We Do Not Need To Defend Afghanistan
The dramatic collapse of Afghanistan demonstrates yet again that the best way to be acclaimed a humanitarian in Washington is to advocate sending young Americans to fight other peoples’ wars. It doesn’t matter much for whom. As long as the proposal is made with passion and certitude.
Today it is Afghanistan, which must, it is claimed, be defended forever. A couple years ago it was the Syrian Kurds, to whom, it was said, America had an eternal defense obligation. Next week, month, or year the liberation cause du jour will be someone else, perhaps the Ukrainians or Taiwanese, who, Americans will be told, must be safeguarded until the end of time.
But today the sacred duty is to Afghanistan. Asked a splenetic Bret Stephens at the New York Times:
is there any reason we should care more about the fate of Afghans than we do of desperate people elsewhere? Yes, because our inability to help everyone, everywhere doesn’t relieve us of the obligation to help someone, somewhere—and because America’s power and reputation in the world are also functions of being a beacon of confidence and hope.
The belief that America has a moral obligation to act—and keep on acting, apparently without end—permeates the thinking of the blob, the foreign policy establishment that shapes and implements U.S. foreign policy. One of the finest representatives of this perspective is former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who once proclaimed that “we” thought sanctions against Iraq worth the death of a half million children.