There’s been a lot of wild speculation in the Western media about what kind of atrocities the Taliban will impose on fellow Afghan citizens. More lucid commentators make a good point about the development of every kind of nation, including and specifically the United States. Arch Bungle explores historic context:
Today there is no knowing the nature of this new Taliban patriotic government but it will reveal its spots in the next week or two. I believe that Afghanistan under the Taliban will follow the same evolutionary cycle that almost every state in the world must follow to reach modernity and some semblance of utopia: There will be many atrocities, barbarities, injustices and tragedies during the next few years, perhaps decades under the Taliban, just like there always is when new states are formed. However, as long as the West (and everyone else too!) stays the hell out of that region the Afghan state will eventually modernise, along with the corresponding improvements in human rights and quality of life. The only thing that can stop this evolutionary path towards a modern, self sufficient government of and for the Afghan people is interference from foreign powers. The kind of interference that would boot them straight back down the evolutionary cycle every time they appear to be making some progress. The US too, emerged from "Rule By Taliban": Picture the stoning/burning/branding of adulterers and 'immoral' women, the Salem witch trials, slavery and the lynching of blacks and others and you'll realise that even "The Greatest Country on Earth" began as something resembling a medieval theocracy. The same with Great Britain and most European countries ... for some reason this is forgotten when it comes to Islamic countries, we in the West demand that they become immediately what we want them to become, on a schedule suitable to us while forgetting that we had thousands of years to learn from similar mistakes and the good fortune to not have our cultural evolutionary cycle interrupted too many times. Given a few decades of peace, barring any further foreign interference, I predict Afghanistan will become a force to be admired.
Optimistic from a Western perspective but certainly on point with the historic comparison. Part of the underlying issue of Westerners judging other societies is that just as Catholic Inquisition we believe that the only path forward for humanity is our own path. Our “secular humanism” has its limitations: there’s more racial strife in the United States than almost anywhere on earth, huge incarceration rates in the United States. In most places in the West we enslave our young people from university age under mountains of debt. The United States and most of its allied governments are pushing hard for the privatisation of health care everywhere. Even in death, citizens will be parted from almost all of their assets, first to the predatory medical system and then to the taxman. What does a dying person care? What if s/he has children or grandchildren who are counting on that $300,000 or $400,000 of medical costs to buy a home for their own family? Yet another family rendered basically rootless.
This is not to say there should be no inheritance taxes. Of course there should. But there should be a fairly high minimal amount to ensure middle class families can continue to be the productive and loyal yeo(wo)men of society. Instead, Western politicians cater to the plutocrats and protect the wealthy from inheritance taxes above a certain threshold.
Westerners have certainly not solved the underlying issues of human civilisation, strife, crime and co-operation. We’ve just papered over the craps and called our neo-feudalism for plutocrats an ideal.
In reply to Arch Bungle, Roger notes this is not the first time the US and the UK have destroyed progress in the Middle East:
Sorry, but you need to actually study the history of the Middle East. In the post-WW2 period many of these nations were well on their way to modernity, including Afghanistan (the socialist regime that was overthrown by the US-backed warlords), as well as Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The West destroyed these and also directly fostered the religious fanatics (as with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan). The Saudi Arabian theocratic monarchy was put in place by the Brits and the US, and they have been the biggest funders of the Wahhabi head-choppers. The Othering of the whole Muslim world is disgusting propaganda. Go visit Malaysia, a Moslem nation or even Iran. You will be surprised by the "modernity" there. The European nations and US only became "civilized" at home, their crimes abroad include concentration camps, Agent Orange, and the bombing of civilian targets to drive countries "back to the Stone Age" (a war crime); something now giving way as seen in France where hand grenades are used to blow off demonstrators hands and rubber bullets to blind them and a US where death by cop is a definite risk and mass shootings happen on a regular basis.
To discredit socialism, Western pundits wasted a lot of paper and now continue to waste a lot of bits maintaining that the natural order of the world is selfishness and economic self-interest. I’m not persuaded. The majority of people I’ve met in my travels around the world are not primarily motivated by money. The majority wish to live in health and peace foremost, respected within their community. Many desire that respect to border on love. In the West, these balanced people are never held up as examples of civilisation and humanity but instead we are supposed to turn our eyes to sociopaths like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Mitt Romney whose only goals from early childhood was to acquire riches and/or power.
Indeed, the question to be posed is could we do any worse? Our only get-out-of-jail-free cards so far have had the images of chaps like Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Augusto Pinochet printed on them. Strangely, these leaders were tolerated and encouraged and supported by our elites for much of their careers, much as we funded and encouraged corrupt Afghan puppet presidents Harmid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani over the last twenty years.
I’m not sure what the West can offer to the world at this point besides selfishness and dysfunction.1
We could throw a dose of empty hedonism in as part of the Western civilisation package at no extra cost but hedonism seems to raise its head under every system. Regardless of their politics, humans do love to eat and drink and fornicate. Our current Western brand of hedonism seems particularly unhealthy and self-destructive, resulting in drug addiction, alcoholism, misery and broken families. ↩