Registered On: September 7, 2015
I have not said the war was a charitable case by the west based on women’s rights and other things. It was because the Taliban were harbouring terrorists who attacked the west and refused to yield, before bin Laden fled to Pakistan.
However, just because the original motive didn’t have such specific motives as the primary reason for the war, it doesn’t mean that western involvement wouldn’t have beneficial causes for this. It should be blindingly obvious to most that the past 20 years have been more beneficial to women, gays and religious minorities than Taliban rule and now represents an apocalyptic scenario for many. It is not wrong to lament the loss of a force which could keep religious theocrats at bay who threaten human rights for many. Internationalism was and should be a key principle for many on the left and our primary concern should be the human rights of our fellow humans suffering. This doesn’t mean I think people should have to support troops in Afghanistan, but those advocating against it need to justify why the pitfalls (which do exist) of troops outweigh the real negatives of human rights abuses which will happen under the Taliban. There needs to be some acknowledgement that abandoning will lead to huge ramifications for human rights, and that this is a response to our own decision to leave.
There is much talk, like in the Iraq War for instance, about intervention destabilising a country and causing death. However, the opposite is neglected to be factored in, ever. The reluctance to intervene in Syria against Assad has created the worst human rights catastrophe of the 21st century to date, probably. Abandoning Afghanistan is to leave it to theocratic dystopia. These are negative outcomes from western retreat, which need to be factored in, but rarely are. Instead, the ‘anti-imperialists’ bleat about war causing chaos and death, while peace is inherently perfect. No, the situation is more complex than that.
I struggle to see what’s liberal about being happy to abandon Afghans to their fate, seemingly without a care in the world. I am not accusing you of this, Deerey, I am speaking in general about the likes of Owen Jones and Aaron Bastani, who have aired their opinions which amount to anyone supporting troops in Afghanistan is morally wrong, while supporting troops out and peace is the only righteous option.
It may not be that the USA and UK were in Afghanistan primarily for human rights reasons, though I don’t think responding to Taliban harbouring terrorists who attacked the west is a bad reason for action, but we could have done something to better conditions for human rights. For accusations of world police, I would say that as a superpower the USA has a duty to respond and they can with their military might. What’s the alternative? Abandoning Afghanistan will leave it fall under the influence of China and Russia, who don’t pretend to be caring about human rights. The USA’s history includes human rights abuses, but they more than others represent some value in it. American retreat from foreign policy will only bring greater darkness to the world.
This will also create more refugees. While I do not subscribe to BS’s “keep ’em out!” rhetoric and fully support accepting refugees and think we should accept more than we are doing, it is not ideal for the planet to have many fleeing in Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere. An Afghan refugee crisis will be brought about by abandoning to the Taliban, so this has had global repercussions.
I think Tony Blair was bang on at the weekend when he said that we should take solace in that Afghanistan has had 20 years of more liberal values, where the young have not had the religious indoctrination of the Taliban, and that hopefully this brings a resistance. However, I think that any resistance will be hard with the sheer authoritarianism the Taliban will bring, but it wouldn’t have been needed if the west wasn’t insistent on isolationism.