ANALYSIS | Western elites have learnt nothing from Afghan imperialist disaster
The fierce criticism of the US retreat reveals the real threat to the West’s security – its macho delusions
The US decision to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan, announced by Barack Obama in 2014, formalised by Donald Trump in 2019 and implemented by Joe Biden in 2021, has provoked a howl of anguish among political, security and media establishments on both sides of the Atlantic.
Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations summed up a broad swath of opinion among foreign policy elites by denouncing Biden as “calamitously, tragically wrong”. Tony Blair termed the US decision “imbecilic”, claiming the Western troops sent to Afghanistan in late 2001 when he was prime minister of the UK should stay on to protect their “gains”.
Never mind that poverty and violence have ravaged Afghanistan at a steadily escalating rate for the last decade despite infusions of Western cash and troops — a situation so intolerable for the ruled, and so untenable for the rulers, that Islamic State found a stronghold and the Taliban was able to take over the entire country rapidly and seemingly effortlessly...