As President Biden winds down the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, Trump’s tribe has put him on the defensive. This is true, notwithstanding the fact that Biden is simply continuing a withdrawal started by Trump himself.
From the outset, our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were recipes for disaster. Unlike our invasion of France in World War II, we were not called into these two countries to liberate them from an outside invader. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq because of an attack that occurred in the U.S. Our success in both campaigns depended upon generating support from the locals. That, in turn, depended upon their uniting with us against a common enemy. That level of unity was never achieved.
Decades later, as the U. S. leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban are quickly taking control. There are many reasons that the Taliban will succeed where we failed. They are local. They are well-funded and supplied by Pakistan, their next-door neighbor. Unlike the U.S., Pakistan has not invaded Afghanistan. It is simply letting the Taliban do the fighting with Pakistan’s money and supplies. The Taliban are also supported by many of the tribal leaders across the land. For that reason, towns and tribes simply surrender peacefully and submit to Taliban rule.
The Taliban’s goal to restore Sharia law resonates well with Islamic fundamentalists. For that reason, the Taliban finds widespread acceptance among the tribes.
As the war wore on, it became more and more apparent that there was never going to be enough unity among the locals to defeat the Taliban, and that we were never going to make it happen. Given those facts, Trump’s decision to withdraw makes sense.
Biden’s problem is that he now owns the withdrawal. Many Afghan locals who supported the U.S. are being left behind to face retribution from the Taliban. How Biden handles the extraction of our local supporters is going to be a major factor in his legacy as President. Some of the talking heads are already calling the withdrawal “a stain” upon Biden’s presidency. Biden’s success or failure is going to have an impact on other Democrats who are running for office.
If Biden is to control the damage inflicted by the current situation in Afghanistan, he needs to let the nation know that he has a plan to extract our local supporters, and that he is getting them out of harm’s way.
Unfortunately, Democrats are notoriously lacking in the PR department. Despite the great economy, they are losing ground as the off-year elections approach. If Biden’s supporters stay away from the polls, the new voting laws will guarantee that Democrats lose state-wide elections as well as seats in the House of Representatives. Losing those elections means that Biden will face a Republican Congress. If McConnell becomes Senate Majority Leader, even if the Democrats hang onto the House, Biden’s programs will be blocked at every turn.
What’s worse, if Trump gets elected in 2024, the balance of power among the branches of government will be in serious jeopardy. The importance of keeping governmental power in balance cannot be overstated. Based upon his actions after he lost in November 2020, Trump will overthrow the U.S. government in the blink of an eye in order to stay in power. If Trump and his supporters return to power, we can kiss the U.S. Constitution goodbye. The same goes for our system of checks and balances. Mitch McConnell, an equally power-hungry politician, teamed up with Trump and instituted two-man rule for the four years in which he and Trump ran the White House and the Senate.
The bottom line is that the Democrats had better get their act together, and soon. Nancy Pelosi and the far left need to learn that pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered. We are a nation of moderates. Extremes alienate both progressives and conservatives. Let’s hope that we can reverse the damage of the Trump era and move toward a more inclusive nation. To get there is going to entail a great deal of give and take by all of us.
Although it seems a bit out of fashion these days, our state motto, “Wisdom, Justice and Moderation,” makes a great deal of sense. So does the line from “America, The Beautiful:”
“Confirm thy soul in self-control/Thy liberty in law.”