Commentary: Epitaph for the ‘War on Terror’

Twenty years after the U.S. government declared war on terrorism, it consummated its own defeat in Kabul and Washington, in a manner foreseeable, foreseen, and foreshadowed in 9/11’s immediate aftermath. Fixation on itself and unseriousness about war are the twin habits of heart and mind that disposed the ruling class to defeat. The practical explanation for why and how it accepted defeat is found in the overriding interest each part of the ruling class has in doing what it wants to do. 

On the night of September 11, 2001, Muslim governments strictly forbade public celebrations of the carnage. The Palestinian Authority, anticipating that outraged Americans would destroy them to avenge the day’s events, even called the attacks al nachba—“the disaster.” But as the U.S. ruling class made clear that it was accepting defeat, the Muslim world’s media and streets celebrated.

Two decades later, after that defeat’s logic had worked its way through and transformed American life, and as the government’s self-humiliating exit from Afghanistan consummated it, much of mankind followed Muslim crowds in celebrating—including prominent Americans. 

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North Korea Restarting Nuclear Reactor Was Likely Inevitable, Expert Says

Nuclear power plant

North Korea was likely always going to restart its nuclear reactor regardless of which presidential administration was in office, an expert on the region told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in late August that North Korea had restarted a plutonium-producing 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon in July 2021, after previously shutting it down in 2018.

Bruce Klingner, the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF that while it’s unclear whether the timing of the restart was meant to send a message, North Korea probably was planning for the reactor to become operational again for a while.

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Commentary: Remember What Happened After the Soviets left Afghanistan, and Why

Red Forest near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Exclusion Zone.

If you watched HBO’s recent docudrama about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, you may have been struck by the historic connection to the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan. The epilogue posited the theory that the need for helicopters to mitigate the nuclear disaster caused the Russians to pull the attack helicopters from Afghanistan, making the already pointless war impossible to continue. So in 1988, the Soviets cut their losses and withdrew from Afghanistan. 

The Afghan rebels did not seize control of Afghanistan until 1992. But the 1988 withdrawal also played a huge role in the loss of legitimacy for the Soviet system itself. The apparent juggernaut wielded terrifying power at its borders but remained frail and vulnerable to collapse from within. The very idea that the great Soviet evil empire could fail set off a series of dominoes that led to its collapse. The Afghan war, the struggling economy, and the Chernobyl disaster all combined to reveal the wise and powerful leaders in Moscow as incompetent despots.

More than 30 years later, American planners may have felt they had years or at least months during which residual civilians could make an orderly departure from Afghanistan as needed. The Soviet puppet government lasted almost four years (ironically, longer than the Soviet Union continued to exist), so why wouldn’t an American-sponsored government be able to hold on at least that long? The American planners probably believed that they were prolonging the longevity of the puppet regime by leaving nearly $80 billion in military equipment in the hands of the American-aligned Afghan government.

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44 Afghan Refugees Brought to the U.S. Flagged as Potential National Security Risks

Afghan men

Some 44 Afghan refugees who were brought to the U.S. were flagged as potential national security threats in the last two weeks, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

Over 60,000 Afghans have been evacuated to the U.S. and around 13 of them are waiting to go through additional counterterrorism screening measures in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, according to the Post. Fifteen others were transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and returned to processing stations in Europe and the Middle East or allowed to enter the U.S. after further screening.

Another 16 Afghans are waiting to see whether they’ll be cleared for travel at U.S. processing sites in countries overseas, the Post reported. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents reportedly show officials raised concerns about multiple refugees for potential ties to terror organizations including suspicious information on their electronic devices.

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‘Huge Hole’: Congressman Says Feds Aren’t Vetting Social Media Posts of Afghan Refugees

Tom Tiffany

Acongressman from Wisconsin, where thousands of Afghan evacuees are being temporarily resettled, says the Biden administration is creating a significant security risk by failing to aggressively vet refugees’ social media before allowing then to reach U.S. destinations.

Rep. Tom Tiffany, a Republican, told Just the News that the failure to vet social media posts for possible extremism is just one of several byproducts of a chaotic Biden administration exit strategy that has moved immigrants to U.S. installations in third countries before adequate security checks could be completed.

“They said, get them on the planes, and we’ll sort the immigration status out later,” Tiffany said during a wide-ranging interview on the John Solomon Reports podcast. “And Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken acknowledged that this last weekend, on the Sunday news shows that that’s exactly what they did. That is a terrible way to handle national security.”

