Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 24, 2021

The Foreign Policy Borg And The Retreat From Afghanistan - by Michael Brenner

by Michael Brenner

There are few things in this kaleidoscopic world of ours that we can count on – for predictability, for fixity of outlook, for unswerving resistance to the vicissitudes of life. The American foreign policy community is one of them. They reliably react to stunning events in the world with reiteration of what they have been saying for years and decades They do so in unison. They never admit error of analysis or of policy, they preserve a righteous tone, and they retain a permanent inventory of persons to scapegoat – and, equally important, those who are always exempt from blame.

The Afghan debacle demonstrates, once again, how deeply entrenched this behavioral pattern is. It is self-evident, it is glaring, and it is a reason for both shame and for doubting the United States’ ability to conduct its external relations in a sober, reasonable manner. Recent essays of mine have sought to explicate this phenomenon. There is no point in trying to summarize them. Instead, here are several declarative statements intended to correct some of the most egregious misrepresentations about what had happened and its implications:

  1. The United States never has had a strategic national interest in Afghanistan – certainly, not for the past 30 years.
  2. No one is to blame for ‘losing’ Afghanistan. It never was ours to lose; it was never ours to recast in Washington’s image of what we would like it to be. No more than China, Cuba, Vietnam or Iraq were ‘ours’ to lose.
  3. The widespread notion that the ‘American Dream’ has as a central component an imperative to empower women and teach religious tolerance in Central Asia, among other places, is total nonsense. It is neither historically, psychologically nor philosophically valid (to understate it). There are very good reasons to probe the collective American psyche in search of clues as to why we act as we do. Superimposing a puerile version of WOKE sensibility on the nation’s foreign affairs is a pastime we cannot afford – even if the editors of The New York Times instruct us that their potted version of history is the true one. That tale tells us that Afghanistan dissipated a dream that somehow had survived Vietnam, Iraq, and Libya - not to speak of our failed experiments in exporting Americanism in Haiti (multiple times), Dominican Republic (a few times) and across the Central American banana belt.
  4. Staying in Afghanistan after we had dislodged and scattered the al-Qaeda was a fool’s errand from the very beginning; whether the aims were geostrategic or nation-building. It never had a chance of succeeding. The foreseeable costs always outweighed any conceivable successes – however modest – by several magnitudes.
  5. Afghanistan significance as a launching pad for Islamic terrorism was always exaggerated, and today is totally unjustified. The Taliban did provide refuge for Osama bin-Laden and his lieutenants after they were kicked out of Sudan. The execution of 9/11 itself was organized in Hamburg and operationally coordinated from two apartments in New Jersey. Over the past several years, the mainspring for terrorist acts has been ISIS – not al-Qaeda or its affiliates. Al Nusra, an affiliate, has concentrated its activities in Syria. ISIS, in turn, owes its existence to the United States. It was spawned in the prison camps we built in Iraq, its core recruits were Iraqis, its military expertise was provided by ex-officers of Saddam’s army whom L. Paul Bremmer III summarily fired in 2003.
  6. Some ISIS fighters did try to reestablish themselves in Afghanistan -with transport and support provided by their long-time backer: President Erdogan of Turkey. (He exported others to Azerbaijan and many thousand to Libya). They were a mixed lot of Syrians, Iraqis, Chechens, Uighurs. Initially, they got some sympathy from radical Taliban factions. The leadership, though, wanted nothing to do with them and soon moved to suppress/evict them forcibly and will continue to root them out. In the present Taliban vision for the country, they are as welcome as a Vatican established bishopric in Kabul.
  7. The range of commitments made by the Taliban in Moscow in regard to jihadis - and other- matters - gain credibility from the new regime's acute need for economic assistance. Washington's freezing of the Central bank's meager assets in only the first step in the West's campaign to strangle Afghanistan and, thereby, to destabilize the Taliban government. China and Russia have pledged financial aid, investment and commercial dealings to counteract the American strategy. It would be put in jeopardy by any significant Taliban deviation from the mutually agreed guidelines.
  8. The main reasons why the West’s Afghan project failed were these: we installed a corrupt, incompetent, and weak leadership that had little legitimacy in the eyes of a majority of Afghans; our coddling of warlords, opium lords and a host of unsavory characters; the deep-seated Afghan distaste for foreigners meddling in their affairs. The use of aggressive tactics like search-and-destroy, signature airstrikes and the creation of Afghan commando units that were a law unto themselves – all of which alienated an increasing fraction of the Afghan (largely rural) population. So, our placing of non-Pashtuns from the Northern Alliance in most senior military, Intelligence and police positions (along with a preponderance of rank & file personnel) to quell an insurrection that was Pashtun at its core. In other words, our strategy was a recipe for recrudescence of the Taliban as effective as anything they could have prepared themselves.
  9. The United States understanding of the country they were trying to reconstitute was thin, non-existent or distorted. This was true of policy-makers in Washington and especially the Pentagon’s Central Command which ran the war. The parade of commanding generals whose identity changed every year was a further guarantee that the learning curve would be flat.
  10. The suddenness of the Ghani regime’s disintegration, the collapse of the much-touted Afghan Army we supposedly trained for 19 years – in mimicry of the routing of the even more highly touted, Petraeus built Iraqi National Army that crumbled with hardly a shot being fired before ISIS in 2014 The evacuation fiasco itself derived from poor Intelligence – CIA & Pentagon, the willful ignorance about Afghan politics, and appallingly bad planning by the U.S. Army.
  11. The Army is one of those entities that our politicos and MSM have been given immunity from accountability and criticism. The Pentagon’s omnipresent campaign to sacrilize the American military has paid off in a big way. So, instead of offering the apology they owe the American people they carp from the sidelines (if retired), leak to the press (if still in uniform) and mobilize their corps of Pentagon-briefed, Pentagon-loyal camp-followers to lay the blame on President Biden*. These are members of the defense expert fraternity who have an unblemished record of getting just about everything wrong since the inception of the Global War On Terror. The decision to leave Afghanistan was made by Trump and Pompeo. They had nearly a year to prepare. Biden gave them an extra three months. Military forces in country were kept at levels that the Army itself deemed adequate to ensure a smooth withdrawal of troops. He later added a few thousand. And it was the Pentagon, not Joe Biden, that took the bizarre snap decision to quit the Begram Airbase in the dead of night (without informing the Afghan general slated to inherit it) – thereby, denying us a secure airport conducive to an orderly processing and boarding of evacuees.
  12. However, it appears obvious that no contingency plans were ever made for a possible rapid evacuation of civilians – much less qualifying Afghans. Even in the fateful weeks when the handwriting was on the wall, they brass failed to act. The tragic fiasco at the airport was wholly the Pentagon’s fault. They could not as much as cordon off sections of the airport, establish control of entry gates, or maintain a modicum of order.

