Perhaps it will stop the Taliban in its tracks, perhaps it won’t. The recall of the UK parliament next week will give many an MP the opportunity to spout off about the situation in Afghanistan as if we were some Victorian tribe of colonial overlords. The debate may of course have the side benefit of affording the Labour leader Kier Starmer an opportunity to say something meaningful, but I feel in my bones that it will be Sir Kier Equivocation who will be the one to rise to the opposition Dispatch Box. It is an interesting situation for a Labour leader 20 years after Tony Blair took us into this territory—albeit with UN approval (which is one reason why I felt I could support the 2001 war). Now, Starmer can’t say it was all a mistake, and he has to formulate his words carefully to say that the deaths of hundreds of UK troops was not in vain. He might also feel compelled to toe the Biden line, and to pretend that this isn’t another Saigon moment (at least the South Vietnamese government lasted a wee bit longer than the current set of muppets in Kabul). Biden has made it clear that in his view the US intervention in Afghanistan was all about fighting terrorism, and considers the battle won. It was never about nation building. Tony Blair probably still differs on this point, although the website for his Institute for Global Change does not yet appear to have caught up with the fast changing reality in Afghanistan, concerned as he is with the question of peace building with colonial Israel in a hostile region. It was in 2003 that the Labour party conference heard in person from Hamid Karzai, the first torch-holder for the post-invasion Afghanistan puppet government, and who sat not on a solid democratic renaissance but a corrupt regime living on the back of the dollar flood-feed. As in Iraq, corruption and the betrayal of the people went hand-in-hand with turning a blind eye to our hired ‘democratic’ nabobs who by definition were incapable of instilling genuine loyalty or co-operation in the task of nation building.
One financial aspect of this whole affair is troubling. The US spent one trillion dollars on its Afghanistan escapade, but now finding that kind of money would be seen as a disaster for the economy if it were devoted to tackling climate change. But a trillion dollars spent on a war doesn't seem to have hurt the American economy at all.