Foreign nations probably won’t trust Western governments again, but we shouldn’t either

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — There’s a direct link between the sheep-in-headlights look on the face of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the wake of the U.S. and NATO drawdown of the war in Afghanistan and the righteous scolding by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of citizens who fail to obey government’s will and risk being punished and segregated from daily life for opting not to take the COVID-19 jab.

The end of the war in Afghanistan and Western governments’ behavior toward their citizens amid the pandemic both underscore the same issues: ineptitude, corruption, lack of trust, blind followers and, ultimately, the risk of deception.

Critics are describing the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as a fiasco. But what if the real problem is that it went mostly according to plan?

Did you catch the look on Blinken’s face as he made the rounds on TV news programs just as it became clear that the Taliban was taking over Afghanistan after more than 20 years of U.S. and NATO occupation? As he was being challenged on the chaotic nature of the drawdown, Blinken seemed surprised. It was hard to tell what he found so stunning — the actual chaos that was ensuing or that those challenging him were so surprised this is what it would look like. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby declined to say that the Taliban advances surprised the Biden administration. How could it have been a surprise? This was the actual plan.

Perhaps the real issue is that the American government didn’t properly prepare its citizens for the optics of withdrawal, leading them to believe in a fairy tale. After all, U.S. officials had been negotiating a deal with the Taliban the last few years, excluding the puppet Afghan government they claimed to support, knowing full well this would be the end result. The puppet government knew it too, which is why the army abandoned ship along with its weapons. Everyone seemed to be in the loop except for the general public, which was caught off guard and somehow believed in the government’s fairy tales of saving the world through permanent occupation.

It didn’t take a cynic to understand two things: that the U.S. and its allies couldn’t stay in Afghanistan forever, shedding blood on foreign soil for increasingly little in return; and that they day they decided to cut their losses, we’d finally realize the extent of how little had been accomplished in Afghanistan despite what had been sold to us over the years in order to keep the spending party going.

When the music eventually stopped on the charade, it would become clear that a few defense contractors got rich at the expense of lost lives, and that the narrative of democracy-building as a justification for continued occupation would prove to be a lie.

So what exactly is the link between that fiasco and the one we’re all current living with the COVID-19 crisis? We’re dealing with the exact same governments that stage-managed the war in Afghanistan, only this time we’re all smack in the middle of their battlefield. Just replace the military-industrial complex with the medical-industrial complex. And rather than national security officials peddling narratives, it’s health officials. But it’s still the same governments running the war on the virus, armed with jabs rather than bombs, assuring us — much like they did the Afghan people — that if we just listened to them, trusted them and did what they want, they’d save us.

Canada’s Trudeau, who just launched a reelection campaign that’s going to amount to a referendum on his government’s handling of the pandemic, has already announced his intentions should he win at the polls on Sept. 20.

“If you don’t want to get vaccinated, that’s your choice, but don’t think you can get on a plane or a train beside vaccinated people and put them at risk,” Trudeau said during a recent appearance.

Apparently, he forgot that vaccinated people can catch and transmit the virus, so the vaccine isn’t the magic bullet he’s making it out to be. Despite this inconvenient fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just given full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, even though clinical trials won’t end until January 2023. The move gives Biden, Trudeau and their European allies an excuse to move forward with vaccine mandates, even as drug safety advocates in the British Medical Journal decry a lack of transparency and due process.

So do we trust our governments like the Afghans did? Do we take their assertions as gospel and place our well-being in their hands? What’s our recourse if they’re wrong? Because these are the exact same people in whom the Afghans believed right up until they found themselves desperately clinging to the wings of evacuation planes.