Dictatorship

Change Putin’s calculations: Put force back on the table, and begin active cyber-warfare measures to defend Ukraine

What can be done now to change Putin’s calculations, or to respond to an invasion?

The U.S. and NATO countries should begin active cyber-warfare countermeasures to help defend Ukraine from ongoing Russian attacks on its computer networks and infrastructure. In this realm, the  U.S. may have the most advanced capabilities, and should begin using them now. Above all, U.S. decision makers should avoid undue hesitance by  demanding absolute proof of attribution of the attacks. In a wartime setting, officials and nations may need to act in the absence of perfect information.

If Russia is not behind the attacks, who do U.S. analysts and policymakers think is? Nigeria? Lesotho? Fiji? It is immaterial whether the operators are Russian officials or others acting under their control.

Finally, in order to influence Putin’s calculations at this late stage in the game, NATO members should leave open the possibility of coming to Ukraine’s defense through the use of military force and active cyber-warfare measures, in exercise of the right of collective self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, if Russia invades Ukraine and a major war develops.

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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 Big Picture: President Biden’s Decision to Withdraw from Afghanistan

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 Berchtesgarten in October, 1938. The agreement, known as tge Munich Pact, has become synonymous with betrayal and appeasement

That will be Joe Biden’s legacy, unless he changes course, which seems unlikely.


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.



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…


The indictment of Trump: The Democratic wall of silence begins to break

See, 1) Laurence H. Tribe, Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance, “Here’s a roadmap for the Justice Department to follow in investigating Trump,” Washington Post,…