On August 15, following the swift withdrawal of US military forces in Afghanistan, the city of Kabul was taken over by the Taliban. 20 years since the start of the American offensive against the Taliban, as a response to the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda, Joe Biden did what his two predecessors had promised, but failed to follow through: he ended America’s military involvement in Afghanistan.
But the immediate collapse of the Afghan government and military that the US had spent years supporting, and the ominous return of the Taliban in power puts into question whether Biden’s decision was the right one.
Is putting an end to war always the just thing to do? Should the costs and sacrifices suffered during a war determine whether the war should continue or end? Or should a war only end when its original aims have been achieved?
Darrel Moellendorf holds the Chair for International Political Theory and Philosophy at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Mein, and is one of the few philosophers to engage not only with the question of what makes a war morally justifiable, but more importantly, under what conditions is ending a war the morally right thing to do.
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This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org
Artwork by Nick Halliday
Music by Rowan Mcilvride