There’s an old salesman tip that still applies today: Don’t talk yourself out of the sale.
What it means is, stop selling when the customer says they want to buy. The longer your mouth flaps, the greater the likelihood that you’ll say something that makes them change their minds.
A similar situation has developed with the 19-year U.S. war in Afghanistan. We won long ago, but we won’t accept the victory.
Anyone remember why we invaded the Middle Eastern country in the first place? It was because the Taliban that controlled most of the nation had allowed Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization to set up sanctuaries to house and train international terrorists. Once trained, they killed more than 3,000 Americans in coordinated attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon.
Then-President George W. Bush’s goal was, therefore, to shut down the sanctuaries and bring bin Laden and other 9/11 planners to justice. He accomplished the first goal in the initial wave of battle in 2001. The U.S. Military, CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and other agencies killed or brought each and every one of the plotters to justice. And then we killed bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
But that wasn’t enough for our war-loving government leaders. The mission got broadened to bring democracy to an ancient nation that had never had any experience with a Western form of government. We rebuilt the country and armed and trained the nation’s military over the next 19 years at the cost of a trillion dollars or so. And they still don’t have democracy in Afghanistan!
When he became president, Donald Trump vowed to get us out of the business of international policing and eternal wars. He had his work cut out for him. It’s American tradition to enter a country either through invasion or rescue, and to never leave. Think about it. We still have a significant military presence in Japan and Germany, countries we defeated 75 years ago. We’re also still heavily present in South Korea, though armistice called truce to the Korean War in 1953.
Then there’s Syria. The U.S. military joined the fight to defeat ISIS, which had established a foothold in Iraq and Syria. U.S. forces led the successful effort to dislodge the bogus “Islamic State” carved out of both legitimate nations.
Mission accomplished. President Trump, therefore, began to withdraw troops from Syria.
Sounds reasonable, right? But the mainstream media was outraged at how we were “abandoning” the country, turning it over to the Russians. We should be there another 75 years, I suppose.
Similarly, the “experts” think that, despite 19 years of arms and training generously gifted to the Afghan military by U.S. taxpayers, the Middle Eastern nation might not be ready to defend itself yet. The Taliban might take over as soon as we leave.
If the Afghan military and the people of the nation aren’t ready after nearly two decades and a trillion or so in support, when will that change? The real question is, do the people of Afghanistan feel strongly enough about saving their own democracy to successfully defend the country for themselves? Or has the concept of Western democracy fallen on rocky soil where it will be unable to take root after 20 years or 200?
Whatever the answer, it’s not America’s job to be the police force that holds things together in yet another nation for immeasurable time to come.