The spectacular fall of Kabul has shocked everyone with its swiftness. Western media is shrill and chirping about how bad the Taliban is citing a few incidents but they aren’t very alarming yet. The Taliban is in power, not the Gani government propped up by the US. Barring Panjshir, there is no resistance to them which is about tribes not ideology. Compared to Bangladesh in 1971, this is very peaceful. No last stand by Pakistan like the Mirpur event which killed so many.
When two states clash, there is violence at all levels including social but nothing at that scale is visible there. Media is still hoping hyping whatever they get but it hasn’t exploded. But the big story is that three erstwhile enemies- Islam and Communism not to mention invader Russians- have joined hands to overthrow the US and its ideological baggage. It’s a stark lesson in political history but it does show that after a century, the Age of Ideology as state making is nearing its much delayed demise.
The trio in power
The triumvirate- Russia , China and Afghanistan- now present a scenario that would have been difficult to imagine even a few decades back. The US and its pro-democracy/HR lobby have always sold both socialism and Islam/Taliban as anti –democracy-read anti West. Again, Islam was also considered a bulwark against socialism as its activities during the ant-Soviet Mujahedeen shows.
But within months after the inglorious Soviet departure, it was battling “Terror” –read Islam. That was one of the reasons why the Gani gang got support. The US was still fighting socialism even though the ideology based USSR died as a result of its war and the entire inefficient system collapsed and the Soviet Union got reduced to Russia.
The problem is ideology has a bad habit of growing quickly and then dying after a while. If it’s not an external trigger like the USSR in Afghanistan which pushes it over, it’s internal compulsion as in China who turned to market capitalism to push the economy and lift people out of poverty. More or less that command economy etc based model is globally over.
Western ideology is based on the primacy of Europe’s development which is based on colonialism and industrial capital jointly –market capturing through asymmetric competition- while promoting democracy, human rights, elections and so on. However, the world has moved more, going by global evidence towards a more economic and pragmatic governance not ideology. Plus, if the great promoter and vanguard state practices wars as per convenience- Iraq, Afg, Vietnam etc- people tend to become skeptical of the trinkets that are sold along with the supremacist global model. The Statue of Liberty and slavery as a co-product is a tough sell.
All the ideology based models- Islamist, democratic and socialist - have failed to convince people despite use of force and are now on death bed. A practical, functional state model based on rational demand and supply seems to be the one that works best. If the Taliban can hold Russo-China hands, it means a fundamental change indicating doing what works and not what one thinks should. The world is maturing.