Our friends in Afghanistan.
I watched a report on CNN with Christian Amanpore with which I completely agreed. (at least with the part I saw). there is a large group of young people that want to join the modern world. They hate the Taliban. they want to join the free world and are willing to fight for it "if only issued the invitation."
Yet we do not issue the invitation. We assume these unspeakable brutes speak for the true Afghanistan.
I think we have been somehow sucked into a belief system that views the cleavage in world politics as being between authentic indigenous cultures and the false, capitalistic, exploitative, phony cultures of the West (or imposed by the West). So when the Taliban attack those manning the voting booths we interpret it as the authentic Afghanistan rejecting the false, inauthentic democracy of the West.
If it happened here we would surely be open to (or indeed, be certain of) the proposition that the people trying to undermine the conduct of an election were not representative of us, indeed it is precisely because they are unrepresentative that they resort to such methods.
The fact is that a small, unrepresentative fringe is trying to impose a 14th century system on a struggling country that has done a lot for us. If ever there were a case for human rights motivated intervention that lined up clearly with real-politic considerations lined up with liberal internationalists principles surely this is it. And yet we have both ends conspiring against the middle to come up with good reasons to abandon the fight.
Make no mistake about what inference the Jihadis will draw from our retreat.