential campaigns), the principle of using maximum force in war on terror would become untenable as well as there will be numerous and heart breaking stories of storm victim, which are unanticipated and unexpected for the people of 21st century America. Since the primary goal will be to restore the infrastructural and financial damage in all the seventeen US states including New Jersey. At foreign front, the US/NATO’s role to intervene and terminate the international security threats in Afghanistan will more likely to yield anything, but, to postpone the solution of supervising peace & stability program. At the domestic front, the American people will not remain inaudible if the President Obama and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney decides insufficiently to the post-Super Storm financial needs and claims of the millions of people.
By Rana Athar Javed – The author is a Denmark-based National Security Expert and Defence Analyst.