I am not trying to imply that nothing positive has been achieved in Afghanistan. Many schools have been opened. Girls are free to go to school and more than a million do. Kabul University has been partially rebuilt and is back in business. Some roads and bridges have been built and others repaired. Some of what has been done will continue and some may not be sustainable. However, what I believe must be said, is that both the international community and the Afghan government have failed to lift Afghanistan out of its pre-2001 broken condition.
Politically, we may have a vague idea of what exactly will happen in Afghanistan after 2014. Economically, however, we can quite accurately predict that Afghanistan will return to its former life of poverty.
Even the riches that supposedly rained on Afghanistan between 2002 and 2013 didn't ease its agony. Most of the money never reached it. According to estimates, out of each dollar assigned earmarked for that country, only 14 cents reached it. Yet, it was still a lot of money for a country with a yearly per capita income of less than $300.00. And the money that actually made its way to Afghanistan was either stolen outright or spent on projects that were badly conceived, shoddily constructed, or never got off the ground. And only relatives of the political elite or people otherwise close to it got most of the contracts.
That wouldn't be the worst of all scenarios if the newly rich had invested their money in their country. But they didn't. They preferred to park their money in foreign banks or buy real estate in foreign countries.
In short, after a massive inflow of funds, the Afghan government, backed by the international community, has neither built a functioning economy nor created a self-sufficient financial foundation to pay the country's bills.
However, whatever might happen to Afghanistan's economy after 2014, it will be inconsequential to 95% of Afghanistan's population. Nothing will change in their lives. They were either low-paid salaried employees of the government or eked out a subsistence living by farming their tiny plots of land before the United States invaded their country. They will continue to be inefficient and low-paid government employees or go on working their land after the U.S.-led international community leaves Afghanistan.
This vast majority of Afghans was utterly neglected by both the Afghan authorities and the donor community. It was as if this mainly illiterate and poverty-stricken people didn't exist. They were considered, it seems, to be a faceless mass with no needs, no wants, and no hopes. Nobody seriously bothered to devise a sensible and practicable plan to help them better their lives.
Here are a few examples of Afghanistan's economic strength and where help should have been concentrated upon: The country's cotton yield, once a valuable commodity for foreign and internal markets, has declined to a mere 15% of its former harvest. Fruits have always been a mainstay of Afghanistan's agricultural production. Planeloads of fresh fruits were flown abroad. The production and exportation of dried fruits was another profitable item and provided reliable jobs for large numbers of people.
To revive these sectors, the growers and producers needed help with accessing improved seeds and saplings to upgrade their products and rebuild their decimated tree stocks. They needed refrigerated storage centers to prolong the shelf life of their merchandise so that they could sell it gradually at stable prices, avoiding having to rush to the market and dumping their wares at any price to prevent it from rotting before their eyes.
Another way to help the peasants would have been to teach them how to clean, sort, and pack their products professionally, enabling them to sell their goods in richer markets in order to secure higher profits. Instead, Afghan authorities and foreign experts installed generators in some villages. Most of the affected villagers did not know how to operate and service the machines. Moreover, they lacked the money to buy the diesel to run them.
Helping this large segment of Afghan society would have not been expensive. In the virtually cashless and unimaginably impoverished Afghan countryside, the dollar goes far and much could have been done with less if people with some imagination and goodwill had gone about the task.
Neither has much progress taken place in other sectors of the economy. For example, Afghanistan once had a vibrant textile industry, employing thousands of workers. Today, there is no textile manufacturing to speak of. While billions of tons of limestone await processing, cement factories remain closed or operate marginally and 95% of the country's need for cement is imported.
Most of the country has no electricity. The large power plant that USAID built outside Kabul at a cost of more than $200 million is shut down. Its diesel-operated generators are extremely expensive to run and the Afghan government can't pay for it.
At the moment, the city of Kabul purchases most of its electricity from Tajikistan and the international community pays for it. Who will cover the cost post-2014 is not clear. What is clear is that the Afghan administration lacks the fund to pay the bill.
In describing this utterly negative situation, I am not trying to imply that nothing positive has been achieved in Afghanistan. Many schools have been opened. Girls are free to go to school and more than a million do. Kabul University has been partially rebuilt and is back in business. Some roads and bridges have been built and others repaired. Some of what has been done will continue and some may not be sustainable.
However, what I believe must be said, is that both the international community and the Afghan government have failed to lift Afghanistan out of its pre-2001 broken condition. When the rich flow of money becomes a trickle or stops altogether, the warlords will resume their previous fight for resources and the protection of their fiefdoms.
Afghanistan is today and will remain after 2014 a failed state with all the perils that that entails both for the U.S. and the international community.
Nasir Shansab Washington DC
Nasir Shansab is a former leading Afghan industrialist, the son of Afghanistan's once Minister of Agriculture, and the author of "Silent Trees: A Novel of Afghanistan. Living near Washington DC, Nasir has most recently appeared on "Taking Stock with Pimm Fox" (Bloomberg TV), Global Television Canada, Voice of Russia Radio, "America's Radio News" (TRN), "America Tonight" with Kate Delaney, The Rich Zeoli Show on WPHT Philadelphia, KXL Portland, in 'The Hill', and in or on several other outlets.
The crisis in Egypt is the culmination of that country's post-World War II development. In Egypt, as in many other countries, post-World War II development was a truncated process of modernization. Egyptian leaders brought about only economic and administrative changes, expunging from the procedure such vital components as the democratization of the political system and institutionalization of an independent judiciary.
Washington's support for the ruling elites in most Islamic countries, regardless of how they treat their people, fuels Islamist terrorism and is partly the cause of it. Due to extraordinary changes, average Moslems understood for the first time the extent of their backwardness and dependence on advanced nations. The psychological impact was dramatic and devastating. Convinced that they were God's chosen people, most Moslems lived with a notion that the rest of humanity was inferior to them. When they realized the misery their corrupt governments had brought upon them, anger overcame them and they determined to free themselves from their hated rulers. They gradually included the U.S. in their hatred as they perceived America in league with their reviled leaders.
Everyone is so concerned to be politically correct and so worried about being perceived racist, that they fail to see that in fact the true racists with the truly incorrect political agenda are the ones pointing the finger and doing the name calling. (In psychology it would be called reaction formation; the suppression of one impulse by the promotion of a counter impulse.)
Having met up with my pen friend we went ‘somewhere’ and there was this big open paved garden type area and there were platforms going nowhere which you ascended by climbing stairs. Through the middle of the paved courtyard-garden ran a little pond. I was fully aware of its existence but so focused was I on taking a good photo that I was walking while looking through the viewfinder of the camera. I fell straight into the pond.
Palestinian leaders preach nonstop hatred of Jews and continually incite murderous violence against them. Palestinian schools teach children of every age that suicide martyrdom must be their highest goal. These attitudes are deeply ingrained in their culture, and getting their own state won’t change them. In fact, any Palestinian state would almost certainly be taken over by Hamas, whose charter explicitly calls for the death of all Jews everywhere.
The government of Israel has evacuated Amona – Does the Left or the world like us any better? Do they respect us more? Isn’t it better to apply the law in Judea and Samaria, to absorb exactly the same condemnations that we get in any case, but to do it to rescue the Land of Israel and Amona as part of it?
Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who reportedly had been a candidate for deputy secretary of state, published a poignant article in The Wall Street Journal last month in which he dubbed the two-state solution a deadend vision. Bolton claims that such an imaginary state with zero economic viability will harm not only Israel, but also the Palestinians themselves.
Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.' Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah. Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]