human rights

U.S.-Taliban meetings in Doha reach an impasse, as enormous humanitarian disaster approaches

With the Americans and the Europeans firmly set in their demands that the Taliban provide guarantees for the respect of human rights before assets can be freed or aid can flow, the Afghan economy appears on the verge of collapse.

As winter is fast approaching, a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions becomes more likely very day.

It is difficult to see either side yielding, while diplomacy is awkward and takes a lot of time.

In these circumstances, it seems likely that millions of Afghans will starve to death before the assistance they so desperately need reaches them.

Read More

What is happening on the ground in Afghanistan? UPDATED August 29, 2021

“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.



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.


Afghanistan and the Decline of Enlightenment Values

The withdrawal of the U.S. and its allies from Afghanistan, and its inenluctable consequences, represent a signal retreat by the U.S. and its democratic allies from the defense of democratic values and the ideal of democracy.

The great tragedy is that 20 years of support for the democratic project in Afghanistan had produced impressive progress, in what was necessarily a long-term project. The failure of U.S. military and political leaders to understand and accept the long-term nature of the project—framing the question of Afghanistan as one of “When can we bring the troops home?”–was the fundamental and ultimately fatal flaw in U.S. strategy in the country.

Powerless. That’s how I and many others feel in the face of President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw completely from Afghanistan. Despite the wholly predictable consequences of that decision, Biden remains stubbornly defiant, ignoring or indifferent to the realities unfolding before him.

Powerless, as undoubtedly many millions of Afghans in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and other cities must feel today.


We have forgotten the lessons of the 20th Century. International Peace and Security cannot be taken for granted. They depend on support of and adherence to international law, and the constant reaffirmation of international law, including human rights law and humanitarian law.

We have fogotten the lesson that aggression and crimes against humanity and war crimes must be vigorously resisted, or their perpetrators, like Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, will triumph.

We have forgotten the lessons of Srebrenica, that crimes against humanity must be resisted, stopped, and punished.

Ultimately, there is no rational defense of stupidity. Stupidity may accompany a lack of empathy or sense of moral imperatives to defend sacred moral values.

Regardless of whether it is the product of callous indifference or brute stupidity, or a combination of the two, Biden’s withdrawal decision seems to be set in stone. And even the rational analysts’s observations, like those of the historians, may fall like ashes into the dark canyon of oblivion.

Will the values of the Enlightenment be saved, resuscitated to light the way of a stumbling humanity which has lost its way?

It all depends on us. With deep faith in humanity, surely on a brighter day, those of us who are creatures of the Enlightenment and who still believe in the highest values of humanity, will again somehow find our way.

For we must.


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….


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.


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.


Where can Trump go to escape the law? Israeli settlements in the West Bank?

First, because it is occupied territory it is far from clear that the U.S. extradition treaty with Israel would be held to apply. In any event, if an extradition request were made to Israel, the treaty’s dubious applicability to the occupied territories would offer Trump and his co-conspirators ample opportunity for litigation and delay–and, if need be, escape.

Second, if Trump becomes the object of an extradition request, or an INTERPOL “red ticket” for his arrest, should his West Bank settlement refuge become risky, he can always slip over the border into Saudi Arabia.

If Saudi Arabia represents a strong and secure fall-back location for Trump and his co-conspirators, the West Bank represents a huge potential for real-estate and other developments by Trump and his minions.

One can easily imagine one or more West Bank Trump Tower and Golf Resorts  in the West Bank.  The weather is ideal during the winter months in Europe, which is a relatively short plane ride away (six or seven hours from Paris).

But it is time to act.  The clock is ticking.


Trump’s failure to protect the American people from the coronavirus

Donald Trump has failed and continues to fail to protect the American people from the coronoavirus.

By mid-July, 137,000 people had died so far. Projections were that 224,000 people might die from Covid-19 by November 1, 2020. We are on pace to exceed that prediction.

The reason the cornoavirus has killed so many people and is raging out of control in the United States, when other countries (e.g., in Europe) have largely brought the virus under control, is that the U.S. government effort is led by President Donald Trump.