Afghanistan Today

Surely they mean, former Afghanistan President?

It’s like when Van Minh sat in the presidential palace as the tanks crashed in, and told the People’s Army colonel he was ready to hand over his authority. Bui Tin replied, “You have nothing to hand over, because you represent nothing.”

I have a lot of respect for First Vice President Amrullah Saleh. He’s in the Panjshir Valley organizing the resistance. It’ll probably cost him his life, but he’s fighting for his country.

The Panjshir Valley is famous for never successfully being conquered by the Russians or Taliban.

Of course it was planned in advance. Doesn’t make the timing look good at the moment.

“Hey because 50 years ago there was a bad PR moment when we withdrew from your country, we should ignore our economic and political ties in 2021 and cancel a Vice Presidential visit for something happening 7,000 miles away.”

It only “doesn’t look good” to people who are generally clueless.

The LA Times thinks the VP is close to the Afghanistan issue..

And thanks for your assessment of the importance of Vietnam during this crisis. After all, they’re ranked 16th and have twice the trade levels we have with…Russia.

Maybe they can stage a reenactment of Saigon to honor the occasion.

Exactly zero people think Vice Presidents set policy. Biden has been saying he wants us out of Afghanistan since 2010 or earlier, the idea that Harris made the decision is basically crazy talk. Also an article in the LA Times talking about Harris involvement in the administration and its Afghanistan pull out says zero about whether she should travel to Vietnam or not…

And I’m not sure what your pointing out they are our 16th largest trading partner is supposed to do, other than confirm my point? We have like 200 trading partners, 16th is pretty high on the list. If you actually followed our trading history you’d also note many U.S. companies started shifting production to Vietnam during Trump’s ill-fated trade war with China, they are only growing in importance.

But I guess for some reason Kamala should cancel the trip so she can be in Washington do… do what exactly? She’s the Vice President. She has zero command authority over the military. It’s literally her job to go on diplomatic trips like this that don’t warrant Presidential level involvement.

It looks bad to virtually every country that considers the US a superpower representing freedom.

Taiwan can’t be feeling good about this. But it doesn’t sound like a country we should involve ourselves in based on your rhetoric.

So you think Taiwan is concerned because Harris is in Vietnam on a trip? Okay.

Posting that nonsense is blind partisanship, frankly, and not posting in good faith. You’ve been presented with very compelling posts from @Martin_Hyde and a few others and you’re just stamping your feet and saying ‘No!’

Yeah, I think we’re losing sight of the fact that just because the Taliban ‘won’ that doesn’t mean the fighting is entirely over. In fact, it might have just started in some places.

This is one reason why I am actually entertaining the idea that the Taliban might be somewhat serious about being a slightly (emphasis added) kinder, gentler Taliban 2.0. They have military control over Afghanistan, which isn’t to be confused with political legitimacy. Taliban 1.0 didn’t work out for them two well. They were nearly wiped out of existence in the early 2000s and in the years since have been on the outside looking in. I think they are seeking domestic and international legitimacy this time, precisely because they don’t want to be outflanked by more radical groups like ISIS on the right or by pro-reform nationalists.

What is it that you think “looks bad” in this situation?

Is it the crumbling of the US puppet government and the takeover by the Taliban immediately upon US troop withdrawal? Yeah, I don’t think anyone here or anywhere is disagreeing that that situation isn’t good for America’s global image at present. That’s not a controversial opinion.

Or is it the fact that VP Harris is visiting Vietnam? I think we’d need to see some evidence before just accepting your assertion that all these countries are having negative reactions specifically about Harris’s Vietnam trip.

If I were a foreign leader, I’d think better of the US for following through on its pursuit of sensible foreign policy objectives—even in the aftermath of a serious foreign-policy clusterfuck—than I would if the US reacted to a serious foreign-policy clusterfuck by flouncing away from its other foreign-policy initiatives because “oh my god Becky it’s so embarrrrrrrrrrassing!!”

What really “doesn’t look good” for a major power is to be constantly fussing and flipflopping over how it thinks it “looks”. That’s how you wind up with the likes of Trump Administration “policies”.

