Home > and Tomorrow > Should The US Withdraw From Afghanistan

Should The US Withdraw From Afghanistan

This is not a question that, in my opinion, has been adequately examined, and certainly not in the public discourse.  The knee-jerk reaction is to agree that the United States should declare victory and leave the area with all deliberate speed.  I happen to disagree with that point of view.

There are a number of factors which I would suggest one needs to consider in looking at the situation in Afghanistan.  In the first place, the United States cannot continue to parachute into any situation it deems problematic, destroy any hope of success for the people living there, and than wave goodbye with crocodile tears and best wishes for good luck.  This is doubly true in Afghanistan, where we’ve already done the same thing at the time of the Soviet Withdrawal.

It is truly criminal for us to seduce indigenous people into supporting us while we are in their country, only to abandon them to their fate as soon as it suits us.  Contrary to popular belief, there are a significant number of Afghans who will not only be sad to see us go, but whose lives will be at risk when that time comes.  Are we really so short-sighted and bereft of any sense of morality that we fail to see that we can do well by doing good?

Now it is true that there are a number of problems which need to be addressed, not the least of which is to recognize that Afghanistan is a country divided along ethnic, tribal, and religious lines.  I am not suggesting that it is our job to impose a particular system on the area, but certainly supporting those who support us is not too much to ask.

I would suggest a much greater use of the “carrot”, but backed with the defensive presence of the “stick” in order to synthesize our objectives with the objectives of the Afgan people.  Simply allowing this country to slide back into chaos is neither good for them, or for us.

Categories: and Tomorrow
  1. aking1
    February 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I sympathize with you position as the people do have to be taken into consideration. I also think it’s hard to balance a war for the US that came from a prior administration. Americans knew that getting out of Afghanistan was a priority for Obama and a solid base of people voted for him for that reason.

    I just wrote a post about the Taliban and I think that maybe the course Obama is going on now in terms of trying to have open dialogues with the Taliban is a way to meet some of your concerns. I think it is a large gamble considering the ill feelings that Afghans may still hold about the Taliban. I do think that the US is on a slippery slope: stay and continue to spin the wheels or leave and try external support. Either way, the end is not bright due to the circumstances presently.

  2. February 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    It is a very difficult question. I think America got a taste of what Churchill meant when he said Afghanistan is where empires come to die: Alexander the Great and the Soviets know what that’s about. America knows now as well.

    I think the other factors is Afghanistan’s role as a bridge between East Asia and the Middle East. If the U.S, pulls out, you can be in a few years that China, India and even Russia again will take interest in the area and try their luck at taming the place.

    • February 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Which suggests, to me, that dropping in every ten years or so is not the most advantageous policy.

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