Articles by James Rowles

Dispatch from an imagined future: The Fascist Victory in America (2021-2025)

Writing today, on June 4, 2025, it is hard to believe what has happened in the United States in the last few years. It wasn’t easy to uproot my life and move abroad, as a refugee from the fascism which has taken over in the United States.
With my mastery of foreign languages and cultures and history of working in many foreign countries, I have had many options. At the moment, I am in Costa Rica, where I lived for three years decades ago.
The second huge mistake the Democrats made was that they failed to prosecute Donald Trump and his co-conspirators for the many electoral crimes and other felonies that they appeared to have committed.
How the Democrats arrived at the thought that they might pierce Trump’s propaganda bubble without taking him on, and prosecuting him and his co-conspirators, was never clear, and in retrospect defies understanding.
(The Democrats) seemed to have entered into some kind of conspiracy of silence….Since the Democrats would not even allow discussion of the issues related to the non-prosecution of Trump and his co-conspirators, there was virtually no public discussion of their strategy.
Proceeding with this strategy of not challenging Trump directly by indicting him and his co-conspirators, the Democrats lost the House in 2022.  Joe Biden’s domestic initiatives then hit a brick wall….On January 20, 2025, the new Republican president took office. With the election of a Republican Senate and a Republican House, the Trumpists had returned to power. They promptly set about passing laws which curtailed freedom of the press and other civil liberties.
Within days of the inauguration, I boarded my flight to Costa Rica.



Afghanistan faces famine, economic collapse as international community poses conditions for aid

The key point is that the international community should not deny to the people of Afghanistan–the individual life-and-blood human beings–the aid they need to survive, on the theory that withholding aid will make the Taliban respect human rights. For examples of the challenges of survival these human beings face, see Espinosa and Follorou, above.


The situation in Afghanistan today, September 5, 2021

Ångeles Espinosa reports from Islamabad on the external challenges facing the Taliban leadership in naming a government. The announcement, originally expected Fiday, September 3, has been repeatedly oushed back. The Taliban are faced not only with overcoming their internal divisions, but also the immense challenges of providing food to the population and keeping the machinery of government working.

To meet the latter challenges they must satisfy the demands of foreign governments, international donors, and other international actors. The latter are demanding guarantees regarding human rights and the rights of women, many of which are at odds with basic tenets of the medieval Islamic ideology the Taliban have in the past espoused.


Afghanistan today, September 3, 2021: The Taliban government is forming, with no nods to Western wishful thinking

The Taliban are forming their government in Kandahar, with few concessions such as those imagined by American and Western leaders in their illusionary wishful thinking. Espinosa reports from a source close to the Taliban that the protection of women’s rights seems to be a third priority, while there sa a push toward decentralization. The latter augurs poorly for those provinces under the control of the most hardline factions within the Taliban.

Those who know Afghanistan appear to be getting it right.


The Taliban and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan: “Nice doggie…”

Yet however emotionally appealing Noonan’s prescriptions may be, to follow them would be to court disaster on an extraordinary scale. Any attempt to force open corridors by the use of military force would produce open armed conflict between the Taliban and the U.S. forces, which were sent to Afghanistan on an evacuation mission. American soldiers would be killed.

The Taliban occupy the entire city of Kabul, and the rest of the country. Who knows how many people would die if the U.S. tried to force the issue with military force.

Anyone entertaining such ideas should immediately watch the classic movie, Black Hawk Down (2001) which realistically depicts what happened in 1993 when American forces attempted to extract a relatively small number of soldiers from a firefight in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Why are F-16’s overflying Kabul?


There is no new Taliban (Updated August 20, 2021)

In failing to recognize that its surrender to the barbarism of the Taliban in Afghanistan was a major defeat for civilization and its defense of human rights and the rule law, the United States has committed a tragic mistake.

