The Corner

Less Tea, More Flash

I wrote here yesterday about the accelerating campaign of “green-on-blueviolence — that’s to say, NATO-trained, NATO-paid Afghans turning on their western “allies” and killing them. A handful of readers reminded me of this passage from George MacDonald Fraser’s very first Flashman novel, set 170 years ago in the First Anglo-Afghan War:

This I will say for the Afghan – he is a treacherous, evil brute when he wants to be, but while he is your friend he is a first-rate fellow. The point is, you must judge to a second when he is going to cease to be friendly. There is seldom any warning.

Indeed. When Fraser wrote those words in 1969, three generations of Indian Army veterans knew exactly what he meant. As I wrote in NR a year-and-a-half ago apropos the then latest grim jest on Western “nation-building”:

A dozen pages of a Flashman yarn has a sounder grasp of the Afghan psyche than nine years of multilateral “nation-building”. Which is why we’re going round and round in circles in an almighty Groundhogistan where a man gets sentenced to death for converting to Christianity under a court system created, funded and protected by us.

The phony-baloney Three Cups Of Tea is handed out at American grade schools and by the Pentagon to ‘Stan-bound officers. I take it as read that it would be a hate crime to read Flashman in an American schoolhouse, and probably affront the diversity-celebrators at the Pentagon, too. In the end you can be politically correct or you can be a great power — but not both.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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