Contributed by Jim Hayes
As the fallout from the hasty retreat of the United Sates forces from Afghanistan continues, are those things have been made perfectly clear.
This is the biggest defeat the United States has suffered since Vietnam and is looking vulnerable. The flow on is that it will give encouragement to those in many other countries, fighting Washington’s pressure on their turf.
This is also a defeat for those nations, whose holding onto the United States Coattails dragged them into this war.
President Joe Biden finds himself in the hot seat. There is disbelief and the blame game plays out. Little attention is given to why it all went so wrong.
The easy takeover of Kabul by the Taliban was entirely predictable. Why? Mostly because of the failure to win the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan. The Taliban was able to exploit this failure, win their nation over, and over time, build their forces.
A great deal of what the Taliban stands for is obnoxious. But they have kicked a few goals to give them legitimacy. They proved to be the only force capable of taking on what most Afghans see as a foreign invading force. The Taliban have succeeded on neutralising the feudal war lords and their private armies, and have brought the possibility of stability after years of war.
A significant downside will come under Taliban Sharia Law. They have promised to moderate this and only time will tell. Even then, this is a choice for Afghans to make and not outsiders. Has continuing war made life any better?
The biggest failure of the United States and countries following, like Australia, is the arrogance and superior attitude of the invaders, which saw Afghans as not quit their equal and to be remade in the western image. With this came an underestimation of the Afghans’ sense of who they are and the strength of the opposition to the invasion.
The invasion was not popular back home either. In the United States, the initial war lust after the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York, soon begun to wear out. Most Americans now believe that the war was wrong.
Most Australians have always been against going there. In 2001 Prime Minister John Howard committed Australian troops without even bothering to go through the parliament.
The media’s attention has been devoted to the refugees trying to get out of Afghanistan. They have reason to be fearful, despite the Taliban promising to treat them well. Knowing only too well. t collaboration with the invaders marked them as traitors to their own people.
Photo by Wakil Kohsar AFP/Getty: Refugees waiting for evacuation at Kabul airport
Families everywhere have lost loved ones in the war and suffered in many other ways. That at least some would demand the punishment of those they see as traitors is to be expected. This is the nature of the aftermath of wars.
There are innocents involved. They are entitled to expect humane treatment. But this should not an excuse to keep on interfering in Afghanistan.
The Taliban are likely to target key figures in an administration imposed by the United States, and which never had the real support of the nation. This was a government, bureaucracy, legal system, army, and police, in part, cobbled from various warlords, and known to be thoroughly corrupt. They were seen to be only loyal to the cash handouts by Washington.
President Ashraf Ghani flew out of Afghanistan with around $150 million out of the state’s coffers, leaving his former allies blaming each other for the mess they find themselves in.
The even picture scenario is that we are witnessing the decline of American power in the world. This power might remain formidable, but it is no longer unchallenged. The rise of China and other nations insisting on charting their own independent course is a reality. The European Union is showing signs of also going its own way.
Defeat in Afghanistan is at once an outcome of this decline and a contributor to it.
Australia was caught up in this war, when the United States invoked the ANZUS alliance which it controls, to again drag Australians into a futile and unjust war. This was never about freedom and helping the Afghans.
The invasion was aimed at toppling the existing government there and remodelling the power structure to integrate it into the power of the invaders. The purpose was to gain a strategic foothold in the region, as a pivot towards the Caucasus and the borders of China and Russia.
These motives were hidden behind a body of lies.
Australia must face the reality of the ANSUS alliance and break from it. Continuing to be part of it is not in the interests of our security. Facing reality means that latching onto the coattails of a diminishing power does not offer the best future.
It is time to realise that our best interests lie within a world no longer dominated by a single power. By standing on our own feet, we can build positive relationships with all. This will protect Australia.
Australia has squandered more than $9 billion on this war that could have been better put to other uses. Just think about this. Paying for the war came at the same time as the government began to list the rate at which it pulled money away from a range of services important for the wellbeing of the Australian people.