The US Is Still A Credible Super Power

In a previous blog post, I described the potential loss of credibility in the US because of the untimely and botched withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Once again, the US disappointed the global community of nations, but that does not mean nations around the world will not work and consult with the US to intervene in future diplomatic, political and financial crises.

An op-ed piece in the New York Times by Dennis Ross claims that the nation’s history since the 70s is proof that, in spite of several disagreements and embarrassments, other nations, the UN and NATO still solicit the help of the US on a regular basis.

Mr. Ross looks back on the “ignominious” 1975 evacuation of the last Americans in Vietnam. At first, credibility was in question “but it did not spell the end of American leadership on the world stage nor did it leave others to believe that they could not depend on the United States.”

In 1979, Jimmy Carter had to deal with a hostage crisis in which Americans were detained for 444 days. It was marked by a failed rescue attempt, while the rest of the world witnessed American impotence.

Ronald Reagan, after losing 241 Americans in the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing, promised to avenge the death of American soldiers, but instead, withdrew our troops from Lebanon. No lasting harm was done to American credibility.

George W. Bush invaded Iraq, justified by the false belief that Saddam Hussein held weapons of mass destruction. The US effectively destroyed the country and unseeded Saddam. This action contributed to sectarian conflict and the evolution of ISIS. The fallout from these decisions did not relegate the US to a lesser role in global events.

Obama drew a red line on the use of chemical weapons by Syria. The president failed to react when such weapons were used on Syrian civilians. There was no great response to Obama’s hesitancy to react militarily.

Trump made several decisions including a threat to pull out of NATO and to invade Syria, which rolled off the backs of global leaders.

Recent Biden decisions to remove troops have Americans in an uproar along with the rest of the world. Internationally, the response will have a far less impactful than from domestic critics. Ironically, most Americans wanted the US to bring our troops home, but the tactics employed were ineffective and naïve. The blunders in Afghanistan may be a death toll for the Biden administration in the upcoming elections.

Biden’s Afghan Strategy Is A Disaster

The entire Afghanistan affair has been totally predicable. From the moment President Biden announced his intention to withdraw from the country, the only thing protecting innocent civilians and Afghans helpful to the US were the troops stationed in the country and the military aircraft located nearby. These assets were the only lifelines.

Afghanistan grows terrorists. What did the Biden administration expect? Chaos created by maniacal Taliban militia is the perfect environment for regime change, ISIS, al Qaeda and religious fanatics.

Why did the US take away the only protection for Americans and non-combatant Afghans? The Taliban had already taken control of most regions when the initial US forces withdrew.

When the US forces dwindled to a few thousand concentrated in Kabul, the Taliban advanced and created a hellhole for Afghan citizens throughout the whole country. And then, ISIS unleashed suicide bombers that killed 13 US service people and wounded many other soldiers and bystanders, an act that will likely be repeated as time goes by.

The president reacted to the latest atrocity like we all suspected he would. He said the US would “hunt down” the responsible people for the attack. How many times have we heard this empty promise? Who are going to hunt down the attackers? American soldiers? Is Biden going to bring back American GIs to avenge the death of our people? No. Or, is Biden going to bomb Taliban and ISIS strong holes? No. You know what that means, collateral damage, as the terrorist fighters use civilians for cover. Biden is not going to avenge anything.

Biden’s only objective is to get Americans out of Afghanistan, so his opposition, our allies, the media and the general public stop bashing him. He and his people are boasting about how many individuals are being airlifted each day from the country. We don’t even know if terrorists are among this group. In the meantime there are possibly a thousand more Americans in mortal danger.

And what about the evacuation date of August 31? It’s now fashionable to pick dates to withdraw in shame. Why does it have any significance, other than telling the enemy that America is walking away and will leave the country to the Taliban on a date certain?

The Taliban has to be patient and there will be no external resistance for it to deal with in the future. In fact, the Taliban will probably just begin fighting among themselves for power and with the nut cases that are training to be murderers in their country.

Joe Biden, you really dug a deep ditch for yourself. You showed you are not prepared or equipped to be a wartime commander-in-chief. There was no way to exit the country without leaving innocent Afghan people to the animals now controlling the country. But did you have to be so impulsive about evacuating troops before non-military Americans and helpful Afghans could be brought to safety?

The only thing the Taliban understands is brute force. You don’t have any military power at your disposal unless you want to carpet bomb the entire country and kill terrorists and civilian.

