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Western meddling never helps anyone

We were “right to get the hell out of Afghanistan”, says Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times. In fact, “we should never have gone in”. It is an iron law: neoliberal meddling in the Middle East and beyond has always been murderous and lethal. It’s no use saying “we had jolly good intentions, and so sorry about the mess”. Try telling that to the 240,000 people, including 70,000 civilians, who’ve been killed since the West’s “helpful intervention” in Afghanistan. In Iraq, 450,000 locals died in a war that led to the formation of Islamic State, and thus more slaughter.

Nowhere has ended up better off for our help – “not Iraq nor Afghanistan, not Libya nor Syria nor Somalia”. And they don’t want us there. No one says this, but one reason the Taliban are advancing so rapidly is “that they have quite a lot of public support”. It is a grotesque fallacy that these countries “desire a nice liberal democracy, perhaps run by someone like Nick Clegg, LGBT-sensitive, lots of wind turbines”. They palpably do not. The consequences for us are the importation of terrorism from radical Muslims who “somehow, goodness knows why, feel aggrieved by our helpfulness”. Most of the comments I read in the press bemoan our “betrayal” in withdrawing. When will we learn we’re not welcome?