    The ensuing chaos occurred despite the understanding with the Taliban, who observed it, not to interfere with the evacuations.

    So, a fair judgment is that the people who should be denounced for sins of omission – and a few of commission – are Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley, CENTCOM head General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr, and the American commander of ISAF, General Austin “Scott” Miller. They are the 4 untouchables who barely get a mention while the pack harries Joe Biden. Simply put, they didn’t do their jobs.

    No candor, no sense of responsibility. What do we get instead? The Republicans castigate Biden for Trump's decision. The Pentagon casts aspersions on the administration - but surreptitiously. The media put on their hysterical psycho-drama - and, in the process, display their profound ignorance cultivated over 15 years of forgetting about Afghanistan. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan seeks to divert attention and to sow panic (thereby, perhaps, unifying Americans in collective fear) by loudly sounding the alarm about a fanciful ISIS threat - "real" and "acute" - to the evacuation.

*(Biden, for all his faults, was the one man in the Obama administration who stood up to the cabal orchestrated by Robert Gates, with Hillary out front providing political cover, that coerced Barack Obama into the ill-fated ‘surge’ of 2009-2010).

---
Added by b:

The White House just announced that the U.S. will stick to August 31 as the end date for the complete retreat from Afghanistan as the Taliban had demanded. In light of the above I do expect last minute Pentagon shenanigans to sabotage that outcome.

Posted by b on August 24, 2021 at 15:52 UTC | Permalink

Comments
next page »

thanks michael... that sums it up pretty well... i think the other issue is the usa reliance of the intel agencies... they basically swallow the pablum without question, even when the scenarios painted are shown to be vacuous or worse... there is no accountability on them either.. in fact the usa doesn't do '''accountability'''... no navel gazing allowed, lol... according to obama - you american folks have to move on and let go of the past! don't ever examine it... this reminds me of karl roves statement... well it appears biden was listening to the intel agencies.... obama turned a blind eye to isis and etc. etc... i agree with the thought this exit from afganistan is a critical symbol for the clear demise of the usa... it might take a while, but it is coming...

Posted by: james | Aug 24 2021 16:17 utc | 1

I totally agree with the analysis. It is true that Biden made the decision to withdraw, so it is the responsibility of the four defense chiefs, State Dept in conjunction with CIA to make the withdrawl happen. No buts and iffs. Now let us compare this to the defeated Soviet withdrawl from Afganistan in 1990's with the Taliban shooting them at their back. No PANIC, NO HELICOPTER LIFTS, NO ONE FALLING FROM THE PLANES. What a shame.

Posted by: Muralidhar Rao | Aug 24 2021 16:24 utc | 2

Thanks b!

Here's a must-watch Aaron Mate interview with Danny Sjursen and Mathew Hoh on the US invasion and 20-year occupation of Afghanistan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bo7P_podIk

It's 56 minutes but not watching it means not fully understanding just how completely corrupt the whole enterprise has been.

It's a good companion to this great piece by former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter:

The only truth about US disastrous Afghanistan war is that it was all based on lies
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/532305-taliban-victory-us-lie/

Or to capture the essence of the 20-year US-led occupation in two sentences:

"The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war."

- Julian Assange, 2011

(In fact, it's the taxpayers of as many as 57 countries involved ...)

Or in 4 words:

"War is a racket."

- Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, 1935

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 24 2021 16:24 utc | 3

...last minute Pentagon shenanigans to sabotage that outcome.
They're already sabotaging it by slowing down the evacuation from Kabul.

Today a USAF C17 flew into Kabul through Turkmenistan airspace from Tbilisi in Georgia. At about the same time a civilian A340 flew into Kabul.

Why isn't US/UK/NATO using civilian aircraft to evacuate people from Kabul since they can obviously fly in and out of Kabul.

Why is US/UK/NATO flying out of various Gulf States which are about a six hour round trip to Kabul, when Mary International Airport in Turkmenistan is a two hour round trip to Kabul. Use military aircraft to ferry evacuees to Mary, then use civilian aircraft to fly the evacuees straight on to Europe?

It seems to me NATO is doing this slowly so that they have a justification for staying in Kabul, but the Taliban could close down Kabul airport on September 1 in minutes and it would be very difficult for NATO to reopen it.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 24 2021 16:28 utc | 4

And I'll bet the British government hold off the gung-ho talk about going back until the US is good and gone.

Posted by: dh | Aug 24 2021 16:31 utc | 5

The Pentagon reminds me a lot the Kwantung Army during the early 20th Century: an institution that became a State-within-the-State (a de facto parallel government) that did whatever it wanted to do, serving as the harbinger of the end of the Japanese Empire - an event which did in fact happen, in spectacular fashion, when they were exterminated in two weeks by the Red Army in what essentially was a walk in the park for the Soviets.

But, more importantly, I have a hypothesis on why the West is behaving like this since the 2008 meltdown.

When the USSR collapsed, it first collapsed on the ideological-propaganda front: Mikhail Gorbachev, in the moment he rose to power, already was a converted liberal. It never crossed the minds of the Soviet reformists that reform could be done with more, not less, socialism/central planning. From day 1, Gorbachev started with his aggressive, virulent capitalist reforms, degenerating to the point where, in the death throes of the Perestroika (which failed spectacularly), he accused the Soviet people of being too docile, too submissive, too slave-minded, to operate the allegedly superior system of capitalism.

Therefore, when it came the time to collapse economically, the USSR collapsed in all fronts, suddenly, because ideologically it was already defeated. The head died and the body simply collapsed.

The West followed the inverse path. Capitalism collapsed in September 2008, but the ideology is still alive. As a result, what we observe is a bunch of ideologues of all forms and shape, ranging from all the Postmodern catalogue of beasts, talking pure nonsense as if capitalism was still at its apex.

If you read the ideologues' narratives, you can see they're the same old narratives touted since the post-war. The difference is now that they're completely out of context. Those narratives made sense when capitalism was experiencing its second youth due to the economic miracle of the post-war reconstruction (1945-1974). Ideas aren't born out of nothingness: they are only convincing when they are in their natural habitat, in their correspondent economic system. After capitalism collapsed, those super smart theories lost their varnish and revealed themselves as the pseudo-scientific bullshit they really are. However, they remain echoing because they're still feeding over the carcass of the system; the body died, but the head - pickled in a jar - is still talking.

Capitalism is now in the phase Gramsci described where "the old has died, but the new still can't be born".

Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 16:33 utc | 6

@5 I'll rephrase that. The Brits will stop the gung-ho talk once they are sure the US is good and gone.

Posted by: dh | Aug 24 2021 16:38 utc | 7

2. No one is to blame for ‘losing’ Afghanistan.

Well, SOMEONE IS TO BLAME for the loss of two trillion dollars and tens of thousands of causalities of war - including the death of >4,000 American and allied soldiers plus many more wounded.

