Posts Tagged nation building
The conundrum that is Afghanistan – Was there even a right solution?
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Musings on August 17, 2021
Let’s first get this out of the way. The joke going around is that it took the USA 4 Presidents, thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and 20 years — to replace Taliban with Taliban. And also the fact that the Taliban was created and nurtured by the USA, during the cold war, to gain leverage over the former Soviet Union. So USA helped create Taliban, USA tried to destroy Taliban and USA leaving helped restore Taliban.
We can’t fight our old history but certainly must question the recent historical turn of events.
Let’s consider reasons to leave and reasons to have stayed.
Why it is a right decision for US to pull out troops from Afghanistan
- It has become a prolonged war, with no end in sight.
- This war has cost the US and allies billions of dollars.
- Wars consume lives and we should not risk any American lives for a prolonged war where the public has lost interest and we can’t remember what is in it for us.
- Most importantly, if Afghani people are just incapable or uninterested in minding their own country, then no matter how much external help they get, they will never rise up to gain control of their own country out of the hands of terrorists, tribal warlords, marijuana growers, and religious fanatics. There is not much anyone can do to help, until the people rise up to the challenge.
Why this decision to pull out the troops now is utterly wrong AND it has been strategically an absolute disaster. See from no. 5 to no. 1 — all the reasons.
- Troubled countries cost resources, whether or not we are at war with them. If we are not keeping terrorists at bay and helping Afghani people to regain control then we will be fighting with terrorist insurgence, increased drug trafficking, and trying to ward off Russia from becoming cozy with the Taliban OR heaven forbid, even re enter Afghanistan.
- We have reached a stable period where US and NATO commitment has substantially decreased. There have been only 3500 US military personnel AND not a single casualty in over 18 months. THAT IS AN INDICATION THAT THE COUNTRY IS LEARNING TO MANAGE ON ITS OWN, albeing under the guidance of the big brother.
- We entered and stayed in Afghanistan with the lofty goal of rebuilding the country. THAT WAS THE HEIGHT OF HYPOCRISY. There is a Chinese proverb that says something like, if you want to grow rice, it’ll take 2 years, to grow trees it’ll take 20 years. But if you wish to grow and nurture people, you will need 200 years. REBUILDING A COUNTRY TAKES growing up of an entirely new generation. If USA did not have that kind of patience, didn’t want to make that kind of commitment then it should not have falsely claimed that to be the objective. AND YET, there wasn’t massive nation building troop presence requiring precipitous withdrawal. There was a happy medium of minimal troop presence. Instead, now USA abandoned even the new embassy after spending a billion dollars to build it.
- US and allies needed to have considered the alternative and carefully weighed it against the current situation. Supposedly, USA and allies needed to maintain a small troop presence for an unforeseeable future then why would it automatically be a bad situation? USA has troop presence for prolonged periods in other places — Germany and Korea for instance. If casualties are minimal and their presence is enabling young girls and boys to stay out of burkhas and fighting and keeps them in school then wouldn’t it have been only a matter of some more time when this new generation would assume control?
Finally, THERE WAS AN ENTIRELY NEW GENERATION GROWING UP AND GETTING READY TO ASSUME CONTROL, when none other than a democrat President pulled the plug in the most strategically unsound manner, that may compromise the cream of that very generation that was the future and hope of this country. There is growing up an entire generation of educated young women committed to ensuring that this freedom is never lost and this hope is never taken from them by terrorists. Young men thus far had only got the taste for fighting and engaging in petty tribalism and protecting their manhood with strict nonsensical conservative, religiously sanctioned fanatical sharia system. And now there was a new crop of young men grown up with values of diversity, inclusiveness, gender equality and democracy. The best and the most committed of this new generation may perhaps be in the greatest danger because USA and the Western world cannot keep their commitment, don’t care about compromising others’ lives, and in the end make every bad decision that ends up with a tragic impact on other countries because they just don’t have the patience to nurture people and must not speak of winning the hearts and minds.