“The international community has a vital role to play in demonstrating our confidence in the Afghan people”. General Sir Nick Carter in “The Times” today.
This sort of empty, platitudinous rhetoric bedevils western perceptions of countries like Afghanistan. The underlying premise is that western States and, by unavoidable implication, their military forces have a role to play to prop up governments we approve of or to bring down those we don’t. The premise is false for both moral and practical reasons.
The idea that the United States, with or without Britain, has the right or even the capability to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries is, or should be, have become outdated by experience. Civil wars are endemic to the human condition and from Korea, via Vietnam to Afghanistan western interference on one side or the other only makes things worse.
What about diplomacy or international institutions like the United Nations? They don’t work in such circumstances either. Neither War War nor Jaw Jaw achieves anything. Ever. The sad reality is that the League of Nations failed to stop the Second World War and that post war the UN has often accelerated conflict rather than put a break on it. Indeed the UN was the prime mover in supporting South Korea against the North in 1950.
We can boast about our concern for the “Afghan people” but in reality these words are empty. It may sound harsh and uncaring but the Afghans have to be left to resolve things for themselves. President Biden was right to withdraw American troops and if he’s sensible he’ll think twice about deploying them as policemen anywhere again.
We the people have a voice, if we are prepared to use it. Strip away the faux-patriotic flag-waving bombast and there is nothing much left. 179 British servicemen died in Iraq and more than 450 in Afghanistan. And sad though it is they all died in vain. Surely we have had enough of body bags being flown home from faraway countries of which we know nothing?
The Taliban has won in Afghanistan and though we may deplore it we cannot deny it or ameliorate it. The “international community” is impotent in the face of this truth.