The Failure Of The West


THE WEST HAS FAILED. It is unlikely that we shall ever again see North American, European and/or Australasian ground troops deployed “overseas”. Naval and air forces, yes, but not “boots on the ground”. The Western powers no longer possess the ruthless conviction necessary to impose their will on weaker nations face-to-face. From 15 kilometres offshore, or 30,000 feet above the target, the West may still make its mark. (Although, with cruise missiles and drones, distances hardly matter anymore.) But the brutal confidence that once allowed illiterate British Redcoats to make a gift of the world to their lords and masters. For better or for worse, those days are gone.

There is always an enthusiastic audience for tales of imperial ruin. The Western Left will have watched the helicopters circling the American Embassy in Kabul with the same grim satisfaction as it watched the Hueys taking-off from the US Embassy roof in Saigon forty-six years ago. Such is the fate of all empires, the wise old intellectuals will opine. The only lesson of history is that men never learn the lessons of history.

Before the Western Left breaks out the Champagne, however, it should pause for a few moments to consider what it has just witnessed in Afghanistan. For Afghan women, the withdrawal of United States and Nato ground forces represents an historic betrayal and abandonment. For 20 years, the emancipation of the women and girls of Afghanistan was held up to the world as the single greatest achievement of Western intervention. Like Saddam Hussein’s “human shields”, they were paraded before the world. “Look!” cried the Americans and the Europeans, the Australians and the New Zealanders. “This is why we are here. This is why we cannot leave.”

Billions of dollars were spent to lift Afghan women from sexual abjection to full personhood and independence. “Girls can do anything!” The hip slogan of western societies which had long ago enfranchised and liberated the female half of their populations, became in Afghanistan a revolutionary rallying cry against the brutal “medieval theocracy” (hat-tip to Helen Clark) that first the Soviets, and then the West, expended so much blood and treasure attempting to supplant.

And it worked. Women and girls were uplifted. They thrived in the classrooms, filled the lecture theatres, took charge in shops, offices and factories. Like proud parents, the Western Occupiers looked on. Here, they told themselves, was the proof of the West’s moral superiority. Here was the vindication of neoliberal modernity.

Almost – but not quite. Because if the West had truly been committed to sexual equality; if it had truly wanted a democratic and modern Afghanistan to emerge from the theocratic brutality of the Taliban; then it would have driven through the one truly revolutionary reform that might have made that possible: it would have inducted women into the Afghan Army.

Why is the Taliban in Kabul? The answer is brutally simple: because the men of the Afghan Army were given nothing to fight for. The president of their country was a corrupt crook and coward. The ministers and provincial governors of the Afghan regime took their lead from the President. The Army commanders stole their troops wages and sold their rations in the marketplace. For what, then, were the men of the Afghan Army being asked to lay down their lives? Democracy? There was none. Freedom? They had none. A better life? After 20 years – where was it? Who was to say their lives would not be better under the Taliban?

Only Afghanistan’s women had something to fight for – something to die for – and nobody from the armies of the West, let alone their own fathers, brothers and husbands, were willing to give them something to fight with – and teach them how to use it.

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Had the West still possessed a skerrick of imperial statecraft, it would have recognised and armed the nation state of Kurdistan, and encouraged it to send its best female troops to teach the Afghan women how to fight. That it did none of these things proves that the billions it spent “liberating” the women of Afghanistan were drawn exclusively from the Public Relations Budget. Having decided it was time to leave Afghanistan, Donald Trump and Joe Biden simply turned their backs on the women and girls of that blood-stained country – and withdrew. The Taliban would look after them.

For more than two thousand years, the people of the West (among others) have built empires. Mysteriously, the more removed in time they became from the imperial powers of the past: Greece, Rome, Spain, France, Britain; the less adroit they became at holding on to their conquests.

The key objective of empire is not to occupy territory, but to prevent your enemies from occupying it. In other words, to make sure that, having conquered a people, you make it worth their while to stand with you, not against you. Peace, security and prosperity is what a clever imperial power offers: overseen and administered as far as possible by the locals themselves. (Or, at least, the local elites.) The British and the French got to be quite good at this. The Americans never got the hang of it.

