People are fond of saying that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. Historically speaking, this is true—Alexander the Great, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and now the United States of America have all failed in their geopolitical efforts there.
Often, “experts” attribute this failure to the courageous and noble tribes of Afghanistan who are committed to defeating the invading armies of the West. In reality, when empires go to die on Afghanistan’s plains, it is not the mujahidin’s sword or bullet that kills them. It is their own hubris that keeps them on those plains while they bleed out from mostly self-inflicted wounds.
From 1979 through 1989, the Soviet Union fought in Afghanistan. A Soviet client state at the time, Afghanistan was embroiled in a struggle between large swaths of the country’s people and the unpopular communist government.
To prop up this government, the Soviets deployed combat forces directly into Afghanistan. For the next decade, the Soviets and their well-trained and equipped Afghan Army were pitted against a ragtag coalition of Afghan and foreign Islamic mujahideen. Their Afghan experience went about as well as ours.
In May 1988, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev ordered the military to begin a complete withdrawal of all Soviet combat forces. With considerable fanfare and celebration that belied the embarrassment of their defeat, the last Soviet armored convoys rolled across a bridge over the Amu Darya River into Uzbekistan in February 1989.
The next three years for the Soviet Union were marked by increasing civil and political unrest and the progressive disintegration of its territory. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned the presidency, the Soviet Union officially dissolved, and the Soviet flag was permanently lowered from the Kremlin.
When the Ruling Class Goes South
The catalyst for the Soviet Union’s fall was widely attributed to their military loss in Afghanistan. The dissolution of the union, however, was due to a number of internal issues: political revolution between the “old guard” political class and the Gorbachev reformists, corruption across nearly all Soviet institutions, a failing economy, a lack of confidence domestically and across the Warsaw Pact states in the ability of the Soviet Union to fulfill its political and economic promises, and the inability of the Soviet central planners to deliver the barest essentials to ordinary Soviet citizens. In 1989, there were two classes of Soviet citizens: the ruling class and everyone else.
The Soviets’ ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan pulled the curtain back on the myriad failures of the Soviet state. It laid bare the glaring truth that there was no benefit or future for client states to maintain the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Soviet ruling class was unfit to lead and uninterested in the purported values and principles of socialism.
America is currently suffering its own humiliating Afghanistan defeat and messy withdrawal. The whole-of-government approach to failure in a 20-year, $2 trillion fraud and money-laundering scheme has resulted in an epiphany for Americans: their country is ruled by crooks, liars, and thieves.
The abysmal failure of America’s once-vaunted and widely respected military to even face the truth of its own incompetence heaps salt on the wounds of this epiphany. What country leaves thousands of its own citizens behind enemy lines to fend for themselves, with nothing more than an apathetic shrug of its shoulders? A country ruled by arrogant fools looking to line their own pocketbooks and who care little or nothing for the citizens that are their nation’s raison d’être, that’s who.
What This Means for Our Future
What does the American failure in Afghanistan portend for the future of America? America, like the Soviet Union in 1989, is facing an internal political and cultural revolution that has divided the nation and brought it to the brink of civil war. Our national institutions are corrupt, ineffective, and out of touch with regular America. Our government is bent on subduing the ordinary citizens it views as its greatest enemy.
If there was any doubt about the illegitimacy of this police state, one only need look at the FBI’s latest fabricated terror plots or the Department of Homeland Security’s alarmingly evidence-free security warnings that we, the people are the main enemy of America. Expect to see DHS warnings that Americans who are unhappy with the United States’ wholesale surrender and foreign policy incompetence are potential terrorists. America is now a clown show where everyone who doesn’t clap is labeled a terrorist.
The military, the intelligence community, academia, journalism—the list of institutions plagued by moral bankruptcy and Baghdad Bob-level f-ckery goes on and on and on. Few Americans have confidence in America. Pile on a huge helping of COVID-19 hysteria, lockdowns, mounting shortages in housing and basic consumer goods, a quickly growing income gap between society’s poor and wealthy, and all-around lies and gaslighting—America is in trouble.
Like with the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, our defeat there has exposed the nation’s failed leadership busy looting and wrecking what is left of our country. We can now see that we are led by the worst of humanity—a collection of garbage elites, tyrants, and political grifters. Like the Soviets before us, there are two only two classes in modern America: the ruling class, and everyone else.
Not only can we now finally see our dysfunction, our adversaries can too. They are laughing at the weakness of America and will likely take advantage of it in the near future. These are dangerous times. If our garbage elite drive us into a collapse or into war against a modern enemy, it is we ordinary Americans who will suffer.
Time to Clean House
What can Americans do about our current predicament? How do we keep our nation from meeting the same fate as the other empires in the graveyard?
We have to get up off the couch and do some badly needed house cleaning. We must get our house in order while we still have the chance—before America becomes a fire-sale nation bought up by the Chinese and kicked around by the world’s petty dictatorships. We need to replace and repair the broken elements of our culture and governance, and we need to start both at home and in Washington, DC.
The greatest threat to America is the current leadership in DC. They are the epitome of Dunning-Kruger syndrome and are immune to shame or hypocrisy. They will not leave of their own accord, because in their minds, they deserve to rule us.
Don’t be confused by thinking this is a Republican versus Democrat thing. This is an America versus the uniparty of failed elites thing.
An American Yellow Vest Movement
As Rod Dreher writes, we need an American yellow vest movement. Americans should get into the streets to demand the resignations of the Biden administration’s entire national security apparatus.
This includes, but is not limited to, the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, secretary of state, director of national intelligence, the entire National Security Council, the leadership of the Department of Justice, and the president himself. If we are to survive as a nation, it is imperative that the individuals responsible for this abomination are held accountable by the people.
America still has a semblance of representative governance. We the people must now exercise our citizen responsibilities while we still can. If we cannot muster the strength of will to put our house in order, we will be complicit in our own demise. Like the Soviet Union that collapsed under the weight of its own corruption and incompetence, America will doom itself to a similar end.
Our experience in Afghanistan has not broken us. Rather, this experience has identified to the American people the cancer that is killing our nation. It has shown us what we need to do.
If we fail now, it will be from our own moral cowardice to put our nation back in order. That cowardice is being demonstrated to a world that is watching and marveling at the speed this once great beacon of liberty has fallen from grace.