With the end of the Cold War, peace was no longer impossible and war became less likely. In the 1990s, the failure of the West to prevent the genocide in Rwanda or the massacres in the Balkans gave fresh impetus to interventionist instincts. Thereafter, the "duty to interfere" became a melting pot for compassion and empathy, post-colonial romanticism or national ambitions.
The status of women
Following September 11 2001, protecting people from despotism and barbarism was increasingly considered a way to protect oneself. With democracy, we brought peace. Nonetheless, this new enthusiasm for interventionist policies overlooked an essential lesson: you cannot save people without their help. For many, the important collateral damage inflicted on civilians is a sign that their lives count less than those of the alleged liberators.
In 2021, the defeat of the West in Afghanistan and - let's face it - the failure of the French in the Sahel open a third chapter in the history of interventions. This chapter resembles the post-Vietnam War order but includes a radically novel element: the arrival of China as a key player.
America's failure is all the more tragic because Afghanistan has made undeniable progress over the past twenty years, in particular concerning education and the rights of women. They will be the main victims of the US’ changing priorities and fierce desire to end its unfortunate adventure in the country.
Beyond Afghan women, there are also 120,000 interpreters and their families who supported the allies over the past years. To abandon them is to condemn them to a certain death. It is our moral responsibility to provide them with asylum and help. An inglorious departure does not necessarily have to be a shameful one.
Copyright: JOHN MOORE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP
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