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Commentary: The Unchanging Telos of the Democrats

Afghan people

Watching the Biden Administration bring into the country tens of thousands of unvetted Afghans, who are neither U.S. citizens nor native Afghans who assisted American troops, I am coming to wonder whether Biden was actually wrong to describe the withdrawal of American forces as an “immense success.” It was, in fact, exactly what Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other Democratic operatives said it was: a success that will move the Democrats toward their goal of creating a one-party state. 

Like the illegal aliens streaming across our southern borders and the efforts to remove restrictions against voting fraud, the influx of Afghan refugees is intended to increase the number of votes that will likely go to the Democratic Party, no matter how badly they mismanage the country. 

Looking at these coordinated steps, I am reminded of an idea put forth by Aristotle in book six of the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle famously insisted on a distinction between technical expertise (e.g., building a house) and deeper, more foundational forms of knowledge. The most primal wisdom is sophia, which deals with universal knowledge that underlies all other true modes of knowing. But Aristotle also raises the question of whether there are not forms of techne that are so well developed that they reflect sophia. The two examples that he cites are Phidias’s work as an architect and Polykleitos’s achievements as a sculptor. According to Aristotle, the excellence that characterizes their technical skills indicates their creators are truly wise.

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Pakistani Ambassador Doubts U.S. Intelligence Taliban Is Seeking ‘Retribution’ Against Afghans

The Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. said he does not believe the Taliban is seeking “retribution” against Afghans, contrary to American intelligence, according to emails obtained by Politico.

Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan said in exchanges between the U.S. and Pakistan that the Taliban “were not seeking retribution, and in fact were going home to home to assure Afghans that there will not be reprisals,” based on “ground observations,” Politico reported.

U.S. State Department official Ervin Massinga noted that “he has seen reporting to the contrary and hopes the Taliban do not seek revenge.”

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Airbnb Offers Free Temporary Housing Across the World to 20,000 Afghan Refugees

Airbnb, a vacation home rental site, is offering free temporary housing to around 20,000 Afghan refugees across the world, the company announced Tuesday.

“As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettle around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter in their new lives,” Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky said in a statement. “For these 20,000 refugees, my hope is that the Airbnb community will provide them with not only a safe place to rest and start over, but also a warm welcome home.”

Around 3.5 million people living in Afghanistan have been displaced, including around 270,000 due to Taliban advances since January, the U.N. reported on July 13. Around 10,400 people were evacuated by U.S. military flights from Afghanistan Sunday and another 6,660 were taken Monday, according to the Associated Press.

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‘This Is a Massive F*** Up’: Team Organizing Private Flights out of Afghanistan Says the Biden Administration Has Been an ‘Impediment’ to Their Evacuations

Joe Biden

The Biden administration has been an “impediment” to a private effort to get people out of Afghanistan, Robert Stryk, who is arranging privately chartered flights to get Americans and vulnerable Afghans out of the country, exclusively told the Daily Caller News Foundation Monday.

“The Brits and South Africans have been fucking awesome and heroic in getting people through the Mil Gate,” Stryk told the DCNF.

Stryk, whose Washington-based lobbying firm was in 2017 paid by the government of Afghanistan for “US Government affairs and commercial sector advice. Executive Branch and Legislative Branch Engagement; Defense consultation; strategic advice pertaining to extremism/terrorism; and promotion of democracy and foreign direct investment,” said he had reached out to the administration “dozens and dozens” of times and had yet to hear back.

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Biden’s Green Energy Plan and Botched Afghan Withdrawal Boost China’s Rare Metals Monopoly

At first blush, it may not seem that the Democrats’ $4.5 trillion infrastructure and spending plans and President Joe Biden’s bungled exit from Afghanistan have a nexus. But they do in China’s rare metals monopoly.

Beijing already dominates the rare metals market needed for electronics, electric car batteries and computers, a reality made more painfully obvious with the current computer chip shortage that is slowing production of new U.S. cars.

And now with the haphazard U.S. withdrawal from Kabul, one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of lithium — estimated by some at $1 trillion in Afghanistan — is poised to fall into China’s hands just as Biden has ordered that half all U.S. cars be electric by 2030 and congressional Democrats prepare to vote to invest tens of billions of dollars more to push that goal further.

