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July 20, 2021 49 min
Twenty years and counting. 800 billion dollars spent. Over 2,000 US service members killed. America, Canada and NATO’s longest war is finally coming to a close as troops begin to withdraw from their bases in Afghanistan this summer. While fully three quarters of Americans applaud President Biden’s decision to pull out ground troops completely, many security experts are sounding the alarm. Leaving Afghanistan without a secure national government and strong army in place, they warn, will almost certainly lead to a Taliban takeover, ethnic cleansing, mass slaughter, and the destabilization of a country that has long been a regional powder keg. It’s a risky move that would destroy the West's credibility as an ally at the very moment China is on the rise as a global player. Also, without a foreign military presence, the very real risk exists that Al-Qaeda will use the country again as a base to expand their recruitment and plan terror attacks against the US and its allies. Others see 20 years of fighting and little to show for it. The Taliban remains a major force in the country and controls more territory now than it did in 2001. Efforts to build up Afghan forces, install a stable government, and curb corruption ended in failure at great expense of blood and treasure. America, NATO and the West can no longer afford to be Afghanistan's policeman. It’s time to end a conflict that is no longer in the national interest. Arguing for the motion is Elliot Ackerman, former US Marine and intelligence officer and best-selling author of 2034: a novel of the next world order Arguing against the motion is Andrew Bacevich, President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and author of After the Apocalypse, America’s Role in a World Transformed QUOTES: ELLIOT ACKERMAN “The current policy in which the US forfeits the entire enterprise is strategically ill-advised and nearsighted, particularly given current costs, which are relatively minor.” ANDREW BACEVICH “Afghans don't want to be occupied by foreign armies. Afghans want to be the masters of their own fate. I think we should allow them to exercise that privilege.” Sources: NBC, ABC, BBC, MSNBC, Democracy Now! The host of the Munk Debates is Rudyard Griffiths -?@rudyardg. ? Tweet your comments about this episode to?@munkdebate?or comment on our Facebook page? To sign up for a weekly email reminder for this podcast, send an email to? To support civil and substantive debate on the big questions of the day, consider becoming a Munk Member at? Members receive access to our 10+ year library of great debates in HD video, a free Munk Debates book, newsletter and ticketing privileges at our live events. This podcast is a project of the Munk Debates, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to fostering civil and substantive public dialogue -? The Munk Debates podcast is produced by Antica, Canada’s largest private audio production company -? ? Executive Producer: Stuart Coxe, CEO Antica Productions Senior Producer: Ricki Gurwitz Editor: Kieran Lynch Associate Producer: Abhi Raheja
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