Conundrum of Afghanistan
By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.
America and the world were caught with surprise by the swift capture of Kabul by the Taliban. The rapid change of events in Afghanistan has led my thoughts to contemplate the historical significance of Philippe Petain, Charles de Gaulle, Chaing Kai-shek and Mao Tse Tung. All four played important roles developing the history of World War II and its resulting aftermath.
Depending upon one’s point of view, I suppose some would view President Ashraf Ghani and his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, as playing the role personified by Philippe Petain in Vichy France. Then looking further one may wonder: Where is the Afghan equivalent of Charles de Gaulle and the Free French? Strangely enough, some might cast the Taliban as the equivalent of the Free French. Obviously, this would not be the American point of view. So let us now examine an American perspective through the prism of the history of World War II. In particular let us consider the roles played by Chaing Kai-shek and Mao Tse Tung in the Chinese response to Japan’s invasion of China during World War II.
Chinese resistance to the invasion of their country by Japan was fragmented. The Kuomintang, led by Chaing Kai-shek, hated the communists, led by Mao Tse Tung, more than they hated the Japanese. Historians have revealed that the Kuomintang took weapons and equipment, given to them by the Americans to fight the Japanese, and instead sold that hardware to the Japanese. Consider that President Joseph Biden sees the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for America to “Build Back Better.” But, no infrastructure was destroyed by the pandemic, and economic business cycles occur frequently, often with no rhyme nor reason. Obviously, one must conclude that what President Biden intends is to build back better America’s priorities. This is an evolutionary, as opposed to revolutionary, form of regime change.
A large fraction of the American people would see an invasion of the United States by China, or any other socialist superpower, as an opportunity to topple the established order and create a new America. If the American military were not successful in repelling an invasion of the continental United States then, in the ensuing anarchy that would result from capture of the nation’s capitol, we would see a fragmented resistance arise. Obviously, the best strategy for a hostile power intent upon conquering the United States would be to destroy the nation’s capitol so as to cause America’s resistance to lose its national coordination. American resistance would then devolve upon the Governors of the state capitols and their ability to coordinate their defense efforts with one another. Eventually this resistance would consolidate into two groups similar to what occurred in China after its invasion by Japan. Those two groups would likely formulate themselves similarly along the lines of the current political division in the United States of Blue versus Red.
Would the Blues hate the Reds more than the invading Chinese? Perhaps. Nobody expected Chiang Kai-shek to sell American weaponry to the Japanese. Nobody can expect America’s response today to a invasion of the United States to be similar to its response to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. While there has always been animosity raging amongst the American people, America is a much different country today than it was in December 1941.
Our political leaders focus on the strategy of uniting the American people by indicating a foreign adversary. That strategy still works well. Although not as well as it did in times past. But the distinction I am drawing upon now is what would happen when the situation becomes dire, …very dire. Nobody expected Adolf Hitler to dance before the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Nobody expected anything other than the highest loyalty to France from the Hero of Verdun. Although nobody expects America to confront similar circumstances, nobody knows how Americans would act under such circumstances.
President Ghani fled Kabul to avoid bloodshed. Apparently, he meant his own blood. Where is the Resistance? Where is the Government-in-Exile? I agree with President Biden that America should have left Afghanistan promptly. I reject the argument that America should have waited until Winter. The Taliban did not defeat the Afghan army. The Afghan army did not resist. The uncomfortable truth is that America expended its blood and treasure to support a western style democracy in Afghanistan when the vast majority of the people would prefer an Islamic republic. Whether or not they prefer the Taliban to control that Islamic republic is another matter. But the simple fact is that an Islamic republic is their preference over what America tried to give to them.