Having been out-waited and out-fought in Afghanistan, the United States will now have to endure watching the Chinese play the role of the Afghan people’s new best friend. Aid will pour in from Beijing, infrastructure projects will proliferate, peace, security and prosperity will cement the new friendship in place. More to the point, not a single Chinese combat-boot will disturb the Afghan dust.

And the Uighurs languishing in concentration camps across the border in Xinjiang Province? Why, the Taliban will expend about as much energy on their behalf, as the Western Left will expend on helping the women and girls of Afghanistan.

Because it’s not just the statesmen, diplomats and generals of the West who have failed to live up to the achievements of their forebears; the aspirations and ideals of its revolutionaries have similarly dwindled. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels ended The Communist Manifesto with the ringing declaration: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” What would the Western Left cry today? “Persons of every identity (except White, Cis-Males) make full use of intersectional opportunities whenever practicable. Break free from all imposed moralities, but do not attempt to impose your personal notions of right and wrong on the rest of the world.”

Especially not in Afghanistan.



  1. …’Having been out-waited and out-fought in Afghanistan, the United States will now have to endure watching the Chinese play the role of the Afghan people’s new best friend. Aid will pour in from Beijing, infrastructure projects will proliferate, peace, security and prosperity will cement the new friendship in place. More to the point, not a single Chinese combat-boot will disturb the Afghan dust’…


    That’s it , – That’s right! As soon as there is a financial , economic, military , power vacuum, this is what follows. Twenty odd years and three trillion dollars later, this is what the predictable outcome has been: a full circle going right back to where it started,… and why? … because the Afghanis didn’t want us there in the first place. Nor the Russians. If three trillion dollars had been given to develop that nation peaceably,…perhaps they would have been more circumspect.

    And now we will have the CCP Belt and Road policy’s being lapped up instead.

    So absolutely, amazingly predictable even a 12 year old could have seen the final outcome. What a horrible waste of life, human energy and the opportunity to develop peaceful coexistence as we could have,… walked forwards together into the new century.

    But no.

    The violent short sighted ones had their way. Again. As did the military ‘industrial complex’ in making bucks for blood.

  2. Largely agree although arming the women wouldn’t have worked in a culture that would simply reject it.
    And yes, China.
    Take a long look preachy anti American lefty sinophiles, at how China supports those who mistreat and subjugate their women and maim murder and brutalize the population.

    And how Joe Biden (on holiday) hastened the American withdrawal further enabling the speed of this debacle.
    There is nothing to cheer about in any of this.

  3. America and its allies went into Afghanistan in the first place, not from any humanitarian impulse; it was not to liberate Afghan women from the unspeakable brutalities of Islamist rule, however desirable that was; it was not to bring democracy and human rights to a primitive society. It was instead to defend America and the west from the significant threat that Afghanistan still posed.

    The Taliban, in their way, will busy themselves oppressing, torturing and murdering their women and gays, to say nothing of the fate that awaits anyone associated with the former occupiers or government. Of more direct international concern; Afghanistan will surely become, once again, jihad-central; the Taliban have already released thousands of terrorists from Afghan prisons. Afghanistan will become a magnet and an inspiration for jihadis from all over the world.

    In the unholy armoury of the enemies of the west, their single most important weapon is their understanding that the west is no longer willing to do what it needs to do to defend itself. It is no longer willing to be in it for the long haul. It no longer has the stomach for a fight.

    In baleful contrast, jihadis take the longest possible view. They have been waging holy war against the enemies of Islam — as they view them — since the seventh century; and for them this holy war won’t end until the whole world is under Islamic rule or the world itself ends, whichever comes first.
    Credit, in part, to Melanie Philips

    • Pretty much yeah,… so why did ‘we’ go there? To prove a point?… surely it would have been better to be more reconciliative…to bide some time instead of a knee jerk reaction… but there were other interests at play,… oil.

      And a highway to Russia.

