Washington's foreign occupations throughout the "War on Terror," particularly the one in Afghanistan, hold a sense of foreboding for the near future of the United States. This is because as the U.S. empire declines, it's bound to experience the "imperial boomerang" effect, where the events that an empire brings abroad tend to appear within the empire's own borders amid the decline of its broader influence.
What do the events of the War on Terror say about what's going to occur within U.S. borders? They say that at some point, the U.S. military will be faced with a domestic population that's become unruly to the point of being ungovernable, and that even the most powerful armed force on the planet may fail to subdue this revolt due to the empire's hubris.
For the last two decades, as the U.S. has been militarily imposing itself upon Afghanistan, its presence has produced staggering levels of corruption. As The Washington Post reported about the infamous revelations from 2019's Afghanistan papers: "Dark money sloshed all around. Afghanistan's largest bank liquefied into a cesspool of fraud. Travelers lugged suitcases loaded with $1 million, or more, on flights leaving Kabul. Mansions known as 'poppy palaces' rose from the rubble to house opium kingpins. President Hamid Karzai won reelection after cronies stuffed thousands of ballot boxes. He later admitted the CIA had delivered bags of cash to his office for years, calling it 'nothing unusual.'"
Indeed, it was nothing unusual; attempting to bribe Afghanistan officials had been central to Washington's strategy since the start of the war. Due to this strategy not being reliable (many of those the CIA thought it could sway through cash weren't simply going to sacrifice the interests of their country for the profits of an unashamedly corrupt invader), the U.S. empire doubled down on the bribes and consistently looked the other way on corruption with the desperate hope that this would fortify Washington's grip over the area. But all this did was enable the Taliban to successfully resist Washington's occupation for two decades in spite of being militarily inferior; it's been the support from Afghanistan locals that's given the Taliban so much ground. And the Taliban has been able to persuade these locals by pointing to the vast corruption that U.S. imperialism has brought to their country, in addition to the tens of thousands of civilian deaths that Washington's war has brought upon the Afghani people.
Now, with Biden wishy-washily promising a pullout from Afghanistan prior to this year's 9/11 anniversary, Washington is feeling the heat from a Taliban that's remained strong due to Washington's imperial hubris, and that has the potential to do further damage should Biden not keep his promise. This week, the Taliban warned that if the U.S. doesn't pull out, Washington's troops will be treated as "occupying forces," and that "If [NATO] leave behind their forces against the Doha agreement then in that case it will be the decision of our leadership how we proceed. We would react and the final decision is with our leadership."
This is a clarification that the Taliban is prepared to continue fighting a protracted war against U.S. imperial control over the country, which the Taliban surely knows is no doubt going to have to continue after 9/11 of 2021. Biden has made it clear that he'll not only continue carrying out drone strikes within Afghanistan, but have private mercenaries, special forces, and intelligence operatives remain in the country. The war isn't ending there anytime soon, despite the optics of Biden and his public relations-savvy neoconservative team. The anti-imperialist forces won't win this next stage in the war right away, but the continuation of the empire's poisonous forces within the area will galvanize more support for the resistance to Washington. It looks like on this year's 9/11 as well as the one from twenty years ago, the U.S. empire will be confronted with another major step in its own decline.
Across the other battlefields where the victims of Washington-backed regimes are waging resistance, there are parallel patterns of the oppressor states hubristically provoking their targeted populations into rebelling, prompting the oppressors into reactive decisions which expand mass support for the anti-imperialist movements. In a desperate attempt at destroying Palestinian support for the armed anti-Zionist resistance effort, Israel has been bombing prominent Palestinian buildings, hoping that Israel's claims about these buildings holding Hamas assets will cause the Palestinian masses to lose faith in Hamas. But this has had the exact opposite effect, strengthening the will of the Palestinians towards defending themselves from Israel and forcing an end to the occupation.
In Yemen, the anti-imperialist Houthis represent a parallel to the Taliban and Hamas, one whose tactics for resisting the U.S.-enabled genocidal Saudi siege must be learned from by those who seek to liberate the American continent from colonial occupation. Should a revolution start in the U.S., the revolutionaries will be met with an extremely intrusive surveillance state, which will prompt us to do what the Houthis have done. As the Jamestown Foundation's Michael Horton wrote a year ago about the sophisticated approaches towards intelligence that Saudi Arabia's spy-intensive warfare efforts have forced the Houthis to adopt:
In response to what, at times, has been persistent aerial surveillance, the Houthis make extensive use of highly mobile small combat units. These units are critical to the Houthis' ability to defend territory, harass enemy forces, and plan and launch offensives. The combat units most often consist of no more than 20 men"--"-roughly equivalent to a squad or specialized platoon"--"-who rely on two or three light trucks and/or technicals. These trucks and/or technicals are easy to disguise and traverse Yemen's worst roads and tracks. Even smaller groups of men"--"-equivalent to a fire team"--"-are tasked with harassing enemy forces and collecting intelligence. The smaller teams may operate for weeks with all but minimal resupply. Most importantly, many of these units are not dependent on ranking commanders for daily or even weekly orders. The fire teams, or forward operating squads, are given a broad remit that remains in place until cancelled or amended. The Houthis are well aware that all electronic communications are monitored and consequently keep them to a minimum or use alternative means.
Another parallel resistance effort is Colombia's Segunda Marquetalia, an offshoot of the old guerrilla organization the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Segunda Marquetalia's founders formed the group two years ago in response to the neo-colonial government's refusal to abide by the terms of the peace deal that it reached with the FARC in 2016. Its actions are also in response to the economically destructive privatization, poaching, and resource exploitation that the government has carried out in the areas it's taken from the FARC, which have all worked to displace millions of peasants and otherwise hurt the wellbeing of the masses.
Because of this audacity of the government, and because Segunda Marquetalia has structured itself in a way which lets it represent not just the peasants but all the oppressed classes, this new guerrilla resistance group has managed to become primarily made up of recent recruits. It's no doubt going to keep growing as class struggle proliferates throughout broader Colombian society.
As conditions in the core of the empire worsen, it's becoming inevitable that an equivalent armed anti-colonial proletarian resistance will emerge within U.S. borders. This year, sociologist Temitope Oriola predicted this, concluding that the guerrilla insurgency will be led by the colonized communities who are experiencing an increasingly deadly military occupation by ever-more militarized and Israeli-trained U.S. police. The masses here are going to respond proportionately to the domestic version of the empire's provocations abroad.
After studying these anti-imperialist insurgencies, the way Oriola phrased this domestic insurgency's anticipated initial stages struck me as uncannily familiar: "To begin, the armed insurgencies would not have a defined organizational structure. They may look like Mexico's Zapatista movement or the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta in Nigeria. Entities operating independently will spring up, but over time, a loose coalition may form to take credit for actions of organizationally disparate groups for maximum effect. There will likely be no single leader to neutralize at the onset. Like U.S. global counter-terrorism efforts, neutralizing leaders will only worsen matters."
When colonial and class contradictions come to a head in the core of global imperialism, their ramifications will follow the cycle that's been established by the empire's recent global wars for maintaining control: the occupier provokes the masses into resistance, the occupier reacts with greater force and tact, the masses respond by supporting the resistance more while the resistance forces adopt greater tact themselves, and the occupation draws closer to defeat.