Worse than Vietnam. Why Afghan defeat poses a major threat to Western values
History repeats itself. Back in 1975, on the roof of the US embassy in South Vietnam’s capital Saigon, people wishing to fly away clung to the landing gear of American helicopters Boeing Ch-47. The world media was awash with video images of aircraft carriers of the invincible US Navy throwing their choppers overboard in order to make place for new arrivals. The hasty withdrawal from South Vietnam did not prevent Washington from winning the Cold War just over a decade later though. Alas, the fruits of that victory never outlived one generation.
The long and bloody Vietnam War was actually far more productive for the United States than the Afghan campaign. Despite anti-war protests at home, the White House had for years been weakening Moscow and Beijing, forcing them to focus on that one campaign in Indochina. Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, which had temporarily pulled out from Washington’s orbit, defended the would-be “Asian tigers” – Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. Moreover, in 1972, the United States forced the Vietnamese communists to sign a peace agreement as a precondition for the subsequent US withdrawal from that country. The Americans did not come back, however, even after the Viet Cong violated the peace deal and take Saigon in 1975, but that is another story.
The Afghan campaign outlasted the Vietnamese one. The swift US strike and quick defeat of the Taliban in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks demonstrated the strength of the United States and its allies. Just three years later, Washington repeated the blitzkrieg in Iraq, which had a rather formidable army and secret services. By mid-2003, no one could question the power of the United States and its ability to act as the world’s policeman. As we already said, however, history repeats itself. Neither the Russians nor the British were able to control Afghanistan. The Americans failed too. The chaos in the Middle East, brought about by the West-instigated “Arab Spring,” and the absence of an authoritative central government in Iraq or Afghanistan effectively nullified all efforts to pacify the Middle East. The problem is that successive US administration slacked a clear-cut strategy. As a result, Washington and its allies suffered significant losses while trying to hold on to Afghanistan. Indeed, they brought to power people whose authority and competence caused very serious doubts. Including President Ashraf Ghani, who hastily flew out of the country on a plane chock full of money. The army simply refused to fight for him, despite the fact that for two decades the Afghans had been trained to fight and were armed at the cost of billions of dollars.
The Americans swallowed the very same bait that the Soviet Union had done before them, failing to come to an agreement with their own ally, Pakistan, which has been supporting the Taliban for 20 years. The world’s best army could not or did not want to seal the border that militants, caravans with weapons and explosives were freely moving through. Whatever reforms the Americans implemented benefited a fraction of the Afghan elite, who have already fled the country. Ghani lasted only a month, while the Soviet protege Najibullah stayed on for three years, simply because many Afghans knew what they were fighting for. The Soviet Union helped open rural schools, hospitals, and built roads. Many in the US military and their European allies have stained their uniforms with their active involvement in drug trafficking. According to international organizations, over the past 20 years, drug production in Afghanistan has spiked from 180 tons to 10,000 tons a year. Moreover, a significant portion of those drugs reached their consumers not through a complex traffic via the former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe, but were delivered directly by the US Air Force!
No schools and hospitals were built, nor many jobs created. Well, perhaps save for creep joints, brothels and cleaners – all that ensured a comfy living for the US troops. This is not to say, of course, that Afghanistan could not be controlled indefinitely. It could, but only by bringing in more troops, instead of pulling them out. And at least by not antagonizing local civilians with torture, massive mop-up operations, and inaccurate airstrikes. As a result, over the past 20 years, 98 percent of Afghans have become accustomed to just surviving, not living, and fearing people in NATO army uniforms. Their values, which are close to those preached by the Taliban, have not changed a bit. They do not understand the importance of gender equality and religious tolerance. The see the Taliban as their own, by contrast to the arrogant Americans and Europeans. And this despite all the money spent by various foundations to promote universal values. Where has all that money gone? To the pockets of “refugees,” whose children studied in the UK and the United States? Looks like it never reached its destination.
However, America’s Democratic elite still wants to turn defeat into victory! We have all heard claims made by Joe Baiden that the US Army has accomplished its tasks and left Kabul victorious. They are trying to make us believe that the Taliban, which has come to power in Afghanistan, is not the Taliban that helped Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda to kill thousands of Americans in 9/11 attacks in 2001, and supported the Islamic State. They say that this is a totally different Taliban, which is quite capable of engaging in peaceful dialogue. That they will now give it international recognition and everything will be fine. That the Taliban has even promised to fight drugs! I don’t think that someone will refuse to make money while simultaneously sticking it to the infidels. And how about the women’s right to work and education, free elections and the rights of religious minorities? And the souls of thousands of slain American civilians and NATO soldiers crying out for revenge? The current US administration has not only betrayed the memory of the victims and allowed radical extremism to flourish again in the Afghan mountains and deserts. It is ready to negotiate with extremists. I wonder which country will be next. Will it be Iraq, whose oilfields some corporations are still clinging to? Or Libya, half of which is now in the hands of Islamists? And what will Biden say then? Will he try to turn defeat into victory again, while the Taliban and ISIS agents slaughter Christians and everyone who disagrees with them, and are plotting explosions on American streets?