Afghanistan and America’s Ruling Class 

The sudden collapse of American power in Afghanistan has triggered the usual partisan blamestorming in Washington. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has blamed the Biden Administration. How clueless does a member of the Cheney family have to be to go around assigning blame for Afghanistan? Talking points from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office show that their plan was to blame Donald Trump for everything. Biden went on TV and blamed Trump for the plan Biden abandoned, the Afghan people for being unwilling to fight, and the Good Humor Man for running out of chocolate chocolate chip

There’s going to be a lot to sort out in the weeks and months to come regarding this catastrophe, and all the questions that have been asked are legitimate. Should we have been there in the first place? What was our mission? What does the outcome say about the competence of our military? 

In one sense, this is very clearly a disaster of the Biden Administration’s making. We managed to bobble along in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years before the present administration arrived, with ideas about foreign policy that seem to be no deeper than lecturing America on its faults, flying rainbow flags, and pushing cringy Instagram videos

In another sense, if it’s accountability you want, then it’s time to look in the mirror. We were all part of it, you know. All of us. Republicans and Democrats alike. Did you vote for Bush, Kerry, McCain, Obama, Romney, Hillary, or Biden, or any of the array of primary candidates that are too numerous to mention? You were part of it.

Did you go along with the mission creep that turned a campaign to kill jihadis into an exercise in nation-building? Did you cheer George W. Bush when he talked about Afghan women voting, or Afghan girls learning to read? You were part of it. Did you swallow all of the lies our generals told us about our progress in the region, and about the capabilities of the Afghan military? You were part of it. 

But if you were on the other side, did you notice that your people kept right on doing the same things once the Bushitler was gone? Did you swoon over President Hope-and-Change, whose preferred Middle East diplomacy tactic was the drone strike? Do you remember Cindy Sheehan, the “Gold Star Mom” who was paraded in front of the microphones by the Democrats on every occasion to attack Bush? Do you remember how those same Democrats kicked her to the curb as soon as Obama came into office? You were part of it, too. 

We were all part of it because we believed that there was a meaningful difference between the parties in Washington. There isn’t. Self-proclaimed Republicans and Democrats in real America are different, but not the subspecies of each that prowls the Washington swamps. They go through the motions of disagreeing, but none of it means anything.

There is a ritual of partisan combat in D.C., but it’s just bread and circuses for the masses. Do you remember the foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney during the 2012 election? Read the transcript without the names. Except for a 30-second exchange on Russia, the two were basically indistinguishable. Neoliberal, or neoconservative; does it really make any difference? 

Many people in both parties figured this out, from the Bernie Bros on Twitter to your neighbor who went to the Trump rally. Some people figured it out earlier than others. For me, Angelo Codevilla’s 2010 essay “America’s Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution” and the whole Mitt Romney experience in 2012 were seminal moments. Some figured it out for the wrong reasons, like those on the far Left who basically agreed with our putative enemies that America is the Great Satan. Some figured it out but kept supporting the establishment anyway. 

So we were all part of it. That can’t be changed now. The question is, are you still part of it? Have you learned anything?

The same class of self-interested lying incompetents who brought about this debacle in Afghanistan have spent the last 18 months peddling COVID fear porn and musing about vaccine mandates. And they’re the same people who breathlessly tell us that a couple of grandmas who took a self-guided tour of the Capitol are a greater threat to Our Democracy™ than Antifa goons, the Chinese Communists, and millions of Third-World invaders. If you still trust these people, you haven’t learned anything. If our elites tell you the sun comes up in the east, you should go outside and check. 

For all his faults, Trump was the exception, the only viable alternative to this policy of Progressive Imperialism. The uniparty knew it and went all-out to destroy him. They finally deposed him, and perhaps half the country cheered; because mean tweets. 

If you were one of those who cheered Trump’s ouster and the restoration of the uniparty to power, you’re still part of it. If you’re running around squealing about how this is all the Republicans’ fault, or all the Democrats’ fault, you haven’t learned a damn thing. You’re still the stooge of a ruling class that couldn’t possibly care less about you, your community, or even the United States as a sovereign nation. They govern in your name for their own sakes, and for the sake of a globalist vision that exists to serve themselves and their friends. As far as they are concerned you are to be kept as postmodern serfs: a cheap, disposable, and easily exploited resource pool for their projects.

 

About Kevin Portteus

Kevin Portteus is the Lawrence Fertig Professor of Politics and Director of American Studies at Hillsdale College.

Photo: Gary Miller/WireImage

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