That's all being finessed with partisan bickering and feel-good PR:

Exploitative Viral PR Photos Of Military Invaders With Afghan Kids

That’s right. Invade a nation, kill hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants, stay for decades, accomplish nothing besides making war profiteers wealthy, drop everything and leave, then have your armed goon squad take PR photos with local infants so everyone thinks your military is awesome.


!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 24 2021 16:40 utc | 8

Now let us compare this to the defeated Soviet withdrawl from Afganistan in 1990's with the Taliban shooting them at their back

Muralidhar Rao @ 2

The Soviets weren’t defeated. They government they left in place lasted another 3 years after they left and only collapsed because the Soviet Union was not able to support it anymore,

Shah Massoud admitted that if they knew what would follow after the collapse of the government (brutal civil war) they would never have attacked it.

The US was defeated. Their exit had to be negotiated with the Taliban. Their client regime collapsed before they had even fully withdrawn,

Posted by: Down South | Aug 24 2021 16:45 utc | 9

All you need to know about the Empire 'con':

Assange rots in jail while GWBush and Blair make millions.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 24 2021 16:49 utc | 10

A decision was made to get involved and both parties and the bureaucrazies dutifully carried out the mission. What entities has such a powerfull hold over a policy that dates back to 1978 in various forms?

Trump comes along and runs on a platform to get out, tries to get out, and is villanized by everyone.
One man changed direction. One man tried to make peace in Korea with the same results, villanized by everyone and everything.

In all this madness a collective orchestration is run. Whom are the conductors? Certainly not Trump. Without plumbing the pipeline of the conductors of these policies we will never have relief.

Personally I see most are mentored into these postions by a small group of people who were nmentored into their positions to tow the line

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 24 2021 16:50 utc | 11

Yesterday I watched, for the second time, my DVD of the movie "Paths Of Glory." It was all there: the impossible mission, the lying and scapegoating, the desperate attempts to defend indefensible (moral) positions, and finally the senseless execution of innocent soldiers to uphold the "ancient regime's" honor and protect the reputation of a high-ranking officer. Yes, it was fiction, but that doesn't mean it didn't portray the truth. Exceptional? Only in our ability to faithfully repeat all the mistakes of our brutish human past.

.......

The recently deceased Neil Sheehan titled his fascinating book about the US in Vietnam A Bright Shining Lie. Nothing ever seems to change much.

......

It has been fascinating reading all the editorials from so-called progressive, liberal, or even moderate pundits, not only criticizing the conduct of the operation, but the very fact that the US is leaving at all. Don't even want to get started on the skullduggery fucks in Britain: if they wish to continue their believed mastery in "the great game" of fashioning and directing geopolitics, then let them enter and hold Afghanistan - again, because it was such a hoot the first time around.

I read an op-ed in The Atlantic that seemed to put forth the proposition that Biden's decision was a calculated attempt to snatch the mantle of populism from his predecessor. ????? Well, maybe so, but there isn't a US Pol that is so dimwitted not to fear the coals of criticism they would be raked over for taking and making this decision.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Aug 24 2021 16:52 utc | 12

RE: The Foreign Policy Borg And The Retreat From Afghanistan - by Michael Brenner

by Michael Brenner

Posted by b on August 24, 2021 at 15:52 UTC | Permalink

“Instead, here are several declarative statements intended to correct some of the most egregious misrepresentations about what had happened and its implications: “

A skim illustrating “once again, how deeply entrenched this behavioral pattern is.”

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 24 2021 16:56 utc | 13

circumspect @Aug24 16:50 #11

Sorry, Trump is no saint. He occupied Syrian oil fields, assassinated an Iranian general, gave Israel everything he could (in defiance of the UN), supported a coup in Venezuela (including stealing Venezuelan State assets), and he undermined his Korean peace initiative by not abiding by the terms he agreed to (proving that his offer of peace was never more than pretense - a public relations stunt).

There are MANY people of all persuasions that have said that the Afghan war made no sense. They said this for years because it was true. The Generals, Politicians, and bought-and-paid-for Pundits didn't want to hear it. The most we got was some wringing of hands from time to time.

That's what happens when there's no accountability. Forever wars and an endless series of 'cons'.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 24 2021 17:02 utc | 14

It has been fascinating reading all the editorials from so-called progressive, liberal, or even moderate pundits, not only criticizing the conduct of the operation, but the very fact that the US is leaving at all. Don't even want to get started on the skullduggery fucks in Britain: if they wish to continue their believed mastery in "the great game" of fashioning and directing geopolitics, then let them enter and hold Afghanistan - again, because it was such a hoot the first time around.

I read an op-ed in The Atlantic that seemed to put forth the proposition that Biden's decision was a calculated attempt to snatch the mantle of populism from his predecessor. ????? Well, maybe so, but there isn't a US Pol that is so dimwitted not to fear the coals of criticism they would be raked over for taking and making this decision.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Aug 24 2021 16:52 utc | 12

Well said. It is indeed amusing to watch the Mighty Wurlitzer thrash around trying to find the right way to sabotage "Biden's" instransigence about getting out NOW.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 24 2021 17:02 utc | 15

this is an iteration of the "who lost china" debate the 2 parties have been having between themselves since something like 1948 or so. and the answer is the usual "it was never yours to lose" and "both of you".

Posted by: pretzelattack | Aug 24 2021 17:05 utc | 16

RE: Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 16:33 utc | 6

“Gramsci described where "…..the old has died, but the new still can't be born".

Both you and Mr. Gramsci were misguided.

The old has not died but is in half-life, whilst the new has been born and is learning through evaluated practice in co-operation, hence the skim illustrating “once again, how deeply entrenched this behavioural pattern is.”

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 24 2021 17:07 utc | 17

RE: Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 16:33 utc | 6

“Gramsci described where "…..the old has died, but the new still can't be born".

Both you and Mr. Gramsci were misguided.

The old has not died but is in half-life, whilst the new has been born and is learning through evaluated practice in co-operation hence the skim illustrating “once again, how deeply entrenched this behavioural pattern is.”

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 24 2021 17:09 utc | 18

Modi regime media like the propaganda channel WION are falling over themselves praising Amrullah Saleh, of whom they had never heard ten days ago, as the Golden Boy who will Liberate Afghanistan from Taliban Rule. I wonder what they'll do when their cherished - and surrounded and isolated - Panjshir "New Northern Alliance" crashes and burns.

