Reprinted, with permission, from ABSURARAMA! June 6, 2021. In the United States, perhaps 50-70 million voters, including a vast majority of Republican voters and almost…Read More
The Russia-Ukraine crisis appears to be de-escalating, with the anouncement by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Russian troops will be withdrawing from the border…
The decision to surrender to the Taliban and abandon our Afghan allies and supporters is among the most craven and dastardly decisions in U.S. military and foreign policy history. One searches in history for a decision of such dishonorable magnitude.
The comparison that comes to mind is the agreement by Neville Chamberlain of England and Ėdouard Daladier of France with Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden in Bavaria in October, 1938. The agreement, known as the Munich Pact, has become synonymous with betrayal and appeasement
That will be Joe Biden’s legacy, unless he changes course, which seems unlikely.
More fundamentally, his failure to replace Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as head of the peace negotiations reveals he is inclined to continue Donald Trump’s “cut and run” policy, embodied in the February 29, 2020 surrender and withdrawal agreement in Doha, Qatar with the Taliban.
The Agreement does not provide even the slightest fig leaf to conceal the abject nature of the surrender to the Taliban.
By proceeding with the May 1, 2021 withdrawal date established in the Doha Agreement, or even postponing it by months, Biden would fail to recognize that the Taliban have not seriously engaged in “intra-Afghan” negotiations aimed at a peace settlement, and establishing a viable cease-fire, as called for in the Doha Agreement.
Biden is the prisoner of his 2009 thinking. He doesn’t recognize that conditions have changed. He doesn’t recognize that the current U.S. force posture and mission is essentially what he was arguing for in Barack Obama’s 2009 Afghanistan policy review.
If Biden continues on Trump’s “cut and run” course, he will be responsible for Afghanistan becoming another Iran, with the people–including those we have nurtured as advocates of democracy and the rule of law for the last 20 years–living under the harsh dictatorial rule of Islamic religious extremists, as in Iran.
Moreover, surrender in Afghanistan is not likely to enhance his negotiating position with Iran.
Biden must replace Khalilzad immediately, and conduct a fresh and new review of U.S. military and policy options in the region. He should listen to his democratic allies and, above all, to the people of Afghanistan as represented by their elected leaders.
He needs to develop a policy based on the facts on the ground today, and set aside the idea that the U.S. goal should be just to get out of Afghanistan.
One such mistake has been to grant unscripted interviews on television. In his interview with George Stephanoupoulis, on ABC-TV, Stephanapoulis asked him if he thought Vladimir Putin was “a killer”. Biden, unaccompanied by his handlers and off-script, naively answered, “Yes.”
The answer enraged Putin, who at a press conference, said,
“What would I answer him? I would tell him: be healthy,” Putin said. “I wish him good health. I say this without irony, no jokes. This is first of all.”
So, Biden’s first big mistakes vis-à-vis Russia and China were to publicly call Putin a “killer” and to adopt a confrontational attitude at the first bi-lateral meeting between foreign ministers with China.
In both cases, Buden and Blinken were playing primarily to their domestic audience. The point is not that Biden and Blinken should not have spelled out in detail their criticisms of China. The point is this was the wrong time and the wrong place.
The common front against the West should come as no surprise. Its timing has at least symbolic significance.
The agreement is an abomination. It reflects a policy of Donald Trump which was aimed primarily at giving him an advantage in the 2020 presidential election.
It pursues the wrong goal, and was negotiated by the wrong people. It is strongly opposed by the Afghan Government of Ashraf Ghani, leading experts, and many allies whose forces (primarily from the NATO countries, in addition to the U.K and Canada ) have fought and died alongside American and Afghan soldiers, all in pursuit of what the U.S. held out to be the goal of establishing a democratic state governed by law.
Now, the United States has joined with Russia in convening a conference in Moscow attended by Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. Notoriously uninvited and absent were the Europeans and the NATO members who helped make up the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from 2001-2014, and its follow-on successor, “Operation Resolute Support”, which in principle has been focused on training.
The reason the Europeans were not invited is blazingly clear: They would never go along with a settlement which sells out the democratic government of Afghanistan, established pursuant to elections in 2018 (legislative) and 2019 (presidential), and made up of the two leading presidential candidates in 2019 and their forces. Nor would the Europeans be likely to go along with a settlement that surrenders the future of Afghan women to the Taliban.
Suing Trump and other purveyors of malicious lies remains probably the most effective weapon in the Democrats’ arsenal for countering Trump’s and Republicans’ lies and misinformation, and ultimately puncturing their propaganda bubble.
The current campaign to force Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign may lead to his impeachment, but is not likely to lead to his conviction and imprisonment for a crime.
Instead, he is the latest object of a phenomenon in the United States, and some other places, which seeks to bypass legal and constitutional processes to achieve the immediate objective of a frenzied mob, often made possible or strengthened through the internet and social media. Non-public and dark forces may be behind some of these campaigns.
In the United States, at least three different “mobs” have contributed to what is often termed “cancel culture”, the abuse of power to achieve goals without due process and without following legally-established procedures for determining the truth of allegations, and determining appropriate and proportionate sanctions for crimes or infractions that may be found to have occurred.
(T)he critical distinction between predatory sexual conduct–the coercion of a woman by a man to engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct, on the one hand, and sexually inappropriate speech or other conduct (measured by contemporary standards), such as touching or verbal comments, on the other, has frequently been lost.
The Democrats, and their cancel culture mobs, are serving up a powerful cultural wedge issue for the Republicans to exploit.
So, small-minded and cynical Democrats are now endorsing mob action and circumvention of rule of law procedures to not only ascertain the veracity of the allegations against Cuomo–including those concerning nursing home death statistics, but also the nature of the punishment that would be proportionate and appropriate for the alleged infractions, should he be found guilty as charged.
Aaron Rosenberg lived offline for a year, trying to understand what it was like in order to help him understand the subject of his academic research.
I myself experienced some of the extraordinary pull of Twitter while following in extremely close fashion political developments related to Donald Trump’s attempts to hang on to power after losing the election on November 3, 2021.
Aaron Rosenberg’s experience is instructive. When thinking about my Twitter experience, I recall reading somewhere that the average life of a tweet is about 15 minutes.
DRAFT For background, see, “Did China manipulate the coronavirus to make it more dangerous?” The Trenchant Observer, June 4, 2020. The available evidence increasingly points…
Now, the U.S. can send a subte message to King Salman and the Saudi Royal family by having minimal contact and interaction with the Crown Prince.
The Saudis can choose whoever they want to be King. But they should know that Americans will never forget or forgive the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.
If the Saudis enthrone MBS they are likely to have one kind of relationship with the United States. 8ut if they choose someone else to be King, they could have another kind of relationship.
They tell monstruous lies. They are not acting in good faith. They are silent in the face of violence. For two months they were complicit and co-conspirators with Donald Trump to overthrow the election and the Constitution.
They pay obeisance to Donald Trump, even today, after his attempted coup d’état and the Capitol Insurrection.
We should simply imagine that they are all wearing Nazi military unifirms.
When you see Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Ron Johnson,
in the Senate, for example, just imagine they are wearing Nazi military uniforms. It will clear your mind.