I think Taiwan is concerned because Afghanistan was abandoned. I already cited the VP’s involvement in the crisis by a major newspaper. Feel free to write a letter to the editor.

Yep. They were trained to fight with air support, then it was pulled away from them.

Today the UK Parliament issued a censure of Biden:

It appears that Biden, who was going to restore America’s standing with its allies, didn’t bother to notify the UK or any other NATO partners of what he was doing. Boris Johnson even set up an emergency call to Biden when news started breaking, and was rebuffed for 36 hours. A serious insult to a major partner.

I also don’t understand what Biden is saying. He first claimed that the Afghan government would likely hold and that Kabul falling was ‘very unlikely’. Then his generals contradicted him and said they thought Kabul would fall, but not this quickly. Then Biden told George Stephanopoulis that his administration was prepared for every eventuality, made no mistakes at all, and that ‘chaos’ was inevitable and they’d always known it. At least one of those statements is a lie.

But assume he was telling the truth and they knew the pullout would lead to chaos. That means Biden ordered the pullout that would result in chaos, then he went on vacation. What the hell?

Also, what a horrific response when Stephanopoulis asked about the people falling from airplanes: an angry, “That was four days ago! Five days ago!”

First of all, it was a day and half earlier, not four or five days. Second, even if it was four days earlier, it was still an example of absolute chaos and failure to secure the only way out of the country.

He should,be ashamed of himself for the angry, defensive tone he’s struck and his, “This went exactly as planned with no mistakes” bluster. If that was the plan, everyone involved should resign.

Couple that with his blaming the Afghan people and the Afghan military, and he blew whatever residual good will might have been left in the region. The Afghan military was not ‘afraid to fight’. Jesus, they’ve lost almost 50,000 soldiers fighting the Taliban - almost as much as the US lost in Vietnam, out of a much smaller population. They just realized they couldn’t win without U.S. air support, and Biden pulled it from them without warning. And some of them are still fighting in a losing cause. Biden’s comments about them were disgusting.

Also, SecDef said that they just don’t have the military capacity to escort people to the airport, and they’d have to get there at their own risk, braving multiple Taliban checkpoints. Sorry, just nothing else can be done.

In the meantime, Britain, which was blindsided and had no time to prepare at all, has sent paratroopers into the country to secure its people and escort them to the airport.

As a Canadian who has been more supportive of America than many Americans, I’m apalled. Anyone who trusts America now is an idiot. Biden just wrecked America’s standing in the world more in this one action than Trump did in four years.

The damage to America can’t be overstated. China and Russia still have their embassies open in Kabul, and are being protected by the Taliban. China has become markedly more belligerent in rhetoric against the US since the failure began. UK Parliament is debating whether it’s worth staying in NATO, and talking about forming new coalitions since America has shown itself to be an unreliable partner. Even Justin Trudeau here in Canada is complaining. He’s been saying that the Taliban are blocking access for Canadians to get out of the country.

And the US just lost its only foothold in the region. For all of Biden’s bluster about ‘over the horizon’ monitoring, anyone who knows anything knows there is no substitute for human intelligence, and America just spit on the people providing that intelligence in Afghanistan. This will make it much harder to get similar intelligence in the future. American promises to protect informants and translators now means nothing.

This failure will reverberate for decades.

Maybe those other leaders, once in power and briefed on the situation, realized what a disaster a quick pullout would be and backed off. Maybe they actually listened to their generals when they told them how dangerous and difficult it would be, and what could go wrong, just like they apparently told Biden.

Biden is famously stubborn and arrogant, and thinks he knows more than anyone about foreign policy, despite being wrong about almost every foreign policy decision he’s ever made. Remember when he wanted to break Iraq into three conntries? Or when he opposed the raid that killed Bin Laden? Or opposed the first gulf war, while supporting the second? Good times.

We all know the real reason she went to Vietnam:

You’re the one who said Taiwan should be worried because Harris is in Vietnam, the newspaper did not say that. You seem confused, I’ll let you figure out what you’re trying to actually claim and get back to me.

