It was in back in May that USA President Joe Biden announced he was calling the US Military force home from Afghanistan. Throughout the months of June and continuing on an almost daily basis since, has come news that the Taliban – the main force the US hoped to control when it began its role as an occupying army 21 years ago, has regained control of much of the country.
The United States is not the first foreign power to give up on trying force feed Afghanistan on a form of government differing from ancestral beliefs. The English tried but finally game up in despair; The Russians gave it go after the second world war but went home defeated by climate and rebels with different ideas to both great nations.
Both Russia and England thought Afghanistan unwise to reject their kind offers of how to expand their economy with, in their day, a great power to show them how, but accepted the Afghan final decisions, sulked a little but got over it.
It doesn’t seem to be going as smoothly for our good neighbours to the south.
Just a few days ago the once influential New York Times addressed itself to the problem facing President Biden as he brings the men and women fighting the longest war in American history home without a winner’s medal.
The headline on the NYT was in the form of a blunt question: “Is the US done with being a world cop?” It doesn’t post a definite answer but it does suggest that things are not as happy for USA as they were when they ruled the roost – or believed they did.
The article admits “for better or for worse, military engagements abroad and U.S. dominance more generally have become unpopular with the American public.” It adds that “national security” as the justification for USA supremacy by military intervention no long packs the the response it did back in the days following the terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York on Sept.11, 2001.
For me the most telling quote in the most thoughtful and challenging article is from the book “Clear and Present Safety” by Micah Zenko and Michael A. Cohen: “Decades of fear mongering about foreign threats by Washington insiders have obscured what truly harms Americans: substandard education and health care systems, dilapidated infrastructure, gun-violence,inequality,congressional gridlock and climate change.”(my emphasis)
If the NYT is right it’s the general population of the USA that needs some serious mind changes before their nation can offer any other nation USA held notions of the good life. Affordable health care (a recent edition of Sixty Minutes on television exposed a multi million hospital bill for two months of Intensive Unit care for a Covid19 victim) would be a good place to start followed by desperately needed gun control laws. For far too long the nation that so desperately seeks recognition as the champion of rights and freedom has let the gun rule its homeland psyche.
I wish President Joe Biden well. He has a tough job maintaining Top Cop role for the USA – some would say impossible unless he can bring peace to his own cities and streets.