[ExI] riots again

Charlie Stross charlie.stross at gmail.com
Sat Oct 6 16:45:54 UTC 2012

On 6 Oct 2012, at 17:26, Tomaz Kristan <protokol2020 at gmail.com> wrote:

> > the Taliban are not the Soviet Union.
> Of course not. And they are not China as well. We know that, what's your point?
> Oh, I see:  
> > They and their friends are only a threat to the west insofar as certain interest groups over here need an enemy to point the Two Minute Hate at. 
> They are not a real power at all? Just an imaginary foe?

Pretty much. They're poverty-stricken bumpkins from one of the poorest countries on the earth, with a total population about equal to the Netherlands. The entire Arab world is, again, pretty damn poor -- especially if you subtract the oil. They're not building ICBMs. If you want a threat, you should consider Pakistan -- which has been massively radicalized by persistent US support for anti-communist hardliners ever since General Zia's coup against Bhutto, and which *does* have nukes and IRBMs. But again, Pakistan has those nukes and IRBMs because of India; the west just wouldn't be much of a priority for them if it wasn't for the terror drones and the troops in their holy places (Arabia, notably -- same thing that got Osama bin Laden riled up in the 90s).

To put it in perspective, the current US military budget, of around $600Bn a year, exceeds the GDP of Afghanistan by a factor of 30; it's about the same size as the entire GDP of Iran, and exceeds the Iranian military budget by a factor of nearly 70.

They're paper tigers. The only way they *can* hurt us is via terrorism.

-- Charlie

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