‘Literal Colonialism’: Blackwater Founder Calls for ‘American Viceroy’ to Rule Afghanistan

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Written by Jake Johnson; Originally appeared at commondreams.org

Displaying what one commentator called “sheer 19th century bloodlust and thirst for empire,” Erik Prince, founder of the private mercenary firm Blackwater, argued in The Wall Street Journal this week that the United States should deploy an “East India Company approach” in Afghanistan.

'Literal Colonialism': Blackwater Founder Calls for 'American Viceroy' to Rule Afghanistan

Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in Afghanistan. (Photo: Melissa Golden/Redux)

The country, he wrote, should be run by “an American viceroy who would lead all U.S. government and coalition efforts—including command, budget, policy, promotion, and contracting—and report directly to the president.”

Prince continued:

In Afghanistan, the viceroy approach would reduce rampant fraud by focusing spending on initiatives that further the central strategy, rather than handing cash to every outstretched hand from a U.S. system bereft of institutional memory.

Prince insists that these are “cheaper private solutions,” but such privatization would also be a boon for military contractors.

As one critic noted, it is hardly surprising that a “war profiteer sees profit opportunity in war.” Blackwater, the private military company Prince founded in 1997—which now operates under the name Academi—made a fortune off the invasion of Iraq. In 2007, a New York Times editorial noted that Blackwater had “received more than $1 billion” in no-bid contracts from the Bush administration; that same year, Blackwater contractors shot and killed more than a dozen civilians in what came to be known as the Nisour Square massacre.

But “war profiteering” doesn’t quite capture the scope of Prince’s vision for Afghanistan. Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in a war that has spanned nearly 16 years and cost trillions of dollars.

Such a recommendation, combined with Prince’s invocation of the East India Company—a vestige of the British empire that “conquered, subjugated, and plundered vast tracts of south Asia for a century,” in the words of historian William Dalrymple—amounts to a call for “literal colonialism,” says Anil Kalhan, chair of the New York City Bar Association’s International Human Rights Committee.

Prince’s past connections to President Donald Trump indicate that his advice could potentially have some measure of influence on the White House.

As The Intercept‘s Jeremy Scahill, the author of a bestselling book on Blackwater, reported in January, Prince spoke with the Trump “team on matters related to intelligence and defense” and offered suggestions “on candidates for the Defense and State departments.”

In April, The Washington Post reported that Prince, presenting himself as “an unofficial envoy for Trump,” met in January with “a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow” and then-President-elect Trump. Prince also donated $250,000 to the Trump campaign following the 2016 Republican National Convention, according to the Post.

Prince’s op-ed comes as the Trump administration is reportedly considering sending more troops to Afghanistan as civilian deaths from the war have “reached record levels.”

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  • Barba_Papa

    Sickening though it is, I do think he’s got a point. The country is a failed state. Its US installed rulers are more busy with lining their own pockets then fighting and winning from the Taliban. There’s a good chance that the Taliban will overthrow the Kabul government and install its own again. None of the neighboring countries, Iran, Pakistan or India, could install a viable government of their own as the others would gang up against them. Only the US has the military cloud and power to cow all three into if not submission, at least grumbling form of acceptance. A Western installed viceroy as it were would at least be free of the rampant corruption that is crippling the country and Afghans seem to have respect for a power that can back up its word with an iron fist. Harsh but fair seems acceptable to them

    On the other hand, Americans are notoriously ignorant in all matters outside of their own country, especially the Middle East. American politicians seem endemically unable to understand the region and the mindset and I can’t think of a single US intervention in the region that has worked out for the better. In fact I can’t think of a single US intervention other then WWII or Korea that has worked out for the better for those involved. US politicians are probably still wondering what the hell they did right at the time and how to repeat it.

    As for private military contractors being involved, that’s just another form of corruption, as those guys are in it for the money, not good governance.

    • Tom kauser

      Its about growing , harvesting and transporting dope. This guy wants the fields fair and square forever ? (Three CIA agents on horseback with brief cases full of money and 15 years later genocide is the only answer?) Its simple ! Send your kids to die in a haggis war or watch them pump opiates on their skateboards!

      • Bob

        Immediately had similar thoughts. Recall the historical precedent, of the very same colonial Dutch East Indies Company’s privatization of production and profits from opiate exports. After all, it was long a core intra-Asian export of British empire – production and export of Indian produced opium into China – the British Navy was sent in when the Chinese Emperor tried to halt it. Assume these modern entrepreneurial Americans would try to be a little more discreet these days, but still, the US has built loads of small airstrips and other useful transport infrastructure that could be very helpful to their start-up!

    • Carol Davidek-Waller

      Afghanistan is a failed state because of western interference. That’s exactly what a Viceroy is. The Russians entered Afghanistan to support the government against the above mentioned. The US/EU are there to destroy the country and steal everything that isn’t nailed down.
      What makes you think the US, a nation that can’t even manage a free and fair election (by international standards) would be a good choice?

      • The Bandalar

        “The US/EU are there to … steal everything that isn’t nailed down.”

        Congratulations for writing what is undoubtedly the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen on Southfront comments so far. That is NOT an easy thing to do given that half the people here are crackpots, but you found a way.

  • Tom kauser

    Genocide (when the going gets tough massacre your way out )

  • Kristy Rain

    He’s got a point. These people are obviously incapable, as a whole, of governing their own nation without someone else building their infrastructure or telling them what to do.

