Biden, Afghanistan, and the perils of "doing the right thing"
You can’t take the politics out of politics
As you know if you’ve been reading my posts or tweets on Afghanistan, I think Joe Biden did the right thing by withdrawing U.S. forces from the country. And while I won’t warrant that every single tactical or operational decision made along the way has been flawless (it would be the first undertaking in military history to have that character), I do think the criticism of the operation has been overwhelmingly unfair. But if you’ve been reading this site for a while, you also know that I am not necessarily a big proponent of “doing the right thing” in politics.
The name of the blog comes from Max Weber’s essay “Politics as a Vocation,” which, among other things, counsels the virtues of prudence in political life. And I think the Afghanistan Affair does tend to illustrate the perils of taking a principled stand.
It also illustrates the limits of a related position I’ve often been associated with: popularism, or the idea that it’s smart for politicians to …