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For some onlookers, the debacle of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan constitutes an almost cultural defeat. In the phrases of NBC News’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, the fall of the Afghan authorities and the desperate American evacuation represented “the worst capitulation of Western values in our lifetimes” — a statement that earned no shortage of derision from critics of the United States’ pricey, bloody interventions. Yet others shared his sentiment. Speaking to Sky News, a former senior British intelligence official echoed this idea of a civilizational blow: “This marks the pause of an era of Western liberalism and democracy that started with the fall of the Berlin Wall,” the former official said. “It is miles a defeat of Western ideology.”
But among some circles on the far right, the very idea of the Taliban engineering a Western defeat elicited a more or much less glee. After all, an avowedly illiberal, somewhat nationalist militia had outfoxed the up to date American war machine and eventually overwhelmed the enfeebled U.S.-backed Afghan authorities. The supposed ideals wrapped up in two decades of U.S.-led nation-building — from inculcating republican democracy to expanding ladies folks’s rights — collapsed in the face of a tribal resistance circulation more rooted in the nation.
“What went substandard in Iraq and Afghanistan was, first and foremost, the ideas in the heads of the individuals working the demonstrate,” tweeted Yoram Hazony, an Israeli author who’s certainly one of the leading intellectuals of “national conservatism,” a brand of right-coast nationalism that’s reshaping the Republican Party. “Say its name: Liberalism.”
Analysts present a somewhat lengthy-standing tradition of white supremacists voicing admiration for Islamist extremists, no matter their anti-Muslim bigotry. In its weekly bulletin on far-right extremists, the SITE Intelligence Neighborhood illustrious that some individuals saw the Taliban’s victory as “a lesson in like for the homeland, for freedom, and for religion,” while it was also tracking “increasingly violent rhetoric about ‘invasions’ by displaced Afghans.”
On various social media platforms, together with the 4chan message board that is popular with the far right, users crowed over the perceived lessons learned. “These farmers and minimally trained men fought to take their nation back from [Western neoliberals],” wrote a poster on a popular Telegram channel associated with the Proud Boys, a far-right neighborhood with a history of violence whose members participated in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. “They took back their authorities, installed their national religion as law, and achieved dissenters. Hard to no longer respect that.”
“The Taliban is a conservative, spiritual force, the U.S. is godless and liberal,” wrote influential far-right operative Slash Fuentes, who leads a white-supremacist neighborhood and counts at least one Republican congressman as an ally, on his Telegram channel. “The defeat of the U.S. authorities in Afghanistan is unequivocally a sure fashion.”
Somewhat more mainstream voices have also chimed in. Earn. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) described the Taliban as “more legitimate than the last authorities in Afghanistan or the latest authorities right here.” His feedback mirrored right-coast disgruntlement over social media companies wielding their energy to censor public figures — most notably former president Donald Trump, nonetheless now also accounts linked to the Islamist militants in energy in Kabul.
The Taliban’s “legitimacy,” in this gawk, is generally about the form of humiliation its success poses to the Biden administration and its supporters. “The far right, the alt-right, are all form of galvanized by the Taliban essentially working roughshod thru Afghanistan, and us leaving underneath a Democratic president,” Moustafa Ayad of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which tracks extremist groups, informed Fresh York Instances columnist Michelle Goldberg.
There are also deeper narratives at play. In the first week of the Taliban’s takeover, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, arguably the most influential right-coast jabber in the United States, cast the militants’ victory as a repudiation of liberal norms around gender equality. “It seems that the individuals of Afghanistan don’t actually want gender stories symposium,” he said.
“They don’t hate their grasp masculinity,” Carlson went on. “They don’t deem it’s toxic. They like the patriarchy. A few of their ladies folks prefer it too. So now they’re getting it all back. So maybe it’s doable that we failed in Afghanistan because the complete neoliberal program is grotesque.” (Carlson seems to have misused the note “neoliberal,” which more accurately applies to a space of laissez-faire financial principles, no longer social or cultural ones.)
Carlson, to make certain, would now not want Afghans coming to America. For many on the far right, the celebration of American liberalism foundering in a foreign land is accompanied by a perception in the inadmissibility of Afghans into the United States. “So first we invade, and then we’re invaded,” Carlson said, scaremongering over the latest influx of thousands of Afghan refugees.
Carlson’s animus is part of what administration officials have described as a rising chorus of anti-refugee sentiment on the right that has followed the Taliban’s capture of Kabul. CNN obtained the details of a latest call between John Cohen, the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Place of labor of Intelligence and Analysis, and local and state law enforcement. In the call, Cohen said his agency, in its monitoring of far-right groups, had considered both an uptick in invocations of the “great replacement” — a white-supremacist conspiracy theory that liberals are “importing” foreigners to undermine the nation’s white majority — and praise for the Taliban’s success from individuals that call for a new civil war inner the United States.
“There are concerns that these narratives may incite violent activities directed at immigrant communities, certain faith communities, and even individuals that are relocated to the United States,” Cohen said on the call.