The Afghanistan Sinkhole

An interesting phenomenon is taking place across the globe. Even as most of Europe is bitterly criticizing the US ‘s ill-conceived exit from Afghanistan, leaders around the world are conceding that nothing of any great substance can occur on the world stage without US influence and participation. And some leaders are not being as critical as they might be regarding Joe Biden’s performance during the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan.

The desire to end the occupation by the presidents after George W. Bush, and even and now Joe Biden, is warranted. How long could the US justify the loss of American lives and treasure? Isn’t 20 years enough of a commitment? Comments that America is walking away from its allies are nonsense. What were these critics doing to support the US in Afghanistan militarily? Practically nothing, so they have a little credibility in a debate about Afghanistan.

 The most questionable American mistakes were to assume that the Afghan government could be democratic;  it could be governed without a lasting treaty with the Taliban; and a treaty was feasible. The Taliban is a rogue and decentralized terrorist organization that will surely convince observers that they cannot come together to build a nation. There was no way the group would ever lay down their weapons and help form a coalition to rule the country with the previous Afghan president, an American puppet.

No. The decision to desert a nation with no moral compass, a history of persecuting many groups including women, religions other than Islam and excessive human rights violations was wise. The amateurs in the White House and demure military leaders hampered the withdrawal by the president.

The strategy should have been to evacuate US citizens first, Afghans who aided the US next and then the troops. The US military must be vibrant to orchestrate a successful evacuation and be ready to use force if necessary. Biden was trying to implement a plan that most Americans support, but he blew the execution.

Afghanistan is not a salvageable place.  It is the Wild West of Asia. The Taliban won’t ever be able to negotiate successfully with each other, much less the rest of the world. Putin would be insane to get back into the fray after Russia’s horrible experience in the country. Correspondingly, China is not going to spend a lot of effort courting Afghans after observing the challenges of all invaders in Afghanistan over the centuries, and mostly the US and Russia.

The key question is how will the international community of nations deal with the terrorist groups that are encouraged to train and multiply in Afghanistan. How is the Taliban going to be policed? For sure, military intervention will be needed to root out groups that muster in Afghanistan and wish to create havoc elsewhere.

This is where American leadership becomes very important not only for the US, but for Europe, the Middle East and even the Far East. There is no way Europeans would spend the money necessary to finance armed forces needed to deal with violence that emanates from Afghanistan. NATO and the UN desperately need US military might to keep Afghanistan from growing into a very dangerous source of terrorism.

The US and Biden have a real opportunity to establish a global response to terrorism led by America. It would be wise to move quickly in this regard because the Taliban will be very busy asserting their power and slicing up the economic pie in their country. There will likely be a short period of time when righteous countries can do things to protect their interests in Afghanistan.

It should be noted that I am not sanguine that Joe Biden will be able to lead our effort. He has proven to be inept while under the fire since he has been in power. Afghanistan, the southern boarder of the US and infrastructure legislation are areas where Biden has not distinguished himself.

An interesting phenomenon is taking place across the globe. Even as most of Europe is bitterly criticizing the US ‘s ill-conceived exit from Afghanistan, leaders around the world are conceding that nothing of any great substance can occur on the world stage without US influence and participation. And some leaders are not being as critical as they might be regarding Joe Biden’s performance during the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan.

The desire to end the occupation by the presidents after George W. Bush, and even and now Joe Biden, is warranted. How long could the US justify the loss of American lives and treasure? Isn’t 20 years enough of a commitment? Comments that America is walking away from its allies are nonsense. What were these critics doing to support the US in Afghanistan militarily? Practically nothing, so they have a little credibility in a debate about Afghanistan.

 The most questionable American mistakes were to assume that the Afghan government could be democratic;  it could be governed without a lasting treaty with the Taliban; and a treaty was feasible. The Taliban is a rogue and decentralized terrorist organization that will surely convince observers that they cannot come together to build a nation. There was no way the group would ever lay down their weapons and help form a coalition to rule the country with the previous Afghan president, an American puppet.

No. The decision to desert a nation with no moral compass, a history of persecuting many groups including women, religions other than Islam and excessive human rights violations was wise. The amateurs in the White House and demure military leaders hampered the withdrawal by the president.

The strategy should have been to evacuate US citizens first, Afghans who aided the US next and then the troops. The US military must be vibrant to orchestrate a successful evacuation and be ready to use force if necessary. Biden was trying to implement a plan that most Americans support, but he blew the execution.