I read a hilarious piece in the Modi lapdog media organ The Print alleging that the Amerikastani withdrawal from Afghanistan is good news for India since Amerikastan will have more troops available to fight China on India's behalf. Apparently The Print forgot that Afghan peasants in turbans with 50 year old rifles just beat the pants off the Amerikastani Empire, and that Amerikastan has just shown itself ready to abandon its own citizens, let alone commit suicide fighting China for the greater glory of Narendrabhai Damodardasbhai Modi.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Aug 24 2021 17:10 utc | 19

great read, thanks. Sums it all up nicely. And now sticking to the withdrawal deadline of 8/31 in the face of intense pressure to extend... Biden should fire Austin, Milley etc. now before the 'shenanigans' can begin.

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 24 2021 17:24 utc | 21

Further to my comment @3, Bernie Madoff and Enron were a drop in the bucket compared to this racket. The taxpayers of as many as 57 countries were bilked to the tune of trillions of dollars (over $2.26 trillion from US taxpayers alone, according to estimates that don't even include the costs of lifetime care for veterans or the future interest on all the debt incurred to run this scam.)

If the pervasive corruption revealed in that Aaron Mate interview with Danny Sjursen and Mathew Hoh (link @3) is indicative of the US system as a whole - and I suspect it is - that points to a house of cards that will come crashing down sooner or later ...

Are the gravity-defying US financial markets, fueled by debt, like the 20-year US war on Afghanistan, continuing on and on, year after year, only to one day suddenly collapse in just a matter of days?

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 24 2021 17:24 utc | 22

On the Sunday open-thread I posted a comment (Posted by: dh-mtl | Aug 22 2021 14:28 utc | 5) outlining a thesis that there has been a split in the U.S. Deep State, and that the debacle in Afghanistan is a result of this split.

This discussion from The Duran (https://theduran.com/uk-establishment-turns-on-biden-tony-blair-calls-us-withdrawal-imbecilic/) provides further support to this thesis.

The thesis is that the financial elites in the U.S. who's business is US-centric, which includes most of the large U.S. based banks, have broken with the trans-national 'Globalists', largely run out of London. It is these US-centric elites who have instructed Biden to pull out of Afghanistan.

If this thesis is correct, then I find it hard to imagine how the 'Globalists'' project of Global Governance by global institutions, largely based in Europe, can now succeed.

Perhaps the implied threat to their Global Governance project is the reason for the vehemence of the reaction of the British Deep State that Mercouris describes.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Aug 24 2021 17:25 utc | 23

b, thank you for publishing this piece by Michael Brenner. It is the single best summary and analysis of the complete U.S. failure in Afghanistan that I have seen. If only Biden would fire or demote the military and intelligence officers who engineered the disastrous withdrawal. Of course, then he would truly be at war with the Deep State, a war that he could not possibly win.

Posted by: Rob | Aug 24 2021 17:31 utc | 24

There are few things in this kaleidoscopic world of ours that we can count on – for predictability, for fixity of outlook, for unswerving resistance to the vicissitudes of life. The American foreign policy community is one of them. They reliably react to stunning events in the world with reiteration of what they have been saying for years and decades They do so in unison. They never admit error of analysis or of policy, they preserve a righteous tone, and they retain a permanent inventory of persons to scapegoat – and, equally important, those who are always exempt from blame

You mean reiterated tripe from THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT like this?

The execution of 9/11 itself was organized in Hamburg and operationally coordinated from two apartments in New Jersey

Posted by: john | Aug 24 2021 17:33 utc | 25

"War is a racket." - Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, 1935
Canadian Cents @ 3 - That was a great article boiling things down to point form.
And I note you reduced it further to a few basic points.
And Buttler said it all in 4 words.

Reduction vs data loss and expansion are a chief interest of mine. After all:

Data is a racket too.

Was I overly verbose there? Chuckle.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Aug 24 2021 17:38 utc | 26

The only major points Brenner seems to omit are the genocidal drone attacks on weddings, funerals, and other social gatherings that provided the major boost for forming the resistance and the Taliban's offer to arrest and extradite Bin-Laden if evidence of his guilt was provided.

As for the Borg, its history of criminality is long, beginning formally on 22 October 1945. When looked at closely and very critically, its done the exact opposite of promoting the USA's interests and instead made it the #1 Pariah and Terrorist Nation it is today as it continues to double-down in its illegalities despite huge mountains of evidence that such actions are always failures. That it's already declared future plans for Afghanistan involve further aggressive actions to keep it destabilized detail the utter immorality and criminality of the Borg, that they're actually beyond the heinous criminality of Hitler's Nazis and deserve being arrested, tried for their crimes, and when found guilty hung by the neck until dead.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 24 2021 17:42 utc | 27

re: Brenner claims

The United States never has had a strategic national interest in Afghanistan – certainly, not for the past 30 years.
That's not true. The US has long had a "Silk Road" strategy that depended upon a presence in Central Asia. It was civilian in Kazakhstan and military in Afghanistan.

No one is to blame for ‘losing’ Afghanistan. It never was ours to lose
Wrong again. The 'government in Kabul was a complete US puppet, owned by the U.S. . . NATO and India in particular are upset that the U.S. lost Afghanistan.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24 2021 17:42 utc | 28

Canadian Cents - Agree with your comments. The lack of focus on the obvious racket of these wars by even the antiwar crowd is sometimes maddening. The focus on "mistakes" and "well meaning westerners trying to implant liberalism" ... all hogwash.

As Smedley Butler pointed out so long ago: war is a racket. These wars (Iraq, Afghanland, Syria, the GWOT generally, etc.) are NOT failures. How can something that converts trillions of $ from the middle class to the 0.1% be a failure in the latter's eyes? These wars are spectacular successes:

https://outline.com/mfaGwb

Posted by: Caliman | Aug 24 2021 17:52 utc | 29

RE: Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 16:33 utc | 6

“It never crossed the minds of the Soviet reformists that reform could be done with more, not less, socialism/central planning. “

You are mistaken, “perestroika” which came first, was to increase productivity by greater control over the “narod” through central planning laterally with a sprinling of "controlled co-operatives", including but not restricted to the “anti-alcohol campaign” and efforts to penalise the “4 day week-end.”

It didn't work partly because Gosplan found it easier to continue to tell tales, so “glasnost” was introduced to by pass Gosplan which afforded the “narod” increasing information to add to the information they already had of how they had been screwed since 1917 when the RSDP (B) faction in the Petrograd Soviet voted themselves special rations in times of famine, and why increasingly “Socialism” was held in the same contempt as “Democracy”, facilitating the demise of “The Soviet Union” which from its inception in 1922 was never a union of soviets, but a collection of Potemkin villages of let's pretend soviets.

Mr. Gorbachov and his associates were not “enemies of the people” they were useful fools, although some were even more useful fools in holding your view of Mr. Gorbachov and his associates sufficiently to organise what they hoped to be a coup, a scenario that Mr. Andropov and others deemed possible when Mr. Andropov appeared to annoint Mr. Gorbachov as one of his proteges, since Mr. Andropov and others had understood that "The Soviet Union" was not viable since at least 1968, and that the "schmoozer" from Krasnodarsky oblast who could be given an enhanced propiska to Moscow, was a bear of little brain or blat without publishing it in "Pravda".

