Biden Administration

J’accuse

On January 13, 1898, French novelist Émile Zola published his famous letter entitled, “J’accuse” (I accuse), addressed to the President of the Republic, in which he denounced the government and its military command and their antisemitic leaders for prosecuting Alfred Dreyfus, a Captain of Jewish descent, on trumped up charges of treason. Dreyfus had been convicted in 1894, and at a subsequent retrial. Zola’s letter had a decisive impact on democracy and the rule of law in France.

In the United States, we now face a similar if not even graver moment in which the rule of law is at stake. It is a moment in which antisemitic and racist militants actively participate in a fascist conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution and the rule of law.

In these circumstances, the following letter is addressed to “Democrats “and political leaders in the United States, calling on them to act, vigorously and effectively, to defend American democracy.


Max Boot calls for Garland to appoint Special Prosecutor to investigate Trump’s crimes

Today, finally, a leading national opinion columnist, Max Boot, called for the Justice Department to investigate Donald Trump’s crimes.

Because Merrick Garland has been far too willing to look the other way, and has avoided investigation and indictment for the many crimes Donald Trump appears to have committed, Boot proposes Garland appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Trump’s apparent crimes.



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.


Democrats refuse to indict Trump. Biden stumbles. Republicans gear up to steal elections. The fascist threat grows.

The Democrats refuse to prosecute Donald Trump. Moreover, they enforce a conspiracy of silence under which not even the question of whether Trump should be prosecuted can be discussed, or even raised.

Meanwhile, Trump, who appears to have committed numerous felonies in full public view, is left free to hold rallies and breathe air into a growing fascist movement led by the Republican party and his supporters

President Joe Biden continues to stumble, to blow the opportunities his and the Democrats’ narrow victories in 2020 have afforded him.

Neither Biden nor the Democratic leaders seem to understand that fascist threat.  

The country faces a fascist challenge supported by 35-40 million voters living in a propaganda universe, an alternate universe where facts and the truth do not hold sway, plus perhaps another 20 million cynical fellow travelers.

Nowhere are their leaders with the courage to stand up and defend our democracy by taking bold actions, such as indicting Trump.


Afghanistan today, October 5, 2021

The best reporting out of Afghanistan continues to be by Jacques Follorou of Le Monde and Ángeles Espinoa of El País. Their dispatches are linked to here, and can be easily translated by using Google Translate (translate.google.com).

The window into Afghanistan is likely to start closing, as reader interest shifts to other subjects, as it did in the case of Syria. In the meantime, we can be grateful for the reporting by Folloroy and Espinosa, as well as that of as that of other excellent and courageous journalists who report on Afghanistan, sometimes from within the country.

There will be a continuous stream of stories about the disaster that is unfolding in Afghanistan, including the potential collapse of the economy, the enormous humanitarian disasters including famines which lie ahead, and ultimately whether civil war erupts once again among a desperate population struggling to survive.



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.






Abandoning Afghanistan: The moral costs

President Joe Biden ridiculed 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.


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.


Joe Biden ‘s foreign policy judgment: You can’t fill a bucket with a hole in it.

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.


The U.S. “playbook” for drones and self-defense under international law

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…




Joe Biden, Captain of the Titanic, which just hit the iceberg of Afghanistan

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