President Biden is right to quit Afghanistan

“We must not turn our backs on the Afghans” says William Hague in The Times today. Can he really not see that in the post-war era Western interventions in the internal affairs of independent countries have been an unmitigated disaster? With one or two exceptions American and often British military action in pursuit of some specious high-sounding goal like “freedom” have resulted in outcomes which were worse than the start point.

In my lifetime Korea, Vietnam, Suez, Iraq, Afghanistan and countless other adventures have been long on pompous rhetoric but short on effectiveness – often tragically so. America has in theory the military strength to be the policeman of the Western conscience but, as we saw in Asia and the Middle East more than once, not the strategic nous to know how to win.

The Taliban is like the Vietcong a flexible pragmatic force which can disappear into the hills whenever it needs to, regroup and fight another day. In Iraq the sheer power of America backed by Britain’s largely token forces overthrew Saddam alright. Leaving still unresolved chaos behind, tens of thousands dead and continuing instability. Not to mention hundreds of bereaved American and British families.

President Biden is right to recognise that the American dream of honourable defence of liberty, articulated so eloquently in John Kennedy’s inaugural address in 1960, has proved to be bunkum. And the British Government should get real as well and realise that our obligations extend no further than the defence of our own borders. No more body bags returning from far away countries of which we know nothing please.

One thought on “President Biden is right to quit Afghanistan

  1. America has fought interventionist wars because of its post-war paranoid belief in the communist domino theory. That says if one state falls to communism the entire region will. Kennedy in that inaugural address dressed his anti-communism up in the famous speech about defending liberty. He was directing it at the time solely at Fidel Castro.
    This flawed political thinking largely began after Truman and Roosevelt’s distrust of Joseph Stalin. Yet although Stalin was a vicious murdering monster he always kept his word and honored every treaty he ever made with the allies at the talks at Yalta and Potsdam.
    Churchill later complained hypocritically that an Iron Curtain had descended over Europe. When in fact the allies had all agreed with the carve-up of eastern Europe. Stalin simply decided to protect his countries gains by any means.
    Stalin believed that the defence of the home nation took precedence over everything else and never again would he allow his country to be threatened after suffering twenty-seven million dead at the hands of the Nazis. Stalin made no phony pretence about defending liberty.
    Since communism has largely disappeared except in China; Britain and America now get involved in interventionist wars by claiming to fight the rise of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. The claim is just as bogus as the anti-communist rhetoric that destroyed millions of people’s lives.
    Isis, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban are never going to go away. The west should face up to the fight not by the invasion of another country but by defence of their own, like Stalin with whatever it takes.

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