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 24 2021 17:55 utc | 30

Pepe Escobar's latest provides this gem:

"According to the terms of the Washington-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February 2020, the US should continue to fund Afghanistan during and after its withdrawal.

"Now, with the Fall of Kabul and the imminent return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, it’s becoming clear that applying financial soft power tactics may be even more deadly than a mere NATO occupation.

"Washington has frozen $9.5 billion in Afghan Central Bank reserves and the International Monetary Fund has canceled its lending to Afghanistan, including $460 million that’s part of a Covid-19 relief program.

"These dollars pay for government salaries and imports. Their absence will lead to the 'Afghan people' hurting even more, a direct consequence of inevitable currency depreciation, rising food prices and inflation.

"A corollary to this economic tragedy is a classic 'take the money and run' caper: Former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country after allegedly packing four cars with $169 million in cash, and leaving $5 million on the tarmac of Kabul airport." [My Emphasis]

Yet another "agreement" reneged upon that ought to be considered yet another War Crime. It must be hoped that outside of its NATO and other vassals the remainder of the world's nations can clearly see the Outlaw US Empire's immorality and criminality such that they refuse to have anything to do with it and them.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 24 2021 17:56 utc | 31

"we installed a corrupt, incompetent, and weak leadership that had little legitimacy"

That was by design, not by accident. We do it constantly, and always for the same reasons.

It gives the US control. It creates a dependent puppet that will do whatever the US wishes.

If the US created an real government with its own legitimate base of power, it could defy the US. Likely it would given the foolish ideas so often pushed from Washington to serve US domestic political needs.

The British and French perfected this idea in their attacks on India. They offered support to the side that would otherwise lose, which then won only because it got and kept their support. That gave control to the rather tiny forces that tipped the balance.

The US of course goes the next step, and creates little puppet regimes that are totally helpless, so the US has total control. That suits the US image of itself.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Aug 24 2021 17:59 utc | 32

I haven't lost a night's sleep about Grenada in over 30 years.

Posted by: Rjb1.5 | Aug 24 2021 18:13 utc | 33

Mark Thomason, @32, agreed. The US weaponizes corruption. (It weaponizes anything and everything in its relentless drive to plunder and loot.) Corrupt to the core.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 24 2021 18:26 utc | 34

once again, since most people fail to mention it, I will have to:

1. USA doesn't care to "win wars". That's NOT its primary goal. USA's/NATO/West's goal is to cause chaos, destruction and to destroy a country so it cannot be an economic/political rival. USA did it to Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Ukraine, now in Afghanistan. By its goal, USA succeeded 100% in Afghanistan. Afghanistan 's infrastructure has been destroyed and what's even better(from USA's point of view) a fundamentalist militaristic Muslim government will now be in charge. If' thats NOT a win, I don't know what is. Afghanistan will be a basket case for decades to come, and even with China's help it will be a hard road ahead.
2. For 20 years, US''s goal WAS FOR Afghanistan NOT TO FALL under China's influence and to not allow Afghanistan to join the BRI. Once again, USA succeeded 100%. BRI was delayed for over 20 years.

and so on.

Y'all need to stop thinking small and to start thinking. USA didn't lose in Afghanistan it was a draw and a total 100% win in USA's view.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Aug 24 2021 18:34 utc | 35

Global News is reporting that Canadian PM Trudeau has just said that Canadian forces were willing to stay in Afghanistan past Aug 31. Foreshadowing the Pentagon shenanigans that b mentions?

Posted by: spudski | Aug 24 2021 18:43 utc | 36

Caliman @29, thanks for the link to the article "$10,000 Invested in Defense Stocks When Afghanistan War Began Now Worth Almost $100,000"!

Of course, "the boards of directors of all five defense contractors include retired top-level military officers."

It mentions the great 2005 documentary "Why We Fight" from Eugene Jarecki and Eisenhower's famous warning to Americans about the military-industrial complex, that Americans paid insufficient attention to, that has since metastasized even further than "Why We Fight" described in 2005, with the attendant results.

Jackrabbit @8, thanks for the link to the Caitlin Johnstone article.

"Just imagine if all this media firepower had gone into criticizing all the lies and devastation that went into creating this mess in the first place."

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 24 2021 18:44 utc | 37

Yes, the US does not own the rest of the world, therefore when people of other countries make decisions, it is not some sort of "failure" on the part of US presidents to keep ownership.
No, 9-11 was not planned in an Afghan cave, or an apartment in New Jersey, or in Hamburg. It was planned and executed right here in the good ol' USA MIC and related corporations.
The US did not overlook heroin production, it facilitated it.
The Iraqi army was told to withdraw from Mosul and to leave their weapons behind, thus gifting the US-created ISIS with weapons and equipment with which to invade Syria. They didn't run, they withdrew.
Why would the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria show up in Afghanistan? Or Indonesia? Or the Philippines? The franchises are part of the US attempts to destabilize various countries, so their name and mission statement is ignored by all media.
I agree that the US had a reason to be in Afghanistan, and they are loudly proclaiming it now. No, not the part about liberating the women. The part about stopping China from expanding influence in "the region". (i.e. the region that abuts the Chinese border).
Trump signed an agreement to withdraw US troops by May 1st. This should not be considered optional. The US has a long-standing tradition of breaking treaties, but we shouldn't accept that as valid behavior. It is not. The US should have been out 4 months ago.
Pretending that Bin Laden had anything to do with 9-11, pretending that the US accidentally stumbled into invasion, pretending that there was no clear reason to be there, and pretending that the US now has a choice about staying, is all poppycock.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Aug 24 2021 18:45 utc | 38

There is more to say on #3. The USA are promoting a model where religious fundamentalists are allowed free reign, and the US foreign policy has been deeply in bed with fundamentalist protestants all over the world. More than often, they have been voting together with the Vatican and Iran to limit funding for family planning programs.
If not for the USA allowing religious discourse as part of international politics (cf. 'In God we trust' and the XXXL allies that are Israel and KSA), it would have disappeared from the public discourse of intl relations long ago. At the same time, the same USA are actively manufacturing a visual culture that is degrading women (and now men too) by turning them into sexual objects, resulting in provoking a backlash in the same traditional societies it wishes to dominate.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 24 2021 18:46 utc | 39

Hoyeru #35:

I disagree. The primary goal is not to create chaos for its own sake or to further empire (though they are not above creating chaos in furtherance of their real aim). The goal (primary, secondary, and tertiary) is always and ever to make money for the people who own/run the country. These people, summarized relatively well as the MICIMATT (military industrial congressional intelligence media academic and think tank complex) have, ever since the American landscape itself became well-settled at the end of the 19th century thus ending the robber baron era internally, been looking abroad for easy money, the easiest and most consistent profits being in low grade war.

