Nine months ago Afghanistan dominated the news.  Now it is a rare report or column.  Yet since US and Western withdrawl the reality of life under the Taliban has become apparent.  Girls are excluded from school or forced into child marriage, women from employment.  Meanwhile economic collapse threatens millions of deaths as food scarcity turns to widespread famine.  And the West, out of ideas, focussed on the rise of China or threats to stability in Europe, has no policy and no answers.

Were critics wrong to criticise the US's role as a global policeforce? Do we need a strong America to keep Western humanitarian and democratic ideals alive?  Or is intervention itself a threat to those ideals and the rights of other nations?    Or is the question redundant and the age of America, and of the West, over? 

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