See, 1) Ali M Latifi, “How deep are divisions among the Taliban? Sources tell Al Jazeera the discord is very real and if disharmony grows,…Read More
President Joe Biden ridiculerd the Afghan soldiers who did not fight after the American withdrawal left them with no prospect of holding their own against the Taliban. Biden’s remarks were a cruel attack upon soldiers who had founght valiantly over the years, at a cost of some 68,000 lives.
He didn’t mention the girls of Afghanistan, who for 20 years displayed great courage in going to school, too many times at the cost of their lives. Angelina Jolie pays tribute to these girls and women, and their courage.
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.
There is no rational defense of stupidity.
To base a country’s foreign policy on domestic opinion, polls, and expected election outcomes is stupid, as countless historical examples illustrate.
The majority of voters are ill-informed and have no serious understanding of what is involved in foreign policy decisions. The country depends on an informed foreign policy elite, government foreign policy experts, and leaders intelligent enough to listen to them and follow their advice.
Joe Biden set out to do something else: to adopt a foreign policy that benefits the middle class.
It just a slogan. Not even Biden or his National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan or his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has the slightest idea what it means in operational terms.
I guess what it means for Joe Biden is that it will engender public support and help him and Democrats at the polls in future elections.
Now following such a stupid approach to foreign policy, President Biden has revealed through his disastrous decisions relating to the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fact that he has no strategic sense or understanding of the myriad factors and forces which interact to produce realities in the field of foreign affairs.
He has an extensive record working on foreign policy issues, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as Vice-President in the Obama administration, and now for seven months as President of the United States.
But you can’t fill a bucket with a hole in it.
What can we expect Biden to do or say at this point about Afghanistan?
Does it matter? …
The only thing he could say that would help the country would be that he is firing Anthony Blinken, Lloyd Austin, and Jake Sullivan for the roles thay played in this catastrophe, and that he is bringing in real men and women of stature to build a new foreign policy team.
Anything else he might say, you can rest assured, will be just more smoke and mirrors.
1) Jacques Follorou, “En Afghanistan, les talibans seuls aux commandes; Après le départ des Américains, mardi 31 août, les fondamentalistes islamistes, dont les principaux dirigeants se sont réunis à Kandahar, vont devoir gérer une économie à l’arrêt,” Le Monde, le 30 août 2021 (à 10h05, mis à jour à 15h33).
Taliban leaders are gathered in Kandahar for a meeting to define the contours of the new government, and in doing so to sort out ideological and personnel issues related to internal divisions.
Jacques Follorou describes the three main factions within the Taliban .
“General amnesty has been granted,” he wrote, adding that “we are focusing on future.”
Yet there are growing reports of detentions, disappearances and even executions of officials at the hands of the Taliban, in what some current and former government officials describe as a covert and sometimes deadly pursuit of the Taliban’s enemies.
Leaving behind computer records that would enable the Taliban to identify who worked with the allies and acted as intelligence sources is inexcusable, as inexscusable as the American surrender and withdrawal which was not negotiated subject to serious conditions.
The closer you look. the more shocking and scandalous the Biden administration’s decisions and actions related to the American withdrawal seem to be.
The American military’s record is definitely mixed. While they seem to have done an impressive job with their airlift out of Kabul airport, given a disastrous lack of planning, perhaps the most enduring image of the U.S. military’s performance was their departure from Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night, without even telling their erstwhile Afghan “partners” they were leaving.
While there is ample blame to be shared by others, particularly Joe Biden, Anthony Blinken, and Jake Sullivan, Lloyd Austin was Secretary of Defense and directly responsible for the military’s failings. If there is to be any accountability for this catastropHe, Austin should be fired–along with Blinken and Sullivan.
See, Charlie Savage, “Afghanistan Collapse and Strikes in Somalia Raise Snags for Drone Warfare Rules; But the Biden administration is close to finishing a new…
See, 1) Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “Joe Biden is deaf, dumb and blind to the chaos the US has unleashed; The administration is ignoring history by putting…
See, “Should U.S. and allies seek to influence Taliban government in formation through negotiating agreements?,” The Trenchant Observer, August 25, 2021. The terrorist attack at…
President Joe Biden, Captain of the Titanic
Sometimes a metaphor can help us understand a complicated reality, highlighting the most important features so that we can keep them clearly in mind.
With respect to Afghanistan, the metaphor that comes to mind is that of President Joe Biden as Captain of the Titanic.
Biden steered the ship directly at the Iceberg
A big difference from the historical example is that unlike the captain of the real Titanic, this time Captain Joe steered the ship directly at the iceberg, despite all the warnings of his top officers and their urgings to change course.
The Titanic hit the iceberg, and is going down
The Titanic hit the iceberg. As the ship is sinking, Captain Joe has dug in and is insisting he made the right decision to steer at the iceberg.
He and his officers go on television frequently to defend his decision to hit the iceberg.
Now, Captain Joe is working hard to ensure that all of the first-class passengers get into lifeboats and safely away from the sinking ship
See, 1) Editorial, “The Guardian view on the G7’s great game: the Taliban rules in Kabul; Ordinary Afghans will pay the highest price for the…
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?