      And again the USA has another Vietnam to live down. And that’s what it is. In 200 years that will be what it is seen to be. A bullying superpower trying to make an absolutely different culture conform to its ideal. And a failed effort at that costing many lives and trillions of dollars all for the sake of securing its own resources. The ghosts of Rome could hardly agree more.

  4. I really doubt allowing Afghan women into the army would have changed the outcome at all.

    And anyhow if the women had had the will to fight they would have just picked up a gun and gone for it.

    Since when did prospective revolutionaries ask permission to revolt?

  5. Can the Taliban change? They say they have changed, that they are Taliban 2.0. They may even have seen, in their midst, the advantages of having women out there in the world. In the light of events, all that is left is hope and faith in the women themselves to carry on demanding changes.

    Your final paragraph, comparing Marx’s ‘ringing declaration’ with some made up namby pamby rubbish that no-one I know ever says (but seems to indicate that the only revolution can be that of class) (and frankly we are rather a long way from a Marxist revolution in Aotearoa today) is annoying, Chris – where do you get that bitterness from, that every movement apart from class struggle must be reviled?

    • Because along with better conditions and a new found equity and wealth comes ( hopefully) a new found education and enlightenment. History is replete with such episodes,… just look at the Black Death and the fall out from that as a moribund example; the peasantry were released from the shackles of serfdom and demanded more pay ! Unheard of ! And from that arose a newly educated and powerful political middle class, the like of which had not been seen since antiquity . And from there came much of the modern political and legal processes and representation we enjoy today ( supposedly).

      Of course that doesn’t mention the English civil war, those who lost their lives because of it nor the thousands who died along the way as a direct result,…when class distinction is held up, for those on the bottom rungs especially, so also is- and hopefully, – all peoples rights in a fair society and eventually, it should mean ALL people, both men and women. It is the cornerstone of any civil society. All these other peripheral issues such as identity politics often seem to conflict with , and detract from, some of the very core issues of a modern egalitarian society in my view.

    • Namby pamby rubbish ? Whaaaaat ? Looks like you’re playing the person here Liz, and you risk sounding like just another whinging Pom who hasn’t done too badly out of a country in which many of our forebears worked harder than you may ever know, and it would behove you not to judge us relative to your own subjective opinions. Chill out.

    • Technically they have changed, mainly due to the fact that the US assassinated most of the senior leaders with drone strikes etc. Maybe the new ones have learnt from that experience.

  6. ‘It was instead to defend America and the west from the significant threat that Afghanistan still posed.’

    That is the sort of fantasy the western military like to promulgate, and is a complete joke.

    The reason the Americans and their lapdogs invaded Afghanistan was to make it safe for American corporations to extract minerals and at the time to force the people of Afghanistan to accept the construction of an American-owned and operated oil pipeline across the country.

    Also, the CIA were very concerned that the Taliban were ruining the poppy-growing business and causing a shortage of both drugs in the west and lack of opportunity for money-laundering by the CIA.

    The truth is usually the opposite of what any government will tell you.

    • I don’t know anything about American mining operations in Afghanistan (and couldn’t find anything) but there is no question that Af. was a safe harbour for Al Qaeda. Their destruction, and more latterly that of ISIS, was the allied force’s prima facia mission.
      The whole thing was ill considered from the get go, winning the hearts and minds of the people was laudable but unrealistic – although the women, as Chris points out, certainly had much to gain from their liberation. A better, though difficult option would have been strategic, targeted drone and missile attacks on Al Qaeda facilities, training camps and arms stores together with comprehensive interception of communications and supplies.
      The obvious humiliation of the American forces only adds to a widespread impression that they have become ineffective, effete and more concerned with using the right gender pronouns than knowing how (and when) to fight and win. China has, effectively, established control of our nearest neighbour. Will we and our allies side with the Tongan people when push comes to shove. Will the Chinese give a rats if we do?

      “For the abandoned Afghan people, the consequences are likely to be hideous. But the malignant effects of this disaster are already rippling way beyond this epicentre of terror.

      America’s allies can now see that the US is a faithless friend, the weak link in the chain of western defences and with untold consequences for their own security.