As Netanyahu has said many times, America is actually very easy to understand and manipulate. All you have to realize is, as the chairman of GM said so many decades ago, "the business of America is business."

Posted by: Caliman | Aug 24 2021 18:54 utc | 40

In his current essay, Alastair Crooke makes an excellent observation that could be pinned on more than just the Afghan government:

"[T]here is a limit to how long a corrupt elite, severed from its roots in its own people, can be sustained by a waning alien culture."

That applies to almost all NATO nations and the Outlaw US Empire most certainly. Some who know the history of 19th Century Europe ought to see the rising parallels to the events of 1848 when very similar conditions existed causing Revolutions to arise. The ongoing effort to characterize democratic Russia as authoritarian is projection to the max by both EU, UK and Outlaw US Empire. The idea that India is now somehow cutoff from Central Asia by the Afghan retreat is ludicrous--apparently the pundits pushing that crap don't know China and India share numerous multilateral organizations aimed at enhancing the security and wellbeing of all nations within Eurasia.

Indeed, it seems that big Oh No!! is related to the growing realization that the battle for control over MacKinder's Heartland has ended in failure--a Stupendous Strategic Defeat for the West after almost 600 years of attempted conquest despite the Empire holding a few peripheral positions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 24 2021 19:07 utc | 41

You keep sayin' you've got somethin' for me
Somethin' you call Freedumb but confess.
You've been a'messin' where you shouldn'a been a'messin'
And now someone else is getting all your best.

These boots are made for walkin'
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

You keep lyin' when you oughta be truthin'
And you keep losing when you oughta not bet
You keep samin' when you oughta be a'changin'
Now what's right is right but you ain't been right yet.

These boots are made for walkin'
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

You keep playin' where you shouldn't be playin'
And you keep thinkin' that you'll never get burnt (ha)
I just found me a brand new box of matches, yeah
And what They knows you ain't had time to learn.

These boots are made for walkin'
And that's just what they'll do.
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

Are you ready, boots? Start walkin'

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 24 2021 19:18 utc | 42

Do Americans want integrity, competency, accountability... ?

Please DEMAND these qualities from the Biden & all administrations, starting with Afghanistan. A record be published of all the expectations that the Biden administration set and failed to deliver regarding Afghanistan. Why did we spend two decades and billions of dollars to try to build the Afghan army that would fail? We Americans also demand a full account of all wars where our troops are involved, along with rationale to continue, expenses,..., starting with (illegal war) Syria. Let’s see what Americans do to the administration they elect, fund and serve.

What is GOVERNING in America? Self-enrichment? Self-preservation? Elections (what % of incumbents get re-elected)? How competently have our own administrators been governing for the past twenty years or since 1971? Meanwhile, how successful have they been at achieving that other objective: adding zeroes to their bank accounts? From 1796 to 1980, American only created $3 trillion approximately. How much money has been created after 1980? How do Americans define and enforce governance?

How about the WORLD? Why do nations (China, Russia, Japan,...) fund their own destruction? Why use the US$ as a reserve currency? Why save in the UST-bonds? STOP using the US$ (private money) in the international arena for a better world. Actions speak louder than words.

When will the world act with conscience, common sense and courage?

Posted by: Max | Aug 24 2021 19:25 utc | 43

Karlov1@$31

Thanks!

I have trouble reviewing if any thinking has gone on to this latest war crime of seizing or freezing afghan funds. It totally is your face to the taliban and then expecting "cooperation."

Do the buy den admin not see the potential hostage situation pending if Taliban decide to shut down cooperation for this or other reasons?

Posted by: Thomas Minnehan | Aug 24 2021 19:27 utc | 44

Patrick Armstrong's current essay also contains much food for thought for Europeans as he asks, "What to Do? – The European Dilemma." The easy answer is to cease following the Outlaw US Empire's diktats, while also dropping the EU's attempt to become a Superpower. As a result of its behavior, I'm inclined to rename Brussels, Bribed or Bamboozled. If it continues its current path, it will eventually enter a new Dark Age as it cuts itself off from greater Eurasia and dooms itself to becoming an economic backwater.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 24 2021 19:39 utc | 45

Hmm.. haven’t read through Brenner’s article yet; I clicked on the link to his bio and searched for his other missives. This one from 2017 is thought-provoking (vk, you came to mind) : “Deconstructing Globalization: the anthropological dimension of why we blame “globalization” for our own, very human lack of proper action and understanding.” (It’s the human need to blame, he explains.)

“In that sense, the guilt-trip referral to globalization is just the latest manifestation of earlier forms of guilt-tripping — whether called “capitalism,” “the state” or “society.”

https://www.theglobalist.com/globalization-society-culture-anthropology/

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 24 2021 19:50 utc | 46

to expand on my 28 re Brenner's. . .The United States never has had a strategic national interest in Afghanistan – certainly, not for the past 30 years.

That's wrong. The US Silk Road Strategy is based upon the Silk Road Strategy Acts of 1999 and 2006, and a reiteration by SecState H. Clinton (in India) ten years ago.

.... Yes, we are beginning to withdraw combat troops and transfer responsibility for security to the Afghan people, a process that will be completed in 2014, but drawing down our troops is not the same as leaving or disengaging. We and the Afghans are making progress on a new strategic partnership declaration that will define our relationship after 2014.
...Historically, the nations of South and Central Asia were connected to each other and the rest of the continent by a sprawling trading network called the Silk Road. Indian merchants used to trade spices, gems, and textiles, along with ideas and culture, everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the banks of the Bosphorus. Let’s work together to create a new Silk Road. Not a single thoroughfare like its namesake, but an international web and network of economic and transit connections. That means building more rail lines, highways, energy infrastructure, like the proposed pipeline to run from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, through Pakistan into India. It means upgrading the facilities at border crossings, such as India and Pakistan are now doing at Waga. . .here

This is especially why India is disappointed in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24 2021 19:57 utc | 47

There is a point to a president resisting the deep state, even if it is inevitable that he will lose.

Every such defeat of a president makes it clearer that American democracy is a sham and that rule by the American deep state lacks legitimacy.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 24 2021 20:04 utc | 48

I was writing this yesterday but got interrupted before finishing. However, it may still fit here.

I was wondering if the basic concept that we have of the Pentagon and US forces is not completely wrong. That the old idea of some heroic, defensive force, necessary for the well-being of an idea and a population, has now become something else entirely.

Has the Pentagon now become a brutal Corporation? Where "cash-flows", marketing campaigns, "profit and sometimes loss", OPA’s at a countrywide scale are the guiding features of a Gigantic Corporate protection racket?

