A Parable of our time: “Our democratic house is on fire!”

There is a man running up and down the street, with his hair all frazzled and his eyes filled with terror, shouting, “The house is on fire! Our house is on fire! Our whole democratic city is on fire!”

Outside a cafe, on a bright sunny morning, a number of people sit calmly drinking their coffee. A few, but not as many as in the past, are reading their newspapers.

“Help! Help!” the screaming man implores. “Don’t you know, the whole city is on fire!”

The seated individuals proceed calmly to drink their coffee and chat among themselves.

“Don’t you know?” the wild man implores again, “The whole city is on fire!”

Different individuals respond variously.

“You exaggerate,” one says. “We don’t see any flames.”

“The houses in the next street are on fire,” the wild man rejoins.

“Don’t worry,” another replies. “Someone will take care of it.”







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.




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.


DEFEAT IS VICTORY! Propaganda replaces policy in the Biden administration

Nineteen- eighty-four is here. We are living it.

Winston could not have said it better, after O’Brien helped hin straighten out his confused thinking.

DEFEAT IS VICTORY!!!

The worst rout in recent U.S. military history was “an extraordinary success”.

If Congressional Democrats don’t seek to right this sinking ship, especially on foreign policy, it will drag them into the Vortex in 1922 and into political oblivion.


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.