Finally, this time, a Biden administration debacle too moronic and tragic for even the mainstream media to ignore.
As CNN observes, “The debacle of the U.S. defeat and chaotic retreat in Afghanistan is a political disaster for Joe Biden, whose failure to orchestrate an urgent and orderly exit will further rock a presidency plagued by crises and stain his legacy.”
An urgent July 13 “confidential dissent channel” State Department memo signed by 23 American Embassy officials in Kabul warned that the country would rapidly collapse to Taliban control if the administration held to a planned August 31 troop withdrawal deadline.
Their frantic plea to Secretary of State Antony Blinken was futile.
NATO Allies Were Blindsided
The U.S. was not alone in military operations against Taliban — and ultimately terrorist al Qaeda and ISIS — forces.
Afghanistan was also an operation of America’s NATO allies in fulfillment of their obligations after the Sept. 11 terror attack led to the first Article 5 invocation of the mutual self-defense clause in the organization’s founding treaty.
Over the past 20 years, those NATO allies have invested significant blood and treasure in the conflict, including tens of thousands of troops, more than 1,100 of whom were killed, and billions of dollars.
Our European allies also have a big stake in preventing a nation of nearly 40 million people from collapsing into a failed state that could trigger more mass migration to Europe, or to become a new breeding ground for terrorism.
In addition, it left many of their citizens — and Afghan interpreters (“terps”) who had helped them — desperately stranded throughout the country at the mercy of Taliban who control all access to means of evacuation.
Nevertheless, the Biden administration never involved NATO in either the substance or timing of unilateral Afghanistan U.S. troop withdrawal. They deserved some real consultation input into the decision and the planning of any end to the war, and they have good reasons to resent disastrous consequences of those arrogant and incompetently ill-planned and executed actions.
Adding insult to injury, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly had to wait a day and a half after requesting a call to get vacationing Biden on the phone.
According to press reports, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told her conservative party she believed Biden withdrew “for domestic political reasons.” Her potential successor, head of the Christian Democratic Union Armin Laschet, called the Afghan withdrawal “the biggest debacle that NATO has suffered since its founding, and we’re standing before an epochal change.”
Dangerous, Humiliating Display of U.S. Weakness
Afghanistan chaos has also jolted our East Asia allies who rely on U.S. backing to resist rising China power and regional influence. America’s largest permanent overseas military deployment — about 50,000 troops — is in Japan.
A more immediate Beijing threat is Taiwan, a self-ruled island where, although the U.S has only a few dozen troops based at any given time, America backs by selling weapons and providing military guidance.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen warned in light of the U.S. retreat, that: “Taiwan’s only option is to grow stronger and become more united, strengthening our determination to protect ourselves.”
Beijing wasted no time following America’s Afghanistan surrender taunting Taiwan regarding false hopes that the U.S. can be counted on stand strong in their defense.
Last week, a Chinese Communist Party-controlled tabloid Global Times editorial warned, “Such a war would mean unthinkable costs for the U.S. in front of which the so-called special importance of Taiwan is nothing but wishful thinking.”
As former President Trump remains blocked on Twitter, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency also had a field day, tweeting side-by-side photos of helicopters evacuating U.S. government employees from Saigon and Kabul with the words “history repeats itself.”
America Now Blinded to al Qaeda and ISIS Resurgence
In addition to maintaining U.S. troop strength until American citizens and loyal Afghan terps were evacuated and military weaponry was secured from falling into Taliban hands, the military command also inexplicably abandoned our vitally strategic air bases at Bagram near Kabul and Kandahar, leaving no effective anti-terrorist intel capabilities to warn of threats not only to the region, but also to our mainland.
Whereas the U.S. previously used bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan for this detection in the early period of Afghan conflict, those relationships ended as Russia and China pushed those countries not to cooperate.
We have now learned that Russian President Vladimir Putin told Biden during a June 16 summit discussion that he objected to any role for American forces in Central Asia.
The previously unreported interference denies access for U.S. basing of drones and other counterterrorism forces in countries bordering landlocked Afghanistan. This forces American reliance upon bases in Qatar, other Arab Gulf states and U.S. Navy aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean to fly aircraft to Afghanistan.
Pakistan and Iran Win as India Loses
Last week, America’s so-called “ally,” Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, praised the Afghans for “breaking the shackles of slavery.”
This is, after all, a country the Pentagon has supported with nearly $15 billion in military assistance between 2002 and 2018 along with nonmilitary aid.
Simultaneously, Pakistan has undermined America’s Afghanistan defenses by sheltering, arming, and training Taliban forces. Recall, that in 2011, U.S. SEALS killed Osama bin Laden in a safe house next to Pakistan’s premier military academy.
The country — a nuclear power with a record of promoting nuclear proliferation, deep ties both to China and to the most hate-filled and murderous jihadist groups — is rejoicing over America’s Afghanistan surrender.
As Islamabad now more actively cements its ties to Beijing, New Delhi has good cause to perceive America’s Afghanistan incompetence and de facto Pakistan victory strengthening positions of radical anti-Indian and anti-Western forces.
Then there’s Iran, which has supplied Taliban insurgents with weapons and money, forming an unlikely but resilient bond between Tehran’s Shiite leaders and the fiercely Sunni fundamentalist insurgent group in Afghanistan.
Iran is Afghanistan’s largest trading partner, with about $2 billion in bilateral trade each year, nearly one-third of Afghanistan’s total trade volume in exchange for oil.
Tehran’s objectives are twofold: to ensure that security and economic ties remain strong —and to prevent a flood of Afghan refugees across the border. Their strategic objectives are aligned with China against U.S. and Western influence.
Former 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden was right when he said, “America needs a leader the world respects.”
It’s urgent that we bring that former leader back.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, "What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional," (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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