Liberal democracy must occasionally be upheld by military force, says Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic. US and British politicians have said there was “no military solution” in Afghanistan, but that’s not true. The military solution was to win, and the Taliban has been waiting a long time to do so. Yet many in the liberal democratic world find military intervention “too distasteful or too expensive”. They pretend we can resolve conflicts with “talks”, “diplomacy” and “UN declarations” instead.
The fall of Kabul will cause US allies to question “whether their own liberal society is safe” under American protection. Taiwan is particularly vulnerable. It’s also a reminder that while we may be tired of “forever wars”, other nations aren’t. The West has enemies in Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China, all of which see liberal democracy as a “dangerous ideology” that needs to be defeated. They will not hesitate to use violence to do so. We may wish otherwise, but in the real world we must sometimes use guns to defend our ideals.