It has abandoned 38 million Afghans to the barbarism of a medieval terrorist regime, and 19 million Afghan women to the dictatorial rule of a misogynistic Islamic ideology which predates the Enlightenment and has not been influenced by it.

The American and allied capitulation to the barbarism of the Taliban must be understood as a terrible setback to civilization and the values of the Enlightenment.


A wounded presidency: Biden’speech on Afghanistan suggests he will be a one-term president

President Joe Biden spoke to the nation today in an effort to justify his withdrawal from Aghanistan.

In his speech he demonstrated both his delusional state of mind and the stubborn, emotionally dug-in thinking that led to his decision to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan, and its botched execution.



Taliban take Kandahar prison, Afghan morale in free fall, Biden delusional: Afghanistan Chronicle – August 11, 2021

As the democratically elected government of Afghanistan teeters on the brink in the face of a Taliban onslaught which is the result of President Joe Biden’s disastrous decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from the country, Biden and his foreign policy team are disconnected from reality. In his op-ed in the Washington Post, Max Boot highlights the “delusional” thinking in the Biden administration. This thinking could find no more cogent illustration than the fact that Biden is proceeding with plans to hold a Summit of Democracies in December.

The Silence of the Generals

One question permeates a deafening silence: Where are the retired American generals and defense officials who should be screaming from the rooftops about Biden’s surrender to the Taliban, and his passive acceptance of Taliban war crimes on a growing scale?

These generals and officials fought the Taliban, and watched over 2,500 American soldiers die fighting the Taliban.

Where is their patriotism now? Why don’t they speak out and shout out about what is going on?

If they remain silent, they will take the shame of their silence to their graves.


Meet the Afghans America is abandoning

It is absolutely appalling to speak to fellow Americans, even those who are highly educated and intelligent, and to understand the abysmal nature of their ignorance about Afghanistan, what has happened in that country in the last 20 years, and the people who live there today.

American news coverage from Afghanistan had almost disappeared until this summer, when President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. forces rekindled interest in some readers about the future of the country after America’s retreat.

To counter this ignorance, The Trenchant Observer is introducing a new feature under the heading, “Meet the Afghans America is abandoning.”

It is late in the game to try to counter the ignorance of the American population about Afghanistan in 2021.

We should bear in mind that polls that show 60% or 70% support for Biden’s withdrawal decision are measuring the views of ignorant and ill-informed people.

This is not so much their fault as it is the fault of American society and culture in 2021, when there is little interest in U.S. foreign policy or what is going on in the rest of the world, and news media–except for a few leading newspapers–which reflect that lack of interest.

Please accept our invitation to meet and learn about some of the Afghans who America is abandoning to the mercies of the Taliban.


Afghanistan: A chronicle of defeat and looming collapse–August 8, 2021

Developing The Taliban has continued making sweeping gains today, taking the key northern provincial capital of Kunduz, and two other provincial capitals in the North….


The dog days of August and the Olympic Games: Time to act on Trump and the Republican fascist threat

See Jonathan Freedland, “Trump may be fading away, but Trumpism is now in the American bloodstream; He left in disgrace, yet all signs point to…


Biden’s disastrous decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistam–with links to best opinion pieces

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.


Afghanistan: Biden’s Achilles Heel

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.


China and Russia form common front against the West

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.”
CNN

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.


Biden’s looming foreign policy catastrophe in Afghanistan

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.


Gov. Cuomo–Democracy and rule of law, or cancel culture: We must choose

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.


Fighting the American fascists: Just imagine they are wearing Nazi military uniforms

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.


Truth or Consequences: “A Boycott for Truth”

The idea is simple: If you invite a guest on your program who has been telling big lies anywhere, or if you invite a guest back who has lied on your program, we will boycott all of the advertisers who support your program with their ads.

In a word, we propose a program of Truth or Consequences. The Consequences will be that millions of Americans will boycott your company and all of its products, because you support a program that spreads lies.

If the idea catches on, it could have a huge impact.