As news of the Taliban takeover of Kabul trickled in, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rushed to speak to CNN.
“This is not Saigon,” he said, handing over the receipt for the inevitable comparison between helicopters carrying officials from the US embassy in the Afghan capital to the city’s airport with diplomats shaken. of the capital of southern Vietnam as communist forces in the north conquered it. , in 1975.
The wars of September 11 are not the conflict in Vietnam, but both were lost by the United States – which, by the way, has become an uncomfortable routine for the world’s greatest military power.
The government of Joe Biden has decided to fulfill a poorly sewn agreement by his predecessor, Donald Trump, supported by polls which show the absolute boredom of the average American with a war that today means nothing to him.
Indeed, 20 years after the invasion and a decade after the assassination of Osama bin Laden, it was politically difficult to justify a constant presence in Afghanistan.
Since announcing the acceleration of the withdrawal until August 31, Biden has repeatedly said that the Afghan problems must be resolved by the people of the country.
The Taliban took the advice seriously, tore up promises to sit at the table with puppet Ashraf Ghani and, in a massive blitzkrieg, humiliated a well-equipped Afghan army over the past two weeks.
The end of the modern Brazilian Super Tucano attack aircraft donated by the US Air Force to the government in Kabul is an unknown symbol that symbolizes the helplessness of Washington’s national reconstruction strategy.
Perhaps the Taliban will become the first Islamic fundamentalist group with an air force in the world, in addition to inheriting hundreds of modern armored vehicles and armored vehicles, as well as weapons supplied by the Americans. to their allies.
There was clearly a misunderstanding of political processes in a country where tribal relations set the tone for day-to-day details.
The truly powerful figures of the western democratic theater in the country were simply the same warlords who fought against the Soviets, against each other, against and for the Taliban. People like Ismail Khan, now held by the Taliban, or Abdul Rashid Dostum, who disappeared from Kabul on Sunday (15).
The imposition of two unpopular presidents elected in very nebulous races, Hamid Karzai and Ghani, has only made this misunderstanding explicit. They were people with no political base – the current ruler only returned to the country in 2001, having lived in the United States his entire life.
Perhaps packing his bags was the only option for Biden, the fourth president to tend this vine. But despite the fact that he is ultimately not responsible for the mess, a work of two decades, it is clear that the invoice will remain on his desk.
If Afghanistan returns to a spiral of brutality against women and minorities, which the Taliban incredibly says will not happen, Biden will be charged. If the country becomes a Chinese protectorate, perhaps shared with the Russians, Turks and Americans, ditto.
If for some reason there is a reorganization of forces against the Taliban and civil war breaks out, the US president will be responsible for it, even if he has nothing to do with the decisions made there by George W. Bush, who needed a clear enemy to strike after 9/11.
Ultimately, if Afghanistan once again becomes a safe haven for terrorists willing to blow up targets in the West or behead unsuspecting visitors, it will be the United States the world will turn to.
That “nation building” projects, building a nation based on democratic principles, were nonsense, Iraq had already clearly proven. Kabul in the hands of the Taliban is a snake that finally bit its tail.
This is part of a geopolitical context. It is no coincidence that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping always turn to allies and clients who do not care about the color of their regime. So far, the West has lost this war.
The potential for political catastrophe for the Democrat is quite high, even if all goes more or less well: that is, if the Taliban manages to form a government that integrates part of the previous administration and leaves it behind. stands by what it promised last year in terms of respect for human rights.
Afghan history does not allow much optimism about this possibility, even if the local society is not the same after 20 years of contact with the West and with the experience of having previously unknown freedoms. .
It remains to be seen whether she will have the strength to resist the proverbial burqa that the Taliban may wish to impose on her. If you don’t have it, you’ll have someone in the White House to blame.