      With America on its knees, other enemies of the west — Iran, China Russia — must be rubbing their hands in glee over the opportunities for evil now opening up for them as a result.

      Indeed, Shia Iran has reportedly already ramped up its tactical alliance with the Sunni Taliban — in other circumstances its mortal theological foe — to such an extent that in some quarters the Taliban’s military strength is being ascribed to Iranian influence.” M.P.

  7. Key phases of successful Foreign Policy (according to “Yes Minister”)

    1) Sir Richard Wharton: “In stage one, we say nothing is going to happen.”
    2) Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.”
    3) Sir Richard Wharton: “In stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing we can do.”
    4) Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now.”

  8. The Afghan administration and army probably fled because they knew what a house of cards mirage they were part of. Who thought that clubbing democracy and Western ideals into a people was a good idea? And invading and occupying a country somehow empowers women? Feminism at the end of a gun barrel?
    I saw a report on the mainstream media (hardly Afghan centric) with Taliban leaders saying they will uphold the safety and property of Afghan people during the transition. If this is true then the American forces have not only wasted untold lives and trillions of dollars in a failed occupation and illusionary transformation of the country, they have abandoned the country in an instant after endlessly droning on about peace, stability, freedom, human rights, blah, blah, blah, AND they were fighting a people who were willing to listen, protect and grow their people in the first place. When America says “America first”, they mean it.

    • Yep you sure are right here. And yeah, you can point this out again
      ‘who thought that clubbing democracy and Western ideal into a people was a good idea? And invading and occupying a country somehow empowers women? Feminism at the end of a gun barrel? ”
      I def do not buy into the idea the reason for this twenty years plus war and invasion was to uplift Afghan women.

  9. The west is falling because of their obsession with neoliberalism. They have failed to look after their own citizens, thrown their industries under the bus or allowed them to become corrupt, and become frustrated with their own citizens, who they now are convinced are too expensive to pay, even though they are the ones that support the government through work, innovation and loyalty and keeping that country ahead technologically, socially and economically.

    As soon as neoliberalism merged into globalism there was a big problem. Money was borderless, and the huge amount of money from other countries in Africa, USSR the Middle East and Asia were able to be bought to the west to buy up assets and buy favour with western governments and businesses. The problem is, that much of the money is attached to attitudes with zero moral values, and semi-legally obtained. You have people buying citizenship as though it was lollies. People who do not agree are murdered and politicians are considered too corrupt in the West now.

    At the same time western businesses cut costs with elaborate ways to outsource, and this gave countries who were not democracies, huge amounts of power and revenue so they could go back to the west and start buying up the western companies, land and assets and putting their nationals into universities to gain access to Western technology innovations. They used state sponsored cyber criminals to disrupt western businesses.

    Non democratic countries and individuals could then buy Western politicians easily, influence and ultimately gain significant control of western organisations and strategic assets and power bases like WHO. The results are widespread disfunction, Afghanistan going back to Taliban rule, Covid and inability to even work out where it all went wrong.

    If the west wants to keep democracy and freedom of speech then they have to value it, and their own citizens moral values, work and loyalty. Who is going to fight for their country under the current circumstances?

    The ability to essentially to overtake the west has come about by the distraction and obsession with crazy impractical legislation. The West are in civil wars with each other other what somebody says or thinks, and spending their last dollars and going into debt on unisex signs and marketing, giving mobsters/criminals government money, rather than real businesses, paying real taxes, which their nationals no longer even own anymore.

  10. The ‘left’ are not all supine suckers, full of faux rage, or virtue signaling about the fate of women. Some Lefties keep up the class struggle by recognising that capitalism is dying, facing its terminal crisis, and destroying nature in its death throes, unless overthrown by revolutionaries.

    Afghanistan is not about the failure of the West, it’s about the failure of capitalism to live up to all of its false claims to bomb the world for ‘peace and democracy’. Its about the War on Terror as US imperialism’s desperate attempt to survive when it was clear that the fall of the Soviet world would not save it from decline and fall.