They still had their own air force, and they did not fight, they sold their positions for money by and large. The idea that 180,000 soldiers who outnumber the Taliban 3 to 1, have better equipment and more training, couldn’t fight without U.S. air support is farcical, they could fight, they chose not to do so. The reasons for them choosing that are complicated but point to a generational, systemic failure in Afghanistan. They didn’t suddenly become willing to sell out their country because Joe Biden was elected President, much as you are attempting to paint that picture.

It reads to me that “several MPs” angrily criticized Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, and also criticized Biden. This doesn’t read like they “issued a censure.” Could you provide some evidence to this factual claim that the Westminster Parliament issued some formal censure of Joe Biden?

I’m not the leader of a NATO member country and I knew what was going on. President Trump signed an agreement in Doha last year to withdraw our forces, and had us down to 2500 when he left office. President Biden has continued that withdrawal throughout his first 7 months in office. Is it your assertion this was a “surprise?”

I have repeatedly called out this partisan, sophomoric, and stupid behavior since the days of George W. Bush. Bush at his Crawford Ranch, Obama at Martha’s Vineyard, Trump at Mar-a-Lago. The President does not go on vacation. The President may go somewhere that is not the White House, but it is not vacation, and it does not alter their ability to govern. Presidents have made extremely important, world altering decisions from Camp David.

While I reject the notion that the collapse had anything to do with a lack of air support, let’s for a moment go down your little rabbit hole. You are aware it was Trump Administration policy to end that air support as well, correct? Trump signed and was implementing an agreement for a full withdrawal. This wasn’t new information.

“By continuing a Trump Policy Biden has done more damage to America’s standing in the world than Trump did in four years.”

I’ll ask you the same question I asked Magiver: are you in favor of a permanent, open-ended commitment to Afghanistan? If so, to what level would you like to see Canada involved? I view Canada’s contributions to the Afghan war to be minimal and extremely deficient compared to those of America–I say that taking into account Canada is a much smaller country, Canada, the UK and Germany did not give even in proportion to their smaller size the same that we did in Afghanistan. Would you be comfortable ramping up Canada’s involvement there to match the proportion of the United States involvement? Would you like to explain what your plan for Afghanistan is when after 20 years of nation building we created a nation that literally no one in Afghanistan has any loyalty towards? A government that no one viewed as legitimate? What is your rationale for us continuing to invest $45bn/yr in nation building that appears to have achieved absolutely nothing?

It is quite possible you aren’t considering the bigger picture in your haste to attack Biden, but I’m calling you out on it, you’re advocating a permanent, unconditional presence in Afghanistan. Tell me why and tell me how you’d make it work. If you don’t you’re a charlatan.

Actually the effect can be overstated–quite dramatically, by you, in this thread. Especially in a post filled with multiple hyperbolic statements and inaccuracies. Joe Biden has sent the terrible message that “when America tells you for over 20 years we will not stay deployed in your country forever, it means it.” Oh no, America’s standing in the world is destroyed. As for the geopolitical element vis-a-vis Russia and China, our behavior in Afghanistan most likely is something that thrilled them for 20 years–20 years of their enemy wasting blood and treasure in a country that is unlikely to be made stable anytime soon. Endless meaningless wars in Afghanistan are so popular and so smart strategically the smarter countries like Russia and China engage in such wars all the time…oh wait, China hasn’t engaged in a major overseas conflict since the Sino-Vietnamese War 40 years ago. Russia finds such conflicts so smart and strategically beneficial it engaged in one just as recently as…its failed occupation of Afghanistan 30 years ago. Please Sun Tzu, tell me more of your war strategy.

Not only are you Sun Tzu but apparently, you’re Bill Donovan too, revered master spy. Your espionage majesty has just reached a new peak–in establishing the concept that one can only acquire intelligence from countries that we are actively occupying with a large contingent of regular military forces. It’s strange that we maintain FBI counterespionage resources to protect us from Russia and China, since they have no military deployments within our borders we have nothing to worry about in terms of their ability to gather intelligence. Someone needs to review the FBI’s budget and get rid of those wasteful programs.