Afghanistan is not a salvageable place.  It is the Wild West of Asia. The Taliban won’t ever be able to negotiate successfully with each other, much less the rest of the world. Putin would be insane to get back into the fray after Russia’s horrible experience in the country. Correspondingly, China is not going to spend a lot of effort courting Afghans after observing the challenges of all invaders in Afghanistan over the centuries, and mostly the US and Russia.

The key question is how will the international community of nations deal with the terrorist groups that are encouraged to train and multiply in Afghanistan. How is the Taliban going to be policed? For sure, military intervention will be needed to root out groups that muster in Afghanistan and wish to create havoc elsewhere.

This is where American leadership becomes very important not only for the US, but for Europe, the Middle East and even the Far East. There is no way Europeans would spend the money necessary to finance armed forces needed to deal with violence that emanates from Afghanistan. NATO and the UN desperately need US military might to keep Afghanistan from growing into a very dangerous source of terrorism.

The US and Biden have a real opportunity to establish a global response to terrorism led by America. It would be wise to move quickly in this regard because the Taliban will be very busy asserting their power and slicing up the economic pie in their country. There will likely be a short period of time when righteous countries can do things to protect their interests in Afghanistan.

It should be noted that I am not sanguine that Joe Biden will be able to lead our effort. He has proven to be inept while under the fire since he has been in power. Afghanistan, the southern boarder of the US and infrastructure legislation are areas where Biden has not distinguished himself.

The Afghan Hell Hole

Everyone knew what was going to happen in Afghanistan except members of the Biden Administration. At some point, after 20 plus years of lost lives and treasure, an American president was going to end the occupation, and Taliban terrorists would be ready to swoop down and take control just as US troops were sent home.

The Taliban hate all foreigners, women, non-Muslims and believe that violence and human rights violations are not anti-social. All this bodes horribly for the rest of the world, as the Taliban encourages political instability by urging aspiring terrorists to organize, plan and raise money on their land.

Keep in mind, al Qaeda came together on Afghanistan soil and bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. This was the reason the US invaded Afghanistan in the first place. An unbridled and authoritarian government led by Taliban maniacs is dangerous to all of its close neighbors and the rest of the world.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country with a population of 30 million located in Asia. It abuts Iran Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. China and India are a stone’s throw away from Afghanistan territory. Frequently, Afghan rebels and terrorists cross the border and stir up local dissidents. Even China has been subjected to Afghan inspired insurrection.

Every invader of Afghanistan has been unsuccessful. Most recently, the US and Russia were added to the list of invaders that were unable to stabilize the country. The Taliban is resourceful, violence-prone and extremely dangerous. Mountainous territory protects the Taliban from external forces.

Joe Biden was the American president who finally made the move to end the US occupation of Afghanistan as mentioned above. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a clue about the ramifications of doing so and opted for a completely unrealistic strategy. He may or may not have been given these plans by his generals and intelligence officers. There seems to be some disagreement about the evolution of the strategy to pull out. No one is taking responsibility.

Biden evacuated U.S. troops first and then tried to evacuate US citizens and Afghans helpful to the US during the past 20 years. Why he did this process ass-backwards is a mystery, and the international media has been flailing him with questions about such nonsensical tactics. The process should have been US citizens first, and Afghan friends and soldiers next.

A mass and rapid exodus needs a functioning airport to move many people quickly. And the military must protect the airport. There was not enough troop support to watch over the airport and the embassy at the same time, another dumb tactic.

There is general speculation about who will benefit and who will suffer from the events in Afghanistan. Let’s go around the horn. The first country that comes to mind is Afghanistan itself.

The Taliban failed to realize that the US was the country’s sugar daddy for two decades. The US provided $1 trillion during this time, and we would have probably agreed to provide much more to a peaceful Afghanistan regime. The country passed up on billions of dollars of support. It is a loser, and it will be years, if ever, that the country is stabilized.

Many are saying China is going to enter the picture, befriend the Taliban and begin working with Afghanistan. Why would the Chinese agree to get involved on the heels of disasters for Russia and the US? They won’t invest in a society that is not prepared to operate civilly, peacefully and cooperatively.

The rhetoric out of China is what everyone might expect. “The US is imperialistic and not a good ally, blah blah blah.” I am sure that China will not be the next patsy to spend treasure and blood in the godforsaken hellhole known as Afghanistan. China gains little from the recent events and will only be able to propagandize US actions. Having Afghanistan as an ally is an automatic burden.

