Afghanistan’s American Way

Nothing about our immoral adventure in Afghanistan is based on the premise that, as Diana West asserts, “the Western way is the ‘universal’ way.”

No foreign power, no brilliant bureaucrats created the Western way. Hundreds of years of local experiments with liberty created civil society. The Magna Carta wasn’t written by any Secretary of State—it sprang from local English traditions.

Imposing a centralized Afghan state will not result in a more liberal society because freedom isn’t taught from above—it’s learned from within. It is learned with every nonviolent minute, every voluntary trade, every free act.

We should extend America’s way, but America’s way has always been peace, commerce, and friendship. John Quincy Adams said it best: “America’s glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace.”