By Joel Bleifuss, In These Times

Imperial ambitions in Afghanistan have once again been thwarted. This time, it’s the Americans who slunk off in defeat — or ​“withdrawal,” as President Joe Biden calls it. In 1992 it was the Soviets who withdrew from Afghanistan, and in 1842, 1880 and 1919, during the Anglo-Afghan Wars, the British. The grandiose plans for ​“nation building” long forgotten, in the end, winning the war proved too much.

Afghanistan reteaches an old lesson about imperial blowback. Empires don’t last, but their legacies do. Since World War II people around the world continue to deal with the fallout of U.S. covert operations and military interventions — in Chile, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Indonesia, Vietnam, Congo, Somalia, Israel and Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan, to name a few.

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