Preparations for the “Next Afghanistan” have already begun

Sottotitolo: 
The scale and speed of the collapse in Afghanistan after twenty years of nation building is a damning indictment of the national security and foreign policy establishment.

Now that the twenty year-long US military expedition to Afghanistan has ended in catastrophe, the US Neocon establishment has already begun preparations for the “Next Afghanistan”. That process begins with blaming Joe Biden and rewriting history.

Thus, Richard Haas (President of the Council on Foreign Relations) writes in Project Syndicate: “Biden was recently asked if he harbored any regrets about his decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan. He replied he did not. He should.” As part of his argument, Mr. Haas scare mongers the prospect of a “Taliban domino effect” whereby the Taliban takeover Pakistan.

The New York Times has also been busy playing the blame game and rewriting history. Two days after Kabul fell, its page one story blamed President Biden and suggested something very different was possible: “But in his speech, Mr. Biden spent more time defending his decision to depart Afghanistan than the chaotic way it was carried out.”

In similar vein, another Times story claimed: “In several cities, Afghan security forces put up a strong fight to stop the Taliban advance, with videos showing exchanges of gunfire. But much more prevalent during the Taliban’s offensive were scenes of apparent retreat by government forces left ill-equipped to secure the country after the American withdrawal.”

The reality is President Biden has nothing to apologize for and deserves our collective thanks for a decision that always stood to benefit the United States but never politically benefit him.

The scale and speed of the collapse in Afghanistan after twenty years of nation building and massive military engagement is not a critique of Joe Biden. It is a damning indictment of the national security and foreign policy establishment.

There was never going to be any other way of exit from this misconceived imperial venture. It was something like this or be there forever.

The “Taliban domino theory” and the “Not this way” argument are attempts by the Neocon establishment to deflect their culpability and pave the road for the “Next Afghanistan”. 

Expect more of that from those who got us into this mess and kept us there so long. And the most dangerous among those voices are Neocon Democrats and so-called liberal media like The New York Times, as they give political cover and credibility to their more extreme Republican Neocon counter-parts.

The Neocon narrative opportunistically sprinkles the false notion of self-inflicted defeat, thereby rewriting history and making us feel better. That is its toxic siren appeal. It triumphed after Vietnam. It is absolutely critical we stop such Neocon narratives taking hold after Afghanistan or we will be condemned to a future of more of the same.

Thomas Palley

Thomas Palley is Schwartz economic growth fellow at the New America Foundation; Senior Economic Policy Adviser, AFL-CIO. His most recent book “From Financial Crisis to Stagnation” has just been released in paperback by Cambridge University Press (February 2013).

Member of Insight Editorial board.

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