The link between Corporations, Politics and the Pentagon has always been close. Rumsfeld made a lot of cash from Tamiflu and Pfizer as well as his “other” job with the forces. Cheney and Haliburton are well known bedfellows. Old examples, but there are many more recent “revolving doors” in Politics and directorships in the Arms Industry. Are they all simply career moves within the same Corporate system?

A Pentagon PolyCorporation? (Poly => Political). Another name for cross dressing careerists => Pentagonals ?

Now we come to Afghanistan where the visible object was NOT to win, but keep the cash flow intact. For an indefinite period according to Petraeus – who wants to continue for another 80 to 100 years. (Retirement benefits make you immortal?). Steadily converting the country into a mineral/natural asset exploitation by groups/Politicians that could be privatised by “investors”. Many of whom would be also ex-Pentagonals.

So thinking in a Corporate mode as much as possible.
Consider the revenue streams for a Pentagonal Corporation;

Entries, Annual Revenue;
*$1.2 and + Trillion P/A from the US Taxpayers for the regular budget.
* Wars are additional, and come from separate budgeting. This is one reason there is still a “war” on terror.
*Special Budgets for “Special Ops (?). Note that “Lying” about accounts was legalized several years ago, as you serfs are not supposed to know the totals.
*The Revenue streams via NATO (A sub-Brand of the Pentagon). = 2% of GNP (aimed for) from 30 countries. (Mainly European). Further financial support from up to a total of 50 “allied” countries (ie. including Oz, NZ, S. Korea, Japan, etc. etc.)
*Arms sales. Both to aligned forces and non-aligned.
*Arms research.
*Additional revenue from dedicated Infrastructure paid for by occupied countries. (including in NATO occupied countries) This item includes income for upkeep of Bases and associated expenditure for use of land and adapted means of communication. Not included in regular NATO contributions. ie. Germany pays heavily for these items on top of NATO taxes, as does Italy (80 bases).
*Drugs.
*Ongoing Revenues from previous operations. (ie. Kuwait is still paying for the last Gulf War.
*Benefits from Protection rackets (ie. Trump asked Iraq for 50% of their profit from Oil sales, for keeping US troops in Iraq, you know, because of naughty Iran. The President/PM who said “no” was replaced. Present kickback to the US unknown). Saudi Arabia and other States will also be paying into this “fund”.
*Fully owned franchise, at least until recently, Afghanistan. (Mineral wealth etc.)
*Other Branch/Franchises providing incomes (Syrian Oil and Wheat). I am not sure if the 85% of the annual income from Oil and Gas of Yemen which is stolen by external forces should be added here. This will mainly be Saudi and UAR, but as both Israel and the US are involved via Djibouti, and by arms sales to the MbS axis, it has been added as a supplementary source of income.
**

Recoverable expenditure; (Each one can be replaced by the industrial side)
*Armaments; These should include “divestment” to enable replacement. ie. Giveaways as in Afghanistan, or to ISIS in Iraq. To Israel.
*Built in obsolescence (F-35). Coastal Warships.
*Loss. (outright, of arms and assets)
***

Expenditure.
*Grunts and Suckers. Pay, transport costs, “Clothing” is offset by revenue gained by having the latest “mode” tailor made, and equipped with flashy non-optional extras.
*Stakeholder benefits (Commissioned Officers and other hangers-on). Salaries, bonuses, in-kind advantages.
*Propaganda and MSM control.
*Political expenditure. (“Politicians are surprisingly cheap” to quote from some billionaire. Possibility for a discount if you buy several)
*** ***

...and so on
You can see that not having my own multinational Corporation, I lack experience in accounting, but I see that the Pentagon is not much better as they have not yet produced either a “budget or accounts”. Rumsfeld even announced that they had “lost a couple of trillion or so” two days before 9/11. Careless.

Afghanistan will cost somebody a lot of loolah, but it won’t be the Pentagonals who pay.
***

Summary. Wars are for keeping, they are NEVER for winning. The main profit comes from keeping the cash flow going, and from the Taxpayer (including indirect revenues), but extra income can also come from the exploitation or theft of others resources.

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 24 2021 20:10 utc | 49

I'm sorry, but this just doesn't add up.

If it was incompetence on the part of the military that caused the current cluster-phuque at Kabul airport, how is it that they managed to evacuate an entire airbase overnight? If it is the military that is trying to prolong the war then WHY did they evacuate Bagram with such expedition in the first place?

The military wasted no time at all getting out of Afghanistan, and did so with such alacrity that thousands had to be sent back in to herd the civilian cattle onto airplanes. Had the civilians already been evacuated then the entire "crisis" would be over right now. If the civilians could take commercial flights out then the entire "crisis" would be over.

To be certain we are seeing the consequences of stunning incompetence now at the airport, but it isn't the military who are dragging things out. It is the civilian side of things that are trying to keep the empire's foot in the door (CIA/State Department, of course). I think the distinction is important.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 24 2021 20:39 utc | 50

"screwed since 1917 when the RSDP (B) faction in the Petrograd Soviet voted themselves special rations in times of famine"
Gotta love how the Bolshie haters wind themselves up on vintage propaganda. But that might spare us hearing about Lenin's trove of child pornography.

Posted by: dadooronron | Aug 24 2021 20:43 utc | 51

Afghanistân should as a reward be alloted the next Summer Olympic Games that can be scheduled: There are lots and lots of empty US Army camps to house athletes in, and lots of empty embassies and hotels for high-paying tourists. Cave exploration and running in desert storms should be added to the lists of competitive sports. Also, I'm shure the WHO would love to extinguish the explosive dieharrea caused (the sulfur blurps) that hit most travellers thru that land. The Kabûl area has the best vines for wine-making in the whole world: Invite liberal muslim Uighurs from Tarim in Xinjiang to help them with that task! (And call it "dawa" -- i.e. 'medicine.)

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 24 2021 20:46 utc | 52

Stonebird @49--

Surely you recall Cache-22? Another writer I read recently also used that same motif but I can't recall the name. You may also recall the Pecora Hearings from the mid-1930s that exposed a similar political-economy being used/planned by the Merchants of Death, which were highly significant in passing three differing Neutrality Acts. I also suspect that post-WW2 planning later known as Military Keynesianism is an embodiment of all three as codified in 1947's National Security Act. Recently, the awarding of the construction contract by Congress for the building of yet another useless aircraft carrier was explicitly termed as a "jobs program" by the Virginia Congressman in whose district the construction would occur. In other words, there's lots of evidence to support your thesis. Other concepts describing the same: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, and the infamous War=Peace. You'll note that Cache-22 is rarely if ever shown by any media because of the truth it portrays. Finally, the deliberate construction of the Isolationist/ism Straw Man as the foil for militarized internationalism at WW2's beginning clearly informs us as to the lies being formulated for the Narrative and subsequent policy. The ultimate problem is the suppression of that history and knowledge in texts and teacher training so very few ever learn the truth as designed, thus proving the premeditation of the Evil visited upon the world since May 1945.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 24 2021 20:47 utc | 53

dh-mtl #23

Perhaps the implied threat to their Global Governance project is the reason for the vehemence of the reaction of the British Deep State that Mercouris describes.

