Rule of Law

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.

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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.


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.


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….




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,…


Should Trump be indicted? REVISED — A comprehensive evaluation of the arguments

A fundamental norm of a democratic state governed by law is that the authors of serious crimes must be prosecuted and sent to prison if found guilty. This rule should apply no matter who they are.

Both President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have solemnly stated (Garland under oath) that they would not let political considerations influence Department of Justice decisions on whether or not to prosecute individuals.

Both Biden and Garland have violated these promises, in a most egregious and blatant manner, by refusing to prosecute Donald Trump and his co-conspirators.

There appears to be an iron-clad agreement between President Biden, Attorney General Garland, and Democrats in Congress, not to raise this issue, that is, not to even talk about it.

What, indeed, might be the arguments against prosecuting Trump and his Republican co-conspirators?

As there has been virtually no public discussion of the reasons that have led the Democrats to refrain from indicting Trump and his co-conspirators for their apparent crimes, the disadvantages of this course of action have not been articulated or discussed seriously in the media.