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As US military sticks to airport, British and French forces are rescuing their citizens in Kabul: reports

FJAG

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Once we have our embassy staff/contractors out, contracted support like interpreters & citizens working for NGO’s out, and as many vulnerable people as possible out. At what point does our duty of care end?
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I don't think we ever really had a duty of care. The objective was to take out a hostile government that gave shelter to international terrorist under some twisted interpretation of Melmastya and Nanawate. That was done with minimal collateral damage. The Taliban never ran an effective government for Afghanistan. At best it introduced a system of extremist ideology which provided a veneer of security. There was nothing that the West caused that imposed a "duty" on the West to try to fix the whole country unlike WW2 where the Allies activities caused large amounts of unnecessary damage to the civilian infrastructure of numerous countries.

I think KevinB is touching on the two elements here 1) a heightened sense of do-gooderness and 2) a desire to enhance our own security by controlling what happens elsewhere. I disagree entirely that this started in the Clinton era. It goes back to the immediate post-WW2 era and Harry Truman and various bi-partisan US governments since then which involved themselves to various degrees of regime change and nation building as defence and security initiatives. WW2 took the US out of its protectionist and isolationist mode in exchange for the position of the World's superpower and policeman. Initially that was an anti-communist stance but it morphed into a wider thing (right up to and including Reagan's invasion of Grenada). Vietnam was a major punt in the groin for them but, like all failures, memories of what went wrong has faded.

We keep fantasizing about "exit strategies" but what we are really talking about is "quick exit strategies" and in reality there aren't any. There are still forces in Korea after almost seventy years of stability. Despite drawdowns, can the US ever really leave? We are still in Europe after almost eighty years facing an old but morphed foe and, despite drawdowns, can NATO's non-European partners ever leave? Can we ever really leave any place where, for whatever reason, we've chosen to interfere? The question is risk. How much treasure are we willing to risk to stay in a failed/failing state and enhance stability and security in a world of competition if not outright hostility? How much security are we willing to risk by leaving such a state?

I don't think we ever have a duty of care when we do involve ourselves in such a situation. We have a duty of self preservation. We have a duty of care to our own population to ensure we only get involved when our national interests are at risk and similarly we have a duty to become involved and to stay involved for as long as is necessary to ensure our own security. That was actually an easier matter to deal with while there were only state actors involved - you solved the problem by eliminating the state or its leadership. The problem is infinitely more complex once you start to have to deal with non-state ideologies. That's why we need strong centrist leadership. Extremists of both the left and the right too often loose the bubble when evaluating if the "national" interest is truly at risk or whether its just their own extreme sense of ideology that is being threatened. We also need to become much, much better at surgical intervention when the need arises.

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