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Commentary: Between Afghanistan and Joe Biden, It Is a Struggle to See Which Fell Faster

Joe Biden

While the disadvantages of aging are often lamented and discussed, there are a few perks. One of which is having actual memories of events about which younger people can only read about or view on YouTube. For me, one of those memories etched indelibly in my mind is that of American helicopters airlifting diplomats and workers off of rooftops in Saigon as it fell.

I watched Vietnam fall with the voice of Walter Cronkite narrating. The symbolism of that long and failed endless American war was so vivid and so devastating that for me, like others in my generation, I was left to hope that the United States would never let something like that happen in the future.

Now, as I watch the scenes out of Afghanistan, I am put in mind of the immortal line given to us by New York Yankee legend Yogi Berra: It’s déjà vu all over again.

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Report: Terrorist Released by Obama in Exchange for Bowe Bergdahl Played Key Role in Taliban’s Return to Power

Taliban insurgents turn themselves in to Afghan National Security Forces at a forward operating base in Puza-i-Eshan

One of the five Taliban commanders who was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2014 by former president Barack Obama in exchange for Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, is emerging as a key figure who helped the insurgents seize power in Afghanistan.

Khairullah Khairkhwa, along with the other freed detainees, used Qatar as a base to form a Taliban regime in exile, and eventually became an official negotiator for peace talks with the Biden regime, the New York Post reported.

Khairkhwa previously served as Spokesperson of the Taliban regime, Governor of the Kabul Province of the Taliban regime, and Minister of Internal Affairs of the Taliban regime, according to the United Nations National Security Council.

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Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction Says 20 Year Effort is Marked by ‘Too Many Failures’

Special IG for Afghanistan ReconstructionFollow Inspector General John F. Sopko Testifies before Congress

The special inspector general for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is calling the two-decade effort to rebuild the country a failure. The August 2021 report details the areas in which the American effort to rebuild the country came up far short of the initial goal.

“The extraordinary costs were meant to serve a purpose – though the definition of that purpose evolved over time,” reads the 140-page report, alluding the United States’ changing goals in the region over the course of its 20-year military presence in Afghanistan.

“After 13 years of oversight, the cumulative list of systemic challenges SIGAR and other oversight bodies have identified is staggering,” reads the report.

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Biden Admin, Echoing Trump, Warns That a Chinese Attack on the Philippines Will Draw Military Response

Large group of United States Military soldiers standing in straight line at a base

The Biden Administration continued the Trump-era rejection of almost all of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, warning the communist country that an attack on the Philippines would draw a significant U.S. response.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed the U.S.’ message in a statement Sunday, which was also the fifth anniversary of an international tribunal ruling in favor of the Philippines and against China’s maritime claims. China has rejected the ruling since it was first made.

“Nowhere is the rules-based maritime order under greater threat than in the South China Sea,” Blinken said, accusing China of attempting to “coerce and intimidate Southeast Asian coastal states, threatening freedom of navigation in this critical global throughway.”

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‘We Never Agreed to This’: State Dept. Objects After Diplomats Given Anal Swab Covid Tests in China

The Biden State Department is crying foul after an unknown number of American diplomats were reportedly subjected to anal swab Covid tests in China.

“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a state department spokesperson told Vice News on Wednesday. ‘We Never Agreed to This.’

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Commentary: America’s Fake European Friends

Sometimes the people you help the most are the most ungrateful.

During World War II Americans left the security of their own continent and helped save Western Europe from both Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. In doing so Americans also rescued Germans from Nazism. During the Cold War Americans spent decades on duty confronting Moscow while the Europeans freeloaded on defense. Ultimately the continent exulted as the Berlin Wall fell, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, and the Soviet Union collapsed — all courtesy decades of U.S. involvement.

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Commentary: Biden Signals Pivot Back to China with Controversial National Security Council Pick

President Joe Biden is signaling a pivot back to China with his most recent choice to sit on the National Security Council, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell.

Campbell wrote the book, “The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia,” where he argued, “While the Asian Century detoured to the Middle East in the years following the September 11 attacks… the United States has led a ‘Pivot’ (or ‘rebalancing,’ as many prefer) of American diplomacy toward the nuanced yet demanding tasks of engaging a rising Asia. The Pivot is premised on the idea that the Asia-Pacific region not only increasingly defines global power and commerce, but also welcomes U.S. leadership and rewards U.S. engagement with positive returns on political, economic, and military investments.”

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