    As for Aotearoa’s sad obsequious role in the War on Terror, there have always been revolutionaries here that condemned the US as the no 1 world terrorist and NZ as its deputy dog, and that the international proletariat is capable of rising to its historic task of the ‘gravediggers’ of capitalism.

  11. A new generation that hates the West even more! (and with valid reasons).

    West be better. Start listening to people and stop listening to business people making a killing from more people’s misery and marketing propaganda.

    The way the west is going with all the woke and far right libertarians in charge, the sooner democracy in the west also falls, and with the pen being signed by the west themselves in their stupidity and quest for a $.

    Time to regroup west and unite for democracy. Form alliances and get moral, sane, people in charge of the country if the is even possible these days.

  12. The only problem Chris is that this was the left’s war. Labour’s war. Helen Clark’s war. The latest and hopefully the last foreign war of the colonial regime as you impute it may be.
    Decisively, indisputably and rightfully lost.
    But you and the regime are in denial.
    Helen Clark is in denial. She talks as though the war could have been continued for a further twenty years. She clearly has no thought for the hundreds of thousands of Afghan lives lost to her catastrophic ideologically driven war, but is willing to countenance the same toll being extracted from the same people in perpetuity for the sake of her chimera of feminist imperialism.
    “Feminist imperialism”?
    There is a story that Helen Clark dies and is ushered down to the depths of hell where she meets the devil and immediately puts him on notice that he has an insufficient number of women in his top echelons of demons.
    This is what Helen Clark’s brand of feminism is all about.
    Your suggestion that arming Afghan women would have produced a different outcome is the sort of crazy nonsense that Helen Clark might have come up with. It would have made not a jot of difference. As it happens I have seen women in that part of the world well armed with semi-automatic weapons and adept in their use. However they do not use them as you suppose they would, in support of invading, raping and murdering foreign armies such as the military forces of the Realm of New Zealand and the Commonwealth of Australia. They use them to defend their own families, communities and nation.
    You can stick your “imperial statecraft” and your hypocritical pretensions of concern for the rights of women and ethnic minorities.
    Your war in Afghanistan was lost before it began, and your struggle to hold on to Aotearoa through “imperial statecraft” will in time shatter on the rock of our people’s own stubborn resistance.

    • “your struggle to hold on to Aotearoa through “imperial statecraft” will in time shatter on the rock of our people’s own stubborn resistance”
      What, like a Maori Taliban Geoff?

      • Afghani woman are some of the most beautiful women in the world.

        That some of the most beautiful woman in the world must now be exposed to the horrors of war will for ever change humanity.

        This is the nuclear moment of our time. Jacinda is well with her rights, well well with in her rights to give The Chief of The Defence Forces permission to go Full Tumatauenga on the Taliban. Well with in her rights.

        All Jacinda has to do is listen to Chris. It’s not to late, she’s there only hope.

        • Sorry Sam, not sure I understand. Is Jacinda planning an invasion?
          She and K F certainly let the 38 Afghan workers down badly (fatally?) when they refused visas back on July 5th. Perhaps her hallmark naiveté was the problem, it was well known that the government forces were, for the most part, a shell, a scam to fleece the Americans.

          “In the UK, the Stop the War coalition wants the British government to pay reparations to Afghanistan – in other words, to hand money over to the Taliban – in order to advance the rights of women. Yanis Varoufakis, meanwhile, has urged Afghan women to ‘Hang in there sisters!’. Nancy Pelosi has warned that ‘the Taliban must know the world is watching its actions’. And New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern has ‘implored’ Taliban leaders to uphold human rights. Listen to these people and you get the impression that the Taliban might be talked out of carrying out public floggings with a cup of tea and a chat.

          Naivety might be cute in 10-year-olds, but it is terrifying in world leaders. That many feminists apparently cannot unambiguously condemn the Taliban and stand alongside Afghan women reveals the moral rot at the heart of Western culture.” Joanna Williams.

          • After 20yrs of hard fighting the Taliban have finally achieved there goals and governing Afghanistan will madden them. In the spare time of the Taliban they will toy with there prizes simply because they will become bored. This I am 100% certain of.

