Biden Administration

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.


Khashoggi assassination: To really sanction MBS, minimize U.S. and allied dealings with him

Now, the U.S. can send a subte message to King Salman and the Saudi Royal family by having minimal contact and interaction with the Crown Prince.

The Saudis can choose whoever they want to be King.  But they should know that Americans will never forget or forgive the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.

If the Saudis enthrone MBS they are likely to have one kind of relationship with the United States. 8ut if they choose someone else to be King, they could have another kind of relationship.


The Democratic base must push back on impeachment trial against weak-kneed Democratic Senators

The Democrats in Congress now propose to hold a quick trial in the Senate which will neither convict ex-President Trump nor educate the American people as to the nature of his crimes, and his attempted coup d’état.

What will future authoritarian leaders learn from the Senate trial, and the zeal with which the Democrats prosecute the case against Trump?

The Republicans’ greatest weapon over the years has been the stpidity and cowardice of their Democratic opponents, who never seem to lose an opportunity to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.

Any Democrat who supports a motion of censure against Trump to hold him to account for his attempted coup, and the numerous crimes that it involved, should never be re-nominated or re-elected to legislative office.

Real Democrats need to stand up and call out the stupidity and cowardice of Democratic colleagues who support censure or a quickie trial that fails to present the evidence, educate the American people, and burst Trump’s propaganda bubble for what it is: Appeasement of the fascists* in our midst.



Unity with fascists? NEVER!

Should Democrats compromise their core values in order to achieve compromises and “bipartisanship” with Senate and House members of the fascist* Republican Party?
The fundamental division in American politics today is not between Conservatives and Liberals, or even between all Republicans and Democrats.

It is between Insurrectionists and Constitutionalists, between those who believe in democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law, on the one hand, and those who support fascist ideas and fascist leaders, on the other.
We should never forget, not even for a moment, the true nature of the fascist threat we face, the true nature of the current fascist Republican Party, and the true nature of the fascist Senators and Representatives who have participated in Trump’s crimes, including his attempted coup, and who acting in bad faith refuse to hold him to account.



Three immediate steps to stop threats of assassination and other acts of political terror

We have witnessed in the last few months numerous acts of political terror, from threats to harm election officials, legislators and their families to the…


Contingency planning for military-style commando action to arrest Trump–Part One

Preliminary Draft–sources being checked See, 1) Peggy Noonan, “Liz Cheney Shows What Leadership Looks Like; The sooner Republicans demystify Donald Trump, the better for them…


Emergency responses to a Trump military coup

If the demonstrations lead to violence and Trump sends troops or other federal forces in to restore law and order, perhaps invoking the Insurrection Act, who knows what could happen amid the ensuing chaos?

If Trump reports there is a “terrorist threat” to e.g., blow up the Capitol, or undertakes military action against Iran, a military coup could be well underway.

Trump is desperate and unhinged, surrounded by lunatic advisers who have been talking about imposing martial law for weeks.

Democrats and everyone else should take the threat of a Trump attempted military coup seriously.

It is time to mount a full court defense of American democracy.

Trump might not and probably would not succeed in carrying out a military coup. But he is desperate enough and crazy enough to try.



2020–one of the greatest years in American history!

American democrats, including some courageous Republicans, defeated a fascist threat of enormous power and potential.

That should be reason enough for all of us to celebrate the year of 2020, and the hope it has spawned, this New Year’s Eve, with great joy.

In 2020, American democracy and the Republic were preserved, and the significance of these events will by noted by historians for generations to come.

Americans were sorely tested by the fascist challenge in 2020, and they met the test.


Where can Trump go to escape the law? Will he make it to the airport?

Yet if he waits to depart Washington until after he is no longer President, one extremely important question remains:

Will he make it to the airport?
To gain a fuller understanding of the complex relocation decisions Trump will face after noon on January 20, read our series on “Where can Trump go to escape the law?” These articles, which contain analysis and advice from a serious international lawyer, would cost Trump thousands of dollars were he to pay for them.

Together, they amount to a kind of “Extradition for Dummies” textbook.

Will Trump make it to the airport?

Leaving washington, traveling to Mar-a-Lago?

Leaving Mar-a-Lago, traveling to the Bahamas?

Leaving the Bahamas, traveling to Havana, to transfer to a direct flight to Moscow?