Nation Building Never Works

20 years… Trillions of dollars later… Countless military lives lost…

I never understood why countries do not learn from history. Nation building is only successful when you absolutely take control of EVERYTHING and rebuild it from the ground up. Like Japan after WW2, the US rebuilt a demoralized Japanese population into a functioning democracy. They did so by taking control of the government, minimizing any militaristic threat, and helped the people recover from the ravages of war. But… I don’t think the US did any of that to any degree of success in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s militaristic threat was still present. The new government still clung to the old religious views and clearly corruption still remained. After reading numerous articles and opinions in the past 20 years… I came to the conclusion that the US seemed to be “half-assing” this “nation building exercise.” They never pursued all means necessary to eliminate the Taliban threat completely including leveraging Pakistan to eliminate the Taliban from Pakistani borders. The US also never fully committed to building essential services for the the people. Sure some infrastructure projects were built… but is that truly enough to win over people? If you think about Maslow’s heirarchy… Safety/Security and Survivability/Food comes first. US never provided these two items to all the Afghani people. It’s no wonder there nation building failed.

To be honest and to my surprise, a search of “why did Afghanistan nation building fail” gave me two links (link 1, link 2) and a PDF to read. The two links all point to the need to take control of everything or commit the necessary resources for success. A quick read points to the facts that the US could never have won this war because 1) the scope of the war changed from War on Terror to Nation Building 2) the US political system could never agree on the type and level of support needed. These two major issues limited the resources needed for a complete US domination. Bush Jr never fully was able to commit to a US domination since it would have technically required Congressional support (in both troops and money). So… the war on terror / nation building was doomed for failure from the start. Here’s an interesting VOX article about Biden’s history discussing the Afghan War. Egads…

So what now….? 1) The US should accept any and all females who are seeking refuge/refugee status. 2) The US absolutely must help any and all Afghanis that aided the US troops in the war. 3) Rebuild all the lost reputation and good will from the past 20 years.


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