            The woman of Afghanistan know this to be true more than I. They know that death is close. The NZDF and coalition forces role in Afghanistan made sure of that. The Taliban may fight there natural and religious instincts, but veterans frightened beaten and starved will always fall back on there instincts to do harm simply for the own entertainment.

            The ultimate goal here is to offer the woman of Afghanistan life and dignity, and offer them a chance to serve as President of Afghanistan.

    • Delivered with the fanatical certainty, Geoff, that would do any Taliban fighter proud.

      What’s more, there is nothing hypocritical about my support for the women and girls of Afghanistan. I cheered when the West drove the misogynist, medievalist, theocratic Taliban from Kabul in 2001, and I weep with shame to see the West abandon Afghanistan to it now.

      As for “the people” you promise will bury imperial statecraft: Who are they? Where are they? Tell us, Geoff, if you dare.

      • …’I cheered when the West drove the misogynist, medievalist, theocratic Taliban from Kabul in 2001, and I weep with shame to see the West abandon Afghanistan to it now’…


        Truth is , those slow moving ultra conservative country’s cannot be moved by the sort of ‘rip, shit and bust’ methods of the west, especially American style haste. They must be wooed, cajoled, encouraged through literally decades of friendship and good will. Else they will simply close ranks and ostracize you.

        Any general worth his salts knows this. Its small wonder the Russians, another basically conservative nation, knows this, despite their invasions of Afghanistan earlier on. A conservative approach, of good will and mutual / symbiotic benefit is the way to go. It will take longer, much longer,…but the effects will last immeasurably longer than simply bombing the living shit out of them.

        Let us put ourselves in their shoes. Because as human beings, we are no different from them.

        • For a little while the US was showing the world an example an example of a fair democratic society; or at least seemed to be.That was the only way other countries could be influenced to follow.
          D J S

  13. A lot of military contractors now have lovely Florida mansions and yachts thanks to the 6 trillion dollars that the US Govt poured into the Afghanistan adventure

  14. Failure is really a matter of perspective. It is my suspicion that most of these US led interventions are not intended to bring about any particular political or military outcome but are instead an economic vehicle for vast sums of US government spending. When it’s stated that the US “lost” billions of dollars Afghanistan take a moment to consider where those billions were (and still are) spent – most of it is in the US. The arms manufacturers, the logistics and energy firms, the private military contractors and the regular paychecks of hundreds of thousands of US military personal. This is no more than classic Keynesian economics – creating a boost to employment, company revenue and stock values across the military and subsidiary sectors of the economy.
    Not only that the US also maintains a level of combat experience and hardiness few can match and this giant beast will not stay quietly at home for long.

    • Right on with most of your justifiable cynical comment Peter B.

      Not so sure about the last sentence. Strategic skill and leadership is missing big time as the US has only won a war against Grenada this century. That aside, its combat experience and hardness is questionable. The cannon fodder appear to be the poor and dispossessed ‘volunteers’ who without the military would have nothing. This is of course what they invariably end up with anyway, which results in four from the military committing suicide for every one killed in action.

  15. Would the women of Afghanistan prospered more under a Soviet-supported communist regime, or the radicalised Islamic resistance? The West made it’s choice for Afghan women when opposing the USSR and leaving the Taliban to later emerge out of the ashes. That the women ever needed saving is on the West.

  16. Chris. A good analysis I think but the last paragraph was a bit waffley. George W Bush and all his successors have a lot to answer for- but they won’t. I hope the US sponsored mujahideen who morphed into Taliban will be responsive to the needs of their fellow citizens, but I doubt it.

    A couple of opposing comments made to me some years ago from Afghans who were refugees off the Tampa but had become New Zealand citizens
    1) ‘Life is better in Afghanistan. Thanks to New Zealanders who are doing good things, building schools, hospitals and educating women.’ From three of these I’d required them to sign their names on voting registration forms. They were embarrassed because as women they’d never been allowed to learn how to write, even their names.
    2) ‘We Afghans don’t want you even if you are building schools and hospitals. We’d rather do it ourselves in tents. We’ve had enough of foreigners interfering and fighting us in our country. We wish all of you foreigners to get out of our country and leave us alone.’
    I wonder what they would say now?