Other neighbors of Afghanistan are in mortal danger. The Taliban will likely encourage terrorists who train on their turf, for a price. This will result in internal strife and aggravation for countries in the region. Keep in mind Afghanistan is radically Islamic. All neighboring countries will lose.

The US will be in a better position in the long run assuming it can stifle any serious terrorist activity in Afghanistan directed at it. We will probably move to attack any meaningful terrorist activities with bombing campaigns. And, we are going to stop giving Afghanistan costly military and economic support. It is a win for the US in the short term.

However, the reputation of the US from a diplomatic perspective is going to hell in a handbasket. Biden is responsible for walking away from an ally. Terrorism in the region will increase exponentially. Heart-breaking violence against women will increase to unheard of levels. Other kinds of humanitarian crimes will occur throughout the country. All the lives of helpful Afghanistan people that are lost will be on the shoulders of President Biden.

And finally, Biden has undoubtedly proven that he is not a wartime commander. This will hurt him and the Democrats in future elections.

Illegal Immigration Stumps Biden Administration

The Biden administration is under the gun on several counts. A most important issue is illegal immigration on the US-Mexican border. President Biden has not been able to resolve the human carnage taking place, as promised.

The questions are: Does the US have an open border immigration policy? Are we going to allow millions of people to cross illegally into our country this year? Who’s going to pay for the care of these people that arrive with no money, nowhere to live, no food and no immunization from COVID? Where are we going to send these people after they arrive? To other border states, to New York City, to Chicago, to Los Angeles? Are Democrats willing to allow this massive invasion from the south believing that in five, 10 or 20 years the illegals will become citizens and vote for liberals? Is this any way to lead a country?

The situation down south has a number of important ramifications to consider short and long-term. The most pressing need is what to do with those who have been detained including hundreds of children. Are we going to cage illegals like animals until the system can catch up with the backlog? The captives must be fed, housed and treated medically. What is the short-term plan? Are we going to fill buses and drop these people off in the middle of cities throughout the United States? Are there plans to send illegals back to their home countries? How will we accomplish this? Who is going to pay?

As an aside, the answer to every question proposed asking who will pay is moot. Of course, American taxpayers will flip the bill. In the meantime, America has millions sleeping on the streets of its cities, increased poverty, more food stamps issued, excessive exposure to COVID, etc.

I don’t know how our government can continue to ignore the developments along the border. The “wall” is not looking like such an inane alternative any longer. At least, it would have stemmed the flow of illegals to some extent.

The federal government had no right to accept so many people. It is Congress’ role to establish quotas. Accommodations must be made to alleviate all the suffering. There must be a process, not a mad dash to wade across the Rio Grande. Our performance handling illegals is not much better than the refugee camps located in third world countries across the globe.

And then, of course, there is the humanitarian issue, civic responsibility and morality of our actions. Allowing people into the country with no process and creating a new class of destitute nomads is not good public policy even if it seems justified from an ethical perspective.

The US cannot save everyone throughout the world that has problems. The US must first take care of its own challenges before trying to solve problems globally. Leaders in Washington continue to be more concerned about the nut job who was our last president. Get over it. Start governing and legislating effectively.

There are no easy answers. But, taking care of illegals already in the US is a good start. Let’s give them a path to citizenship, but with one huge proviso: there can be no more illegal immigration into our country moving forward.

Was Afghanistan Worth It?

The downfall of Afghanistan is more than a remarkable event after 20 years of occupation. The US cut its support of the government, and within days, Taliban forces overwhelmed the whole country.

It’s now obvious that military power was the only thing holding the country together under the previous regime. As US ground forces exited and bombing strikes subsided, theocratic rebels took control of the country.

The US effort to nation build was once again a failure as it has been in so many places around the world in recent decades. Building a democracy with fair elections, a constitution, a court system and a unified army are extremely difficult tasks. This compares to the ragtag rebels who commit acts of terror and make it impossible for elected leaders to be elected and govern.

After 20 years, the Afghanistan project was a bust. Then again, no invaders of Afghanistan, in history, have ever been successful. The country’s rough terrain and religious driven male population has made the Taliban a tough competitor.

Why did the United States invade and occupy Afghanistan in the first place? The most important reason was the growth of terrorist organizations in the region, and 9/11, in which terrorists acted with impunity to undermine the US.

The US retaliated and our politicians decided to stay and nation build in a place where it is a mission impossible. US politicians believe that after you destroy a country with mighty force, you must rebuild it and make it a democracy. Afghans proved that they only respond to perpetual brute force.

