Afghanistan Was Always Going to End This Way

I understand that Afghanistan is falling into what is sure to be a heart-breaking mess as the Taliban quickly rolls up the country in a way that is quite reminiscent of South Vietnam falling to the North in the 1970s.   The rapid collapse of the Afghani government after the exit of most American troops will be used by many as evidence that we shouldn't have left, or that we left too soon.  In my mind, it's the opposite.

We have had 20 years to try to build a sustainable non-Taliban regime in Afghanistan and have clearly totally failed.  Again, we have failed to do so in a way that is surprisingly similar to our failures in South Vietnam (though at least without sustained bombing of population centers).  Holding on in Afghanistan has taken on the aspect of holding down a dead-man's switch on a bomb.  We seem unable to defuse it, but as long as we are willing to sit there, the bomb doesn't go off.  In this context, it should surprise no one that the bomb went off when we got up and left.

The silver lining is that given time and space to find their own way without a million foreign troops on their soil, the Vietnamese have steadily improved their country and the lot of their people.  Vietnam sits above Russia, Greece, and South Africa (and probably California) in the recent economic freedom rankings.

This does not mean that the Afghan people are not going to suffer over the next years and decades.  They will.  I feel for them.  But its clear to me at least the the US occupation is a dead end.  If liberty and prosperity ever come to the Afghani people, it will have to come through a different path.

Update:  Well, maybe not exactly this way.  I wrote this referring to the collapse of the Afghan government we had selected and propped up.  Clearly the ridiculous mistakes made on our exit that left Americans and our vulnerable friends without a clear path or plan for exit were not inevitable.