    • ‘We Afghans don’t want you even if you are building schools and hospitals. We’d rather do it ourselves in tents. We’ve had enough of foreigners interfering and fighting us in our country. We wish all of you foreigners to get out of our country and leave us alone.’


      Given aid and building expertise, we could have done way more than 100,000 occupying troops ever could have done. We could have become friends. Like the NZ ambassador Sir Edmund Hillary did with the people of Nepal. Just a fraction of those trillions of dollars could have achieved this.

  17. I was in favour of the original incursion into Afghanistan. There was a need to destroy Al Qaeda after the rude awakening of 9/11.

    Where it went off the rails was the naïve attempt to convert this feudal, barely medieval society into a ‘shake & bake’ liberal democracy. Americans always make this mistake; they assume everyone wants to be like them. This is borne of poor education and stretches right across the political spectrum in the USA.

    Give it a few years and we will find it necessary to go back in to sort out the next version of Al Qaeda.
    The *correct* approach to Afghanistan is to establish a fire base with an airport. Ringed with defenses and the main gate closed to Afghanis. From there operate airborne counter insurgency operations forever. Drones spying on them 24/7 and bomb any significant military capability. This can be achieved at a reasonable cost at virtually no risk to our troops and can run in perpetuity.

    • In the spirit of Chris Trotter’s article, perhaps the US should have kept Kabul as a beacon of civilization, a “safe city” in the midst of Taleban barbarism. But they lost their vision and purpose for being there. A pathetic ending to a futile military adventure.

  18. – Leaving Afghanistan was always going to be messy.
    – Afghanistan was going nowhere.
    – The US Media is still calling for ‘forever wars’.

    Bring them home is right! After 2 decades of blood-shed this is long overdue! I won’t think long thoughts about all the atrocities [and there were many!!], it’s too sad.

  19. Wonder how long it will be before someone says we cannot stand by and allow the atrocities of the Taliban to continue?

  20. So far the Taliban don’t seem to have had to fight anyone. The Afghan army has either joined up with them or vacated the scene. I suspect that most of the 300 000 strong army were in it because tat was their only hope of an income; paid for by the US taxpayer. With that likely to end so has their commitment to keeping a US puppet corrupt government in office. I think the takeover was so swift because the vast majority of Afghans would rather the Taliban than the Yanks.
    Though the anxiety of foreigners to get out is understandable I reckon the Taliban will do as they have said and facilitate the exodus of everyone who doesn’t belong there.
    Let’s wait and see just what sort of regime they establish. So far their statements and their behaviour since being handed power seem to suggest quite some wisdom. Perhaps they have learned a few things .
    Let’s hope.
    D J S

  21. How the billions spent building and training the … – › world › asia › how-the-billions-s…

    Y’know what?… I’m thinkin now this massive transfer of USA equipment to the Taliban is /was deliberate, that it was part of the closing deal… and who is it used as a buffer against?… why Russia, of course,… and somehow,…as a pledge against CCP involvement….”we will supply you arms and munitions if you hold the line against these two threats”….much as they did with aiding the Mujahideen.

    I reckon that’s what’s going on.

    • Afghanistan would be a tasty addition to China’s belt & road program. No doubt they will be finding common ground soon enough, with the right incentives

  22. Good Day Mr Trotter,

    “The Western Left will have watched the helicopters circling the American Embassy in Kabul with the same grim satisfaction …

    Before the Western Left breaks out the Champagne …

    … as the Western Left will expend on helping the women and girls of Afghanistan.

    What would the Western Left cry today?

    Persons of every identity (except White, Cis-Males) make full use of intersectional opportunities whenever practicable. Break free from all imposed moralities….”

    This is not the Western Left.

    This is what Mr Trotter thinks the Western Left is.

    If he thinks, and not just out-pours his friction at the tea-room table.

    Sophisticated defamation, Mr Trotter, is it?

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