I've had a few thoughts on Afghanistan, which is a disaster I was against in the first instance, but once you're in, you can't go back to your initial conditions. So if I were either of the last two United States presidents, who are to blame for this "Saigon on Steroids", then I would have regarded it as a more-or-less perpetual police action. What we are seeing in Afghanistan is an international version of defunding the police. This is Portland Oregon or Kenosha, just with a broader canvass and even more elemental actors.
There's obviously a lot of bad that comes out of it. It's a tragedy for those who put their faith in the Americans, and a message to those in the future who might be tempted (and that includes Australia). Many of them will lose their lives or freedoms, and their families will also suffer for their complicity with the Kaffir invader. And it replenishes the army of those who would harm the West via acts of terrorism out of the jails of Afghanistan.
The US is humiliated, and China and Russia must be emboldened. As if they weren't already emboldened enough. Yang Jiechi, China's director of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, didn't completely strip US Secretary of State Anthony Blinkin of face in the Anchorage summit when he spent 20 minutes lecturing him about America's sins, because China respects the current US administration.
Biden's response has been appalling. Instead of being at the political frontline in Washington he's been off on holidays. And when he eventually creeps out of his basement to respond, it is all someone else's fault. "Donald made me do it," doesn't wash as an excuse when every other action he has taken since becoming President has been to overturn what Donald did. It's worse than that. Reports suggest that he rejected the advice of his own advisors on how to handle Afghanistan as well as a bipartisan congressional committee, the Afghanistan Study Group. He had plenty of opportunities to modify, or renege, on Trump's peace deal, as the Taliban breached a number of conditions.
Even if Trump had won in 2020, it is hard to believe that the Taliban would have been this bold. Who'd know what the bear with a sore head in the Whitehouse might do? And Trump being the opportunistic deal maker that he is might well have decided the deal wasn't working and needed to be junked anyway.
Many are comparing this to Saigon, and former US Secretary of Defense to Obama, Leon Panetta, says it is like the Bay of Pigs. I'm likening it to the Iran hostage crisis, which was a pivotal moment in destroying the presidency of Jimmy Carter. While the hostage crisis was much smaller in scale, it was a television spectacle humiliation of the US, which is what the current fiasco is as well.
Yet, the most recent of these parallels is 41 years ago, and while they may have claimed US presidents, the USA still persists, and more often than not, prevails. So these setbacks always seem worse at the time, but more importantly, democracies can learn from them.
So when we've done grieving for the Afghani allies left behind, and their families, particularly women and children, and our own dead, left on the battlefield for what seems no return, we need to work out how to go forward.
Some good will come out of this, for that is what bad things do for resourceful people, and we must be resourceful people.
Hopefully, it will clarify the media's political coverage of the US, where a claque that has been criminally compromised by Chinese, Ukrainian, and Russian interests (and who knows how many others) has gained control of the levers of power because the alternative was boorish and farted at dinner too often. US media, and our own, have compromised our interests by deliberately overlooking the extraordinary failings of the senescent poseur, and his family, who currently occupies the Whitehouse.
It might also put another brick under the wheels of the woke movement. It is one thing to indulge anti-racists in one of the least racist countries in the world, or men who want to be women in a country that cares less than most about how you dress, as long as you leave them alone too when you are luxuriating in your place in the sun. But when the clouds come out and the umbrellas get taken away, it is time to get serious again, and demote or retire some of the woke generals, too worried about climate change as the biggest strategic risk, or detecting and turfing Republican voters in the ranks as potential terrorists, to understand how occupation works. The real terrorists have arrived, and they're fascist, but not white supremacists.
And some of those lessons might apply here where we shelter in place against a disease that is 99.4% unlikely to kill you while others, courtesy of our own indolence and lack of care and attention, face bullets, beheadings, and mutilation. It puts real bravery and risk on display and should encourage us to be genuinely brave and run the modest comparative risks of COVID as an open, rather than sheltering-in-place, society.