The American War that Ended in Disaster

The end of America’s war in Afghanistan is a horrible disaster. The U.S. failed to create an army that could defend a democratic country against the Taliban’s guerrilla forces, despite investing $2 trillion for 20 years. President Joe Biden’s leadership is facing domestic and global opposition because he withdrew while upholding only the United States’ national interests, with no strategy for the scenario that unfolded.

When looked at solely in terms of the U.S., the words “national interest” and the statement, “How many more — how many thousands more of America’s daughters and sons are you willing to risk?” are persuasive. But Biden only sees one thing and fails to see that the world’s interests are U.S. interests. Though Biden had a good point, he received criticism because he failed to predict the disaster. It’s as if human lives are being abandoned to Taliban violence because of national interests. Biden disregarded the fact that every life is as precious as one’s own life.

The U.S., excluding World War I and II, has lately ended wars in failure. The U.S. supported Chiang Kai-shek’s army when he fought Mao Zedong, but was not aware of corrupt weapons sales made to Mao. Just as Gen. Douglas MacArthur was trying to end the Korean War, U.S. President Harry Truman fired him. Even after dropping innumerable bombs in the Vietnam War, it was declared a disgrace.

Now that the war in Afghanistan has ended, we can draw parallels between it and these previous wars. First, the inability to identify the looseness of social, cultural and religious characteristics and morals on the battlefield; second, the inability to predict the disaster of a hasty withdrawal after only thinking about the U.S.’ political calculations and national interests; third, the failure to consider the connection between the interests of the country and the interests of the world. The world isn’t an organization of separate countries, but is a connected community.

The world needs world ethics. Just as one has one’s own ethics, the world has global ethics. As of today, the crisis of the global environment is not one country’s crisis, but the world’s crisis. When one country releases excessive carbon emissions, it becomes the whole world’s crisis. Currently, because of COVID-19 the whole world is exchanging pain; it’s well known that just because one country defends against COVID-19 doesn’t make it an effective defense. My problem is your problem, and your problem is my problem.

The U.S. was born as a large country. It’s more like a miniature version of the world than just a country. The reason the U.S. became a superpower is because Europe and people around the world gathered and cooperated. It is because of everyone in the world that the U.S. is wealthy. Because of this, the U.S. must think of the world’s problems as its own problems and must act as the police — there could be a debate about standards and methods — and attend to the world as if it’s for its own benefit.

Unfortunately, Biden, who withdrew troops without much thought, created the problem of Afghan refugees and is considering sharing this burden with global allies, despite knowing it will be a nuisance. Afghan refugees are dealing with the problems of their religious background, the prospect of Islamic law, and where they should settle and make their new homes. When considering temporary if not permanent settlement, the issue of eventually returning to Afghanistan is a problem that must also be considered. Applying an Israel-like model in a spacious area within the global village could be a possibility. The Korean government must also consider this point.

In the end, the United States Department of Defense and American strategists must reconsider the United States’ history with world wars and develop a strategy that fulfills its responsibilities to the world. Either change the Taliban or extinguish them. If it doesn’t work out, I hope the United States’ plan is not one that says, “That’s the way it is.”

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