    These invasions are failures because there was NO follow-through. The kind of follow-through that people today in the west, do not have the stomach for

    • Анрэс Суарэс

      You are loosing the big picture. When the invasion happened sure the most advanced layers of society repelled it, those capable of holding the country together. Someone rational will never acept a foreign rule, would you? Those capable of running their own country for sure stand as enemies of the empire, and as such the US has weakened and destroyed them, as the empire never intended to build a strong and capable Afghanistan, but only to poseess a stronghold for military operations and a fertile field for their drug bussiness.

      • Kristy Rain

        Nope. I’m not losing anything because I also agree with your point. This was not meant to be a ‘winnable’ war but a ‘sustainable’ one

    • Luigi

      Perhaps they just think that they don’t need an advanced organization and big infraestructures in order to live according to their own principles.

    • Robert Ferrin

      Governing their own nation or governing it the way we wish it to be done, and of course no invasions are better than failed invasions and Nam Iraq and a few others come to mind…

    • Bob

      Has it occurred to you that Afghans simply do not want someone else telling them what to do? They are tribal Muslims who live in a largely rural economy and that invariably means they are also very conservative Muslims who are strongly change resistant. Those are the facts on the ground – they are what they are – North American’s always presume that everyone else simply wishes to be reconstructed in the North American’s image, but they actually they don’t.

  • Miguel Redondo

    The great mistake of the americans is that they think , the american way is the only way. Afghanistan has been free and working of its own for centuries. They don´t need highways , internet and all that western stuff to make their live and their living. So leaving them alone would be the solution.
    What this guy wants is to control the heroin for making his own business , lets be very clear about it.

    • gustavo

      Exactly heroin is the main reason why they are there and non progress is allowed. Heroin is a business of ten’s of billions of dollars a year ! Who wants to leave it ?

  • JPH

    Perhaps Vietnam provides the lesson that without the US a country will recover over time. If anything Afghanistan and Iraq are still proving the opposite.

    That Viceroy idea comes from the extremely profitable period Blackwater enjoyed under that walking disaster called Paul Bremer who provided the fertile ground for Al Qaeda/ISIS through de-Baathication in 2003. The extreme liberalization implemented through Bremer’s orders was intended to facilitate robbing Iraq of its resources.

    • goingbrokes

      Iraq and Afghanistan prove the same! US is still there – therefore no progress.

  • hvaiallverden

    Yeah, the wankee have an “point” dont he, scums, wtf is this, this person is evil incarnated on this planet, one of the worst scums that I can imagine, slaughtering civilians, slaughtering lands, slaughtering everything that moves and in here you sick perverted scums drools something about giving this devil some credits.
    Are you kidding.
    Yeah, privatize wars, we are going backwards to medieval times.

    There is Nothing in this sick perverted scum resonemang that makes sense, and do you scums know why, because somehow you scums think Afgans cant run their own country, and I haven’t seen racism so crystal clear for an long time, expect when dealing with Fake Joooos aka European Khazars, whom have the same mentality witch is dominated by pseudo knowledge aka good old fashion social neo-Darwinianism, where this sick scumbag is in the leading role of making more profits from an loosing war, and to gard the puppy fields, thats their main source of income, we all know that, Heroin, thats what this sick scumbag is dealing in and you idiots are blind.
    This is like Palestine, where an decade of blockade, decade of depriving anything useful, and killing, stealing land from the Palestinians and yet, somehow everybody blames the Palestinians, even for the lack of medication to school books, all with the curtecy of the terror state Israel.
    But just that, is never mentioned, other than gloating and hate propaganda against Muslim “terrorists”.

    Everything is turned upside down, and that goes to Afghanistan to, an sable and good country until the wankees decided it had to have the resources and oil.
    And now, the wankees blames the Afghanistan for everything.
    I am telling you, this blame the victim is beyond sanity, and have nothing to do with reality.

    This man, should be dragged out an hanged in the nearest possible lamp post, period for been an sick mentally unstable creature, raving full blown psychopath, and you like psychos dont you, huh, wankees. This rotten scums are in fact heroes in the insane Wankeestan, people with the balls to wack children with state of the art weapon’s, yeah, like the “famous” SEALs, huh, how manly, but the wankees dont care, its Islamic terrorists anyway, age and gender, whom the f…. cares.
    Wankees have never cared.
    Never.

    Why am I not even shocked anymore, when the true colors and consensus is becoming obvious, the uISISa is terminally insane.

    peace

  • Carol Davidek-Waller

    More jobs for Blackwater enforcers (or it is it Xe: never good news when a company is so despised they have to change their name. Too much power in the hands of aberrant people is a dangerous thing.

  • Samuel Boas

    The West needs to pull the fuck out and let the Afghan army suffer like they deserve, low morale, pure imbeciles. Let the Taliban solve this. If they want to rule Afghanistan in a certain way then let them. It’s up to the people to decide and fight back. Afghanistan can’t be conquered by foreign forces. Too many countries have tried already.

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    No one writes about how they first did this to ethnic-Germans in the 1920’s!
    They was the first nation to fall victim to this Zionist conquest. Then Russia fell victim.
    Germany was the first to be occupied. We should reverse this and make all non-Germanic tribes leave those sacred ancestral home lands.