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Repercussions of Afghanistan

August 30th, 2021

Left-wing and liberal commentators believe that the Afghanistan crisis is the collective responsibility of the West. A conservative columnist think that since Western norms cannot be exported, the creation of multicultural societies in the West is also doomed to fail.

In Népszava, Mária Gál writes that the crisis in Afghanistan is the responsibility of the entire West, and particularly NATO members. The left-wing commentator recalls that all NATO members took part in the Afghanistan war, as well as the training of the Afghan military which handed the country over to the Taliban without putting up a fight. Gál adds that no one raised concerns when President Trump brokered a deal with the Taliban and set out the roadmap for US withdrawal. Gál dares to hope, however, that after the terrorist attack in Kabul, the Taliban will also consider the so-called Islamic State group as an enemy, and try to become ‘part of the civilized world’. If they do not, it will signal the defeat of the West by Islamists, Gál concludes.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Boróka Parászka accuses the ‘West’ and the international community of not defending women in Afghanistan. The left-liberal pundit fears that, similarly to the Armenian genocide in 1915, emancipated, educated Westernized women will become the primary targets of the Taliban. Parászka believes that the West should have secured an emergency exit opportunity for these women long ago.

Magyar Hírlap’s Dániel Deme surmises that the most important lesson of the Afghanistan debacle is that societies without commonly shared collective, historical values fall apart. The conservative columnist likens efforts to export democracy to Afghanistan to Western efforts to create multicultural societies. In both utopias, people should live together without professing common beliefs and values, Deme contends. In an aside, he suggests that the ‘missionaries of an open society’ who failed to introduce an open society in Afghanistan criticize Hungarians for rejecting their ‘dogmas’ in democratic elections. He goes so far as to claim that offering refuge to Afghans threatened by the Taliban would be akin to a ‘forced cultural marriage’ that would in itself create suffering for Afghans.

Magyar Narancs in a first page editorial writes that both the anti-colonial Left and the ‘cultural relativist’ Right interpret the Afghanistan crisis as an utter failure of the export of democracy. The liberal weekly accuses such critics of turning a blind eye to the suffering of citizens under despotic regimes – as long as the West can broker lucrative deals with them. Magyar Narancs hopes that the US and its allies will defend at least the Kurdish Autonomous Region in northern Iraq, which it describes as the last somewhat democratic island in the region.