Hey, one of your few points I agree with. But I think we probably mean different things. You mean “hey this is a bunch of bullshit I can use to attack Democrats”, I mean it as “hey, we clearly have been failing in Afghanistan since 2006, publicly since 2015 or so, and we failed to address or respond to that for that entire time.” We also repeatedly promised to leave the country but stated no goals that we expected to be met before that occurred. When we finally left, the house of cards we built collapsed immediately. That should be a major wake up call, and not along the lines of–hey we should stupidly invade countries and nation build and then stay forever because we’re afraid to admit we’re stupid but maybe more along the lines of “don’t do things like this in the first place.”

I will also say that I think there needs to be a serious reevaluation of America’s position in the world anyway. The idea that I should be losing sleep because we’ve “lost influence in Central Asia”, frankly is concerning to me. America was built around the concept of not getting too entangled in foreign alliances. After World War II and then during the Cold War, we cast that aside. I’m not looking to a return of us having virtually no military (like Canada or Germany), and no active foreign policy, but I do think we need to seriously consider if it is necessary for us to have the sort of influence around the entire world that requires large military deployments. Note that our enemies that you’re so worried about, do not behave this way. They have small bases and they have economic agreements. It is absolutely unnecessary for us to have major military deployments all over the world. We actually don’t need to “dominate” every region of the world. Central Asia is right in Russia and China’s back yard, I’d frankly be happy for both of them to become more influential in the region because it will bring them more into direct conflict, which is only good for us.

I’m not even against large military deployments, unlike Trump–I would not want to see us withdraw from Western Europe and South Korea. I think there are strategic advantages to those deployments. Same for Japan. But those deployments do not involve us propping up failed states, and have natural synergies.

Yes, and yes. Canada is well known for its peacekeeping. We had peacekeepers in Cyprus for 56 years. At one point we had about 20,000 soldiers there.

I’ve never supported ‘nation building’ in Afghanistan. That’s a fool’s errand. But a UN or NATO peacekeeping force could have been managed. I supported Canada fighting alongside the U.S. in Afghanistan, and Canadian soldiers served honorably and saved American soldiers multiple times. 158 Canadians lost their lives fighting the Taliban who Biden has put back in charge.

As for Trump… Why am I called on to defend him? I’m not a Trump supporter. I think his drawdown was reckless, and to some extent made leaving an inevitability, since there would have been no political will to send soldiers back in, and it would have been dangerous since 2,500 was probably not enough to repulse the Taliban and they might have started a major offensive if they thought America was reneging and putting troops back in. So that’s on Trump. However, Biden has already said he would have done the same thing even if Trump hadn’t had that agrement with the Taliban, so I guess he owns it.

What’s on Biden is the horribly botched pullout, his refusal to admit mistakes, his failure to notify allies or listen to the warnings of his generals, and his despicable blaming of the people he abandoned.

Canada depends on the US. But the camel’s straw is hardly Afghanistan. We got a wee bit suspicious of Trump after he threw a hissy fit at a G-20 meeting and started personally attacking the Prime Minister. Most Canadians like NAFTA, and Trump was very slightly critical of trade;deals - though of course Trump is so inscrutable it is very hard to know his feelings on any issue. Biden is so much more blunt, that guy just tells it like it is without a filter. :wink:

Seriously? you’re parsing words for the sake of argument? Parliament actually took the time to publicly dress down Biden. His treatment of Prime Minister Johnson was disgraceful.

Biden has severely weakened any credibility this country had as a NATO partner.

And your comment about Presidents taking vacation time was just pointless. Of course Presidents take vacations. Camp David exists as a retreat from the daily work load and all Presidents routinely pack up and go back to their favorite rest area. They’re reported in the news as vacations. Being on vacation doesn’t mean a divorce from all job related work.

Clearly in this case Biden was on vacation while the taliban tore through Afghanistan and that is how it was reported in the news despite your opinion of terminology.