This might just be the most important factor in the Afghan humiliation — the fact that the US, and the West more broadly, clearly lacks the cultural resources necessary for a clash of civilisations.
This wasn’t just a territorial battle, a fight over the land of Afghanistan. It was also a cultural clash. It was a war between one side that has very strong beliefs and is more than willing to die for them, and another side that doesn’t know what it stands for anymore and would rather avoid risk and self-sacrifice if at all possible. I’ll leave you to decide which of these is the Taliban, and which the US.
Cannot have it both ways:
This was always the West’s problem in Afghanistan: it lacked faith in the very values it claimed to be delivering to that benighted country.
On the one hand the West asserts that it is better:
We will liberate women from life under the burqa, Western officials said…. We will replace your intolerant Islamist system with a civil society fashioned by clever professors, the West promised. …
On the other hand, it piously claims it’s not better:
But isn’t it ‘Islamophobic’ to criticise the burqa, or any other Islamic practice for that matter? Our elites have insisted for years that it is. … Isn’t it judgemental and possibly a tad racist – certainly an offence against the ideology of multiculturalism – to imply that Western democracy is superior to Islamist theocracy? As one British think-tank says, in its definition of the term ‘Islamophobia’, it is wrong to suggest that Islam is in any way ‘inferior to the West’….
How can you assert the civilisational authority of Western values when your entire educational and university system is devoted to questioning and demeaning Western civilisation?
You cannot partake in a clash of civilisations if you loathe your own civilisation. …
The Taliban will have watched as the mighty American military became bogged down in discussions of critical race theory and the problem of ‘white rage’. …
They will know that the contemporary West is shame-faced about its history and its civilisational values and lacks ideas for how to turn its fragile youths into a fighting force, and they will understand their own life-and-death devotion to Sharia as being the opposite to all of this. They know this was a cultural clash as well as a military fight, and that they were by far the stronger side on this front. …
An intolerant Islamist army gains in strength and plots its return to power while the American and British armies obsess over how to become more trans-inclusive, which gender pronouns to use (the Royal Air Force’s list includes ‘ze’, ‘per’ and ‘hir’), how to make training exercises more inclusive of ‘snowflakes’, and how to fight wars without offending the enemy.
Who can forget when US navymen wrote ‘Hijack this, fags’ on a bomb destined for Afghanistan and all hell broke loose? Such ‘spontaneous acts of penmanship’ are completely unacceptable, said the then US rear admiral.
The Taliban was fighting to the death for its theocratic vision — the West was squabbling over offensive words.
We lose. Thanks “progressives.”