After a few years, the country was controlled by puppets supported by the US. This resulted in some gains, but the Taliban never gave up. They resented US occupation and patiently waited in the wings for the US to leave.

The Taliban is driven by religion, a strong nationalistic vein and violent male domination. These characteristics have resulted in outrageous human rights violations against religious nonbelievers and women. The country is a despicable place, as it has been for ages.

What are the ramifications from the downfall of Afghanistan democracy? For one thing, it is a great victory for theocracies and authoritarian government in the region. Religious passion in repelling an enemy is a great asset going all the way back to the Crusades.

Another thing is the question of democratic experimentation. There are a few places in the world that have a stable enough society that can be democratic. Because of demographics, religion, social customs, geography and so much more it may be impossible for some countries to convert into a democracy.

I hate to say it, but the American blood and treasure expended on the Afghanistan experiment was for naught. Twenty years, a trillion dollars and thousands of casualties and injuries make the whole effort seem like a tragic misstep. Keep in mind the original military objective was to find and kill terrorists that attacked the US.

What of Biden’s decision to abandon the country? It was bad but remaining in Afghanistan would have also been a mistake. Maybe we should have left troops in in the country. But the same result was inevitable, it just would have been delayed.

The broader geopolitical implications are that theocratic and authoritarian regimes like Iran have been emboldened along with terrorists in countries that are not aligned with Iran, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. The region is ripe for more turmoil and government turnovers.

American diplomacy has taken a great hit. No matter what, people around the world will say that US walked away from Afghanistan when the going got tough.

Are The Olympics Worth The Cost?

So, what did you think about the Olympic Games that just ended in Japan on Sunday night? While on vacation, I watched the Olympians perform for hours on end at all times of the day. I really enjoyed viewing sports that I don’t follow on a regular basis and rooting for Team America. But there was a lot missing at this year’s Games, which was delayed one year by COVID.

What is the purpose of the Olympic Games? I’ll give you a few choices. Is it an opportunity to bring together sports people from around the world? Is it a contest between nations to collect the most medals? Is it an opportunity for the host country to show its stuff and to put on a great show? Is it an opportunity to reward the best athletes in the world? Is it a money-making moment for TV networks? Is it an opportunity for the host country to earn billions of dollars (or lose billions)?

It’s hard to believe that while millions are suffering and dying from COVID, millions are starving, millions are trapped in refugee camps and millions are sleeping in the streets we were cheering on swimmers trying to get from one end of a pool to the other in less than 60 seconds.

Is all the glitter worth the money spent? Is the world a better place now that the Olympics are over? Did relations between nations improved because of their participation in the Games? I don’t think so. Every day many of us watched to see how many medals American athletes had won versus our arch political enemies. Come on and admit it. Even if there were no Americans competing, didn’t you root for athletes from Great Britain and France over China and Russia?

And what about the decision to hold the Olympics? People are dying all over the world and Japan decided to create a super spreader community for the ages. Sure, they didn’t have many people watching events in person. But athletes from all over the world were panting and spewing spittle all over each other. It was a dangerous situation. I hope and pray that no one dies because of this grand sporting event.

Little has been said about the inability of sports fans to come to Japan. Reservations were made far in advance for travel, hotel and restaurants. I know people that are not being reimbursed. Millions of dollars, literally, are being stolen by suppliers in Japan. The true losses will ultimately be disclosed along with lawsuits to recover pre-payments.

The Olympics are good for those outstanding athletes that capture the most medals. But I bet no one who reads this blog can name more than four or five athletes who participated in the Games, even less if you exclude Simone Biles and the members of the US Basketball Team.

I attended the Rio Games five years ago. While there, I was shocked that the government of Brazil would spend billions on the event while their people were dying in the streets. Why would they build new stadiums in lieu of new housing? Where was the outrage? I expected to see Brazilians protest the Games and the amount of government funds being used to finance it. It didn’t happen.

Tokyo was next. I’ll bet the politicians rue the day that the country won the license to hold the 2020 Games. And it’s not over yet. The Japanese government will surely be roped into the controversy regarding the lost money by foreigners mentioned above.

In the future, the Games will only be approved if the bidders for the event are solvent countries that will be able to support the effort even if the Olympics lose money. Poor countries will not be bidding any longer.

The world population is either courageous for having the guts to hold the Games in spite of deteriorating economic conditions globally, regional wars, refugee problems and a pandemic that is threatening to kill off mankind, or we are all uncaring morons who don’t give a crap about the less fortunate.