The image of the Biden administration is in a death spiral due to its perceived failures in Afghanistan. Although most of the immediate consequences of the U.S. military withdrawal were predictable, the mid to longer term implications of the Taliban’s takeover may surprise us all.
Reports coming out of the new Islamic Republic of Afghanistan reveal that the Taliban have been in talks with the Chinese government to foment a deeper cooperative relationship going forward. This relationship would be beneficial to both governments, even as it poses a significant material and existential threat to the U.S. and the world.
China is interested in gaining access to Afghanistan’s rare earth mineral deposits, especially their lithium deposits. Afghanistan is home to one of the largest sources of lithium on the planet, an element necessary to produce electric car batteries and other renewable energy elements.
It’s estimated that demand for lithium will grow to 40 times the current levels over the next 20 years. This makes having a friendly relationship with the Taliban as it takes power in Afghanistan a smart business move for the Chinese.
Conversely, the Taliban will benefit from the ruthlessness and strength of the Communist Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). This is where material foreign policy concerns converge with the alliance’s existential threat.
The only significant challenge to the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan comes from the Northern Alliance. This group controls the Panjshir Valley in the north of the country. In a reciprocal relationship, the Taliban would benefit from a PLA initiative to eviscerate the Northern Alliance, something the PLA is well capable of doing; this would grant full control of the country (and potentially and ultimately the region) to the Taliban.
Yet, the Chinese and Taliban alliance is not the free world’s only concern. Additionally, an unlikely regional alliance — and one that defies traditional divisions — appears to be forming between the mullahs of Iran and the Taliban. While the two peoples and the respective extremist sects are traditionally at odds — the Iranians being Shiite and the Taliban practicing a fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam — the Taliban’s return to power has become a catalyst for the two disparate groups to align.
During the first reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan — from 1996 until its ouster in 2001 after the attacks of September 11, 2001— Iran held a strong anti-Taliban stance and was considered part of the Northern Alliance.
Notwithstanding this history of conflict, today the Shiite Iranian mullahs are seeking to turn that opposition into opportunity. They are taking steps to forge post-war trade, security, energy and transportation agreements, many of which are already in the works.
This budding Tehran-Taliban partnership finds two of America’s most zealous regional foes forging an ''enemy of my enemy is my friend'' scenario, much to the detriment of the United States, Europe and the free world.
It would do well to note that the Iranians and the Communist Chinese have also been crafting a functional relationship which will result in a further bonding of those who hold the U.S. in disdain. Ergo, with the triangulation of the Communist Chinese, the Shiite Iranian mullahs (who control Hezbollah, the most potent terror group in the eyes of the U.S. before September 11, 2001), and the Taliban-controlled government in Afghanistan, disturbing realities come into play for the Biden administration.
First is the irrevocable foothold the Communist Chinese government will have in Afghanistan and the global leverage it will have possessing exclusive rights to Afghanistan’s lithium cache. With the Biden administration’s premature move to not-ready-for-prime-time green energy — and as its systematic dismantling of both American energy independence and our fossil fuel industry, China will hold potent face cards where Sino-U.S. trade in green energy capability is concerned.
However, more important and more ominous is the fact that Afghanistan has fallen prey to the same Islamofascist group that gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. We can rationalize that the Taliban movement has evolved, but it has not.
Now, it has free reign to both craft new terrorist plots and train for new attacks on the United States and other nations
And while the naïve Westerners willingly accept promises from the Taliban that no acts of terrorism will emanate from Afghanistan again, the veracity of such promises is highly dubious. In Islam there is a tenet called al taqiyya.
Succinctly defined, it allows Muslims to lie to non-believers in two scenarios. The first is when a Muslim feels his life is in danger.
The second is in pursuit of advancing the dominance of Islam in the world. To my point, the advancement of Islam in the world satisfies the execution of al taqiyya.
Sadly, the Biden administration may be either too naïve or too dismissive when it comes to the intricacies of Islam to assess the mission of the Taliban government and distinguish it from rhetorical platitudes often deployed by dictators to temporarily appease their adversaries. Examples of Adolf Hitler’s foreign policy come to mind before World War II erupted.
Second to that greater point is that U.S. military personnel have already come under fire in Afghanistan, and before the withdrawal is even complete. The result: 13 dead U.S. service members. The consequences of the Biden administration handing Afghanistan back to the Taliban — a stronger and now better equipped Taliban — have yet to be fully realized.
We may have anticipated the collapse of the U.S. backed government and some of the embarrassment from our failed nation-building initiative, but not the bonds that the Taliban are pursuing with other dictatorships that are directly adverse to us.
Only one thing is certain. The Taliban have reemerged as a more formidable existential threat to America and the world. The Biden administration will need to reassess its defense strategy and foreign policy initiatives as it faces the dawn of the new Taliban.
Yuri Vanetik is a private investor, lawyer and political strategist based in California. Read Yuri Vanetik's Reports — More Here.
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