People have been trying, and failing, to civilize Afghanistan since Alexander the Great. It has never worked out well. The Soviet Union famously invaded Afghanistan when Jimmy Carter was President. Jimmy responded by boycotting the Moscow Olympics. We then went through several years where the Olympics were basically destroyed by politics with numerous retaliatory boycotts. Once again, we have a U.S. President, threatening to boycott the Olympics in China. Only this time, the cost may be far higher than retaliatory boycotts. Such a move could be considered a loss of face by China and the results could be beyond catastrophic.
To be fair, Donald Trump was also planning on removing troops from Afghanistan. He was demanding Generals provide some definition of success that would justify continuing to put troops in harm’s way. But at least Trump was allowing the military to decide how and when to achieve this. Biden just ordered everyone out and as a result we are leaving in the worst possible way. According to reports, we abandoned Bagram Airbase and didn’t even bother to tell our hosts we were deserting them. Nice! There are numerous reports, all too believable, that Afghan troops are surrendering left and right to the Taliban and gleefully handling over those nice new American guns, ammunition and Humvees. There is no hint that the U.S. will do anything to even slow this down. This is not just shameful, it is humiliating.
I still shudder at what happened in Vietnam. I was a Vietnamese linguist, so I knew what was really happening. Despite the many mistakes, we made in trying to fight that war with one hand tied behind our back, we were winning. The North Vietnamese were ready to give up. They feared Richard Nixon and believed him when he said they could have peace or they could have war, but they had to choose. This is almost identical to the message President Eisenhower sent to end the Korean War. He told China they could have peace, or they could have war, but if they chose war, it would not be confined to the Korean peninsula. They signed a cease fire, and it is still in effect today. If Richard Nixon had not been removed from office, odds are high that the cease fire would have held and today South Vietnam would look a lot like South Korea. But once Nixon was removed, for doing things that Democratic Presidents did on steroids, that was all thrown away. Democrats had total control of congress and Gerald Ford was not strong enough to fight the war without their backing. The result was a humiliating loss for the U.S. That was bad enough, but the highest price was paid by those who stupidly assumed the U.S. was capable of being a dependable ally.
Most people today are still in denial over who we were fighting against and what we were fighting for in Vietnam. They assumed this was just a civil war that was none of our business. The truth was quite different. The communists were willing to sacrifice over a million people to gain total control. They had zero interest in compromise. Many of the Vietnamese who escaped, after we deserted them, did so at great risk and arrived in this country with next to nothing. Yet they realized this was still the land of opportunity and they thrived. If you doubt that, talk to any of those brave people who risked all to come to America. Ask them if they are interested in moving back to Vietnam. Ask them how many of their friends and relatives still living in Vietnam tell them they made the wrong decision.
Yet the anti-war crowd, who wanted to end that war without regard to the consequences, remain oblivious to those consequences. Seldom in the history of the world have so many people been so blissfully proud of achieving such horrendous results while remaining so oblivious.
Well, we are doing it again. While we may argue that our actions in Afghanistan perhaps reduced the chance of another 9-11 type attack, that will be small comfort to the honest people remaining in Afghanistan who will be left to pick up the pieces. In addition, we may not have prevented this type of attack, merely postponed it. ISIS seized the day in Iraq and Syria due to the decision by President Obama to just abandon Iraq. Expect similar results in Afghanistan, on steroids, because neither Syria nor Russia will have any interest in even resisting the coming horror. More importantly, what nation on earth would be dumb enough to trust us after this fiasco.
At the same time, we are weakened domestically by run-away inflation, dwindling supplies, skyrocketing unemployment and a re-introduction of the misery index. Joe Biden brags about creating new jobs, but there are no new jobs, just some people slowly returning to jobs needlessly lost during the pandemic. He has even slowed down that process by foolishly paying people to delay returning to work. There is no chance this is going to work out well, for anyone.
The only good news is that Jimmy Carter brought us Ronald Reagan and Ronald Reagan brought us morning in America. That part of history also repeats itself, but once again only at great cost. In addition, the usual suspects, as always, will learn nothing from history.