Monday 30 August 2021
Boris Johnson says that the war in Afghanistan was worth it because during its course, there was no terrorist attack in Britain from Afghanistan. But there has never, ever been a terrorist attack in Britain from Afghanistan. Nor in the United States, which was attacked 20 years ago this month from Saudi Arabia.
Yet Britain's Fourth Afghan War has ended in the same defeat as the first three despite having gone on for so long that more than half the population of Afghanistan had not been born when it had started, like a good many of our own final combatants. Merely to prevent a terrorist attack of which there had never been any prospect, anyway.
Where else should we invade, and then wage a generation long war before retreating in abject defeat, purely on the off-chance that it might one day be a launching pad for a terrorist attack on our soil? Nauru? Guinea-Bissau? Where? Why not absolutely anywhere at all?
Our best hope of avoiding such folly is set out by Mary Dejevsky, who explains that many, many Brexit supporters voted Leave as part of a broader desire for Britain to "mind its own business, and stay at home." As she concludes, "Global Britain needs to recognise its limitations."