The weekend marked a shock-wave event, the rapid fall of Kabul that was not supposed to happen.
Twenty years of nation-building attempt failures, a poorly managed withdrawal, abandonment of 14 – 86,000 supportive allies, logistically crippled government forces and likely bribing local commanders led to a one-week collapse. This primarily speaks to strategic and operational incompetence of the US decision-makers as a class as a better managed withdrawal was clearly feasible and a soft landing end state was arguably possible. Trillions wasted, with blood also on the line.
Predictably, mass murders, return to utter unbridled barbarism, hosting of terrorism and likely a surge in opium-based drugs esp. Heroin. More subtly, Afghanistan counts as in the direction of Khorasan in Islamist readings of apocalyptic hadiths so we can expect a mahdist push; only utter shocking defeat will stop that, a horrific shock comparable to that of August 1945. Meanwhile, China next door likely is trying to use money to influence the situation.
I find this commentary by a veteran useful:
I offer this main point: the government of Afghanistan lost the “Mandate of Heaven.” The people of Afghanistan had twenty years to experience Afghan government and decide that it was not worth fighting for. The stories are legion: the first president, Karzai, constantly releasing captured terrorist leaders as he dealt directly with the Taliban. President Karzai’s brother being the top gangster of Kandahar. The Afghan Air Force heroin-smuggling ring. The Thursday Man Love sessions for all the pedophiles of the Afghan police and military. The “ghost” soldiers and ever-stolen supplies of the Afghan Army. The massive vote fraud of the Afghan presidential elections. The Afghan judges who gave no justice without a bribe. In sum, the Afghan government had the façade of a constitutional system — but inside its halls, it was a collection of thieves and robbers getting as much as could be gotten while the money was flowing.
There has apparently never been a cohesive, lawful Afghanistan, and that creates a culture of lawless oligarchy, even when trappings of democracy are imposed. I note, though that we need to account for differential performance, as the Pushtun behind the Taliban are not an outright majority. The operational answer points to logistical starvation [no beans and bullets to fight with, after taking 60,000 dead in trying to defend a failing state], a lockdown on technical support that grounded the air force. All of which had to be known to the US decision makers. Their failure to do right by 86,000 people as listed who put their life on the line shows the fundamental untrustworthiness and want of honour of the American decision makers. And this is the second time within fifty years.
I don’t buy the oh this was not expected. Contrast the open borders policy with this breach of honour betrayal of people who put their lives on the line in a now failed attempt to build a better future.
A bruised reed indeed.
The vet continues:
[G]roups, communities, and nations usually get the government they deserve. A virtuous people is usually ruled fairly well — an anarchic people either collapses into anarchy or is ruled strictly. I think this was President Bush’s major conceptual strategic mistake in the post-9-11 wars. He believed that every nation longed for freedom and was capable of democratic self-government. As we have learned the hard way, our American constitutional government was not just ordered into existence by the Founders; it is the heritage of untold generations of Germanic tribal self-government, the monastic stewarding of the Roman legacy of education, the Anglo-Saxon traditions of consultative government, the compromise of the Magna Carta, the residue of the English Civil Wars and Bill of Rights, and the self-governing experience of the Pilgrims and the colonial founders in the New World interacting with the French and Scottish Enlightenment.
This was not Afghanistan’s experience — the many peoples of Afghanistan lacked the human capital to democratically govern themselves. The vast majority of Afghans could not read, write, or numerate — parts of Afghan Army basic training were simply teaching soldiers to recognize numbers. The few Afghan elites were ethnically divided and mutually suspicious. Often there was no tradition of peaceful self-governance — of the clans living in a valley, often there would be a low-level war among them over resources. Simply put, the Afghans were not truly capable of self-governing democracy in the Jeffersonian sense. Therefore, they could not create a government worth dying for.
Sadly, we Americans ourselves also lacked the moral clarity and realism to even try to make the conditions to help build a moral government. All too often the phrase “it’s an Afghan matter” was used as a rationale to excuse some immoral action of our Afghan government partners. We saw the evil actions of the Afghan government officials but did nothing about it — in great contrast to the colonial heyday, when British officials would say, “It may be your tradition to burn widows alive, but it is my tradition to hang those who do so.” We simply shrugged our shoulders and said, “It’s the culture” as we tolerated the evil that destroyed the legitimacy of the Afghan government.
This of course speaks to the cultural buttresses I have often highlighted in discussing an alternative political spectrum:
This leads to explaining what we see as a slide to lawless oligarchy and a coup:
The lessons for the threatening disintegration of cultural buttresses in the US and elsewhere are obvious.
Let’s look at the geostrategic picture:
Afghanistan is an obvious move for China’s Silk Road push to the oil-rich ME and a land bridge to Pakistan, but brings up a contest with Iran and further alienation of India and the belt of states on China’s near-coastal rim from Singapore to Japan and South Korea.
The American geostrategic defeat, retreat and humiliation, combined with a largely continental mindset, points to the post Vietnam malaise as a direct parallel. This also further alienates the dissatisfied hinterland people from the patently incompetent establishment/deep state apostates.
The 4th generation conflict in the US ratcheted up and its inner cohesiveness just got another crack. I still believe the cultural marxists, their red guard cannon fodder and media promoters will lose, but the geostrategic butcher’s bill is going to be high. END
PS: What might a soft landing have looked like? If the Jordanian model of a stabilising adequately backed military had been followed and perhaps a lawful monarchy with a core western presence present to take the two generations to build capacity, something might have been possible. However the depth of corruption may have undermined even that.
U/D: Here is a State Dept archive on mail-in ballots:
Similarly, the highly relevant McFaul colour revolution model and SOCOM insurgency escalator:
F/N Aug 19: A General’s assessment:
U/D Aug 21, the map seen on 9-11, with the 100 year global conquest vision also expressed in the Muslim Brotherhood The Project Document captured by Swiss Financial Police: