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Point of View: Let’s Build Our Nation

Wed, 08/25/2021 - 18:35

Perhaps the calamitous, horrific end to the endless war in Afghanistan will finally persuade us that a liberal democracy cannot be grafted through force of arms onto societies we view as retrograde when it comes to our professed ideals, which, I should add, often seem more honored in the breach than in the observance.

(It is ironic that as we try to convince the world of the blessings of democracy, it seems to be hanging by a thread here — see the recent restrictions of voting rights by a number of states, not to mention the past administration’s entire tenure.)

The Taliban leaders have said they’ve changed, that they’re only moderate fanatics now, but, as Mary’s often said, “words are cheap.” Don’t be surprised if the floggings, stonings, and hackings off of offending members, for starters, continue apace.

It is unconscionable that we have raised some people’s hopes to such a degree only to see them crushed just as surely, perhaps, as were those who desperately clung to the wings and wheel wells of the de parting cargo plane at the Kabul airport the other day.

It goes without saying that we should take in all those who helped us.

I wondered what to think of our intelligence agencies until I learned that apparently little attention was being paid by officialdom to what was being predicted when it came to the endgame, which, of course, is also worrisome, especially when you consider that within the intelligence agencies themselves there was disagreement. Some say it might not be so bad, some say it will be worse. Nobody’s saying it will be good.

Which is pretty much the way it is nowadays. Since we can’t make converts of the world, we should do the best we can at home to show others that our reach when it comes to our ideals is within our grasp, and — this is no brief for isolationism —  we should protect and project these ideals through example and through diplomatic means chiefly, preferably in concert with those who also believe that a free and open society is worth striving for.

Enough, though, with the nation-building.

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