Sometimes I have this dream. A terrible dream. A dream about a war. It begins like any other war, with a big country attacking a weaker one. An empire chases an army of starving ghosts into a deep dark mountainous hole of caverns and catacombs. Victory for the empire seems all but assured. The bombs drop and poor people die as rich people cheer and shake hands over cigars and brandy. But then something strange happens. Something strangely wonderful. The war doesn’t end, and the empire begins to lose. They throw more and more resources into this bottomless black hole; men, women, bombs, money; but it all just disappears into the darkness. Soon other nations are joining in on the war effort with their own men, women, bombs, and money.
But nothing changes. If anything, that hole just grows deeper. Soon every powerful state in the world has been sucked into this vacuum and no one can remember why or how to get out. The citizens of these nations, every nation, begin to become painfully aware, not just of the utter madness of this war, but the madness of every war and the madness of every state that must fight them to retain the legitimacy of their stranglehold over their own people. Revolution breaks out across the globe and the empire becomes unmoored and simply evaporates down the deep dark abyss in the mountains that they never should have stepped foot in. I have this wonderful terrible dream a lot lately. Sometimes I wake up screaming. Other times, I wake up cheering.
I wake up to 2021. I wake up to Joe Biden inching ever closer to undoing the only positive accomplishment of the failed Trump regime; a last minute attempt to pull every last American soldier from our deep dark hole in Afghanistan. Almost twenty years into this mess and the elites in both the mainstream press and the military industrial complex seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that they are following in Gorbachev and Alexander the Great’s footsteps to another imperial suicide in the Hindu Kush. Suicide by Taliban. As the May 1rst deadline for the Trump peace deal rapidly approaches, all the momentum seems to be moving towards doom, and not just for the American Empire. Our first world flunkies from Germany to France to NATO are all already pledging their support for mass suicide. They seem utterly convinced that they are just one drone strike away from taming the Pashtun beast and curing its wilderness with the decadent elixir of liberal democracy. They are all so fucked. Then why am I not happy.
Many an anti-imperialist curmudgeon, from Bakunin to Lenin, has cheered on imperial suicide by total war as a strategy to achieve a global revolutionary outcome. Che Guevara famously attempted to lure the US into an unwinnable war in the dark Bolivian heart of Latin America with the intention of creating two, three, many Vietnams to crush her. As a resolute collapsitarian panarchist, I share very similar Quixotic dreams. I believe with all my bleeding heart that the fate illustrated in my dreams above is a dark inevitability with a silver lining.
Every empire collapses. Conquest is simply unsustainable. And when an empire collapses we are presented with a great vacuum that can be filled with any dream big enough and tenacious enough to fill it. The great American suicide will create the greatest vacuum the world has ever seen, like the fall of ten Romes, and I intend to do everything within my feeble powers as an online provocateur to fill that vacuum with my dream of a thousand stateless societies stretching as far as the eye can see. A revolution of synergistic diversity that leaves everyone with a stateless dream within their reach and the opportunity to achieve it peacefully. It is a vision I look to with inspiration like the rising sun, but still, I cannot bring myself to cheer on the Afghan nightmare, even if it is inevitable.
It is the privilege of western revolutionaries to view the world at a safe distance. This isn’t a privilege the peasantry of the darker nations share and this is why I reject internationalism even in the defense of my dreams of a vast localist revolution. The biggest mistake any revolutionary can ever make is falling for the twisted fable that the ends justify the means when, in the harsh light of reality, the means create their own ends. War is evil and stupid and it must always be opposed unless it is fought purely in self-defense. The only people left who have a right to fight a war in Afghanistan are the Taliban, and that is an end created by interventionist means. It is an end created by the fact that this whole damn war could have been avoided if people had only minded their own goddamn business.
If Kabul’s young communist government had only left their reforms to the people who welcomed them in the cities, they wouldn’t have created the grounds for ancient traditionalist tribes to fight their revolution. If the US had just left this squabble between rival peasant societies be, they wouldn’t have turned a small tribal resistance into an international conspiracy of Wahhabist mercenaries known as the Mujahedeen. If the Soviets had just focused on not subjugating the Muslims within their own borders, they wouldn’t have been sucked into an American trap to drain them of their already dwindling resources. If the US hadn’t created this diabolical trap in the first place, we would have never unleashed the demons of Islamic jihadism on the world. No Osama, no Taliban, no Al-Qaeda, no 9/11, no ISIS, no mountains upon mountains of broken brown bodies. All of this mayhem and cruelty could have been avoided if we had all simply had the moral fortitude to mind our own goddamn business. And this is what peace is really all about, doing moral arithmetic to avoid a future of carnage.
I have to follow the math and devote myself to advocating for an end to America’s war in the bottomless black hole of empires because what I know about history has taught me what comes of those who put the means first. I will not see my revolution crippled and gut-shot by cowards in the Bolivian bush. But Mr. Biden and his friends in Europe should be forewarned, if they do indeed go ahead with their imperial suicide by Taliban, the wild eyed anarchists who creep along the weed lines of their carefully manicured lawns will be waiting, and my non-interventionist ass may very well be among them. Choose your next move wisely.
Pleasant dreams, dearest motherfuckers.