Urging Brexit on via Trump and then succeeding under May/Johnson left UK out in the open and likely hugely dependent of a close USA alliance. Biden has just pulled the rug out from under them and the UK is faced with the reality of its vulnerability and weakness where the USA does its own thing.

Mercouris really does a great autopsy on Blair's use of 'we' and his entire phraseology here.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 24 2021 20:54 utc | 54

On second thought, when the Olympics arrive in Kabûl sulfur blurping and explosive diharrea could very well be appropriate competitive events when Kabûl gets to hold Summer Olympics: The Beltway area could send an expert team under the flag of "US-Washington DC" à par and akin to the name "Chinese Taibei" for another team relying on US taxpaying revenues.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 24 2021 20:59 utc | 55

"RE: Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24 2021 17:42 utc | 28

“ It never was ours to lose "

Wrong again. The 'government in Kabul was a complete US puppet, owned by the U.S”

Ownership was never complete or not missing in periods, like “secrecy” is not a constant, but variable through time, rendering the creation of narratives including but not limited to "The invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 by The Soviet Union" and its facilitation.

https://consortiumnews.com/2021/08/24/john-pilger-the-great-game-of-smashing-nations/

https://consortiumnews.com/2021/08/24/the-leak-that-exposed-the-true-afghan-war/

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 24 2021 21:16 utc | 56

@ vk concerning the head-in-the-jar hypothesis

Let's run with this for a bit (hard to do without dropping the jar...). I think your summary of the USSR's collapse is right and I'm prepared to grant that the situation inverts for the West. But perhaps you overstate the death of the body. When I look around here (Australia is a good test-tube for this analysis) I see the following: asset boom continues apace, enclosure of the commons is government policy, proletarianization of the middle-classes (but the head in the jar says debt will hold this off perpetually "just keep borrowing"), knowledge-based institutions are run by PMC bubble-heads who sprout woke garbage while white-anting teaching and research, hijacking of the left by said woke managers, etc etc. Meanwhile the working class are bewitched by aspirational crumbs and continue to vote for conservative governments who loath them. The new may not yet have been born, but the old seems alive and kicking: bandit capitalism is on a trip! I look for the solution but the landscape is more barren than it was in the 90s. I see no sign that the body is dead at all—insane yes, out of action, no.

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 24 2021 21:34 utc | 57

Anyone know who the American civilians are? My first presumption would be they are mostly idiots somehow necessary for the embassy to function. Doing jobs that would have been State Department positions before everything under the sun was privatized. But that is a guess, does anyone know?

Afghan civilians who want to get out would again be idiots and also traitors. Hard to care.

Appearances count. Stage management has been awful. Is there any possibility someone wants it to look this bad? Suddenly there are press releases asking refugee agencies to be ready for an influx of 50,000 Afghans. First nothing moves and then it all moves at once.

Does anyone even know basics like how many Afghans are inside airport grounds? How many camped outside? Anyone know how the mobs get food and water? Anyone know how sanitation is being managed? Most of what I’ve seen in the media is photoed so it is not possible to get a full view. Some of that is the cameraman does not get to fully choose a vantage point. Is it even a chance that there are really not that many bodies and we are getting a choreographed show?

I don’t have the answers. Don’t believe anything I’m told and little of what I see.

Posted by: Oldhippie | Aug 24 2021 21:44 utc | 58

@ Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 24 2021 21:34 utc | 57

Sure, capitalism still exists and still is the hegemonic system in our world.

But this is certainly not the capitalism we grew up cherishing and loving from the 18th Century to 2008.

The Roman Empire officially died only in 1453. But actually it died during the Crisis of the Third Century (235-284). There's a difference between a system of political entity technically surviving and it being effective in the human historical affairs, as a force of progress.

As for the financial assets still rising, that's true. But financial assets are fictitious capital, they do not translate automatically into real wealth. Look at this very interesting graphic:

US stock market hits new [historical] highs yet again today

As the Americans like to say: "the bigger they are, the harder they fall". And no, you cannot simply write all those debt off, that's not how capitalism works. If the USA/POTUS could do that, it/he would have done that decades ago, trust me.

Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 21:45 utc | 59

@ Posted by: Oldhippie | Aug 24 2021 21:44 utc | 58

Probably some random think tank ideologues or white collar workers from some private contractor. They're not important, the empire can live without them.

Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 21:46 utc | 60

"Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan. [News conference, April 21 1961]" ― John F. Kennedy

Posted by: Paul | Aug 24 2021 21:51 utc | 61

Ghost Ship | Aug 24 2021 16:28 utc | 4

It seems to me NATO is doing this slowly so that they have a justification for staying in Kabul,

I think they only want to get the Americans out. They will blame the Taliban for not giving time to get the collaborators out.

Posted by: Keith McClary | Aug 24 2021 22:00 utc | 62

Very good and succinct article outlining the predicament faced by the United States. The beltway bandits, dominionist neo-cons and their media sycophants can harp all they want - advocate for perpetual war. But a clear majority of americans support Joe Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan. If Biden fumbles here, and refuses to hold the center, I fear the current columns holding what's left of our republic might rapidly collapse, just like the Afghan house of cards... People have had enough ! If those incompetents who keep failing upwards want to fight land wars in Asia, then let's reinstate the draft, making sure Olympians are forced to give their first or second born to the storm troopers.

Posted by: Boss Tweet | Aug 24 2021 22:19 utc | 63

@ 62, France has announced today that they will stop evacuating their collaborators by the end of the week. Macron and many europeans pols are now governing from the right (front national) to outflank their alt-right on immigration issues. They will probably leave their rats behind and blame the mess on the Taliban. I hope wannabe reactionaries and yuppies in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Cuba are taking notes.

Posted by: Boss Tweet | Aug 24 2021 22:40 utc | 64

Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 21:45 utc | 59

Very interesting analogy. The 3rd century crisis is the watershed across which we can observe the end of the relations underpinning the classical mode of production. Slavery ceases to be the dominant form of exploitation as the source of unfree labour outside the empire dries up. From then on the colonate (proto-serfdom) fills the gap, the coercion of nominally free peasants. This is what provides a new tax base and allows the Diocletianic regime to re-establish the basis of the territorial empire in the Mediterranenan at the end of that century. On this reading Constantine's adoption of Christianity represents a subtle politico-ideological shift toward the reification of new types of dominant social relations of surplus extraction. The classical ideology sputtered about (Great Persecution, Julian the Apostate) but opted for a grand synthesis (Augustine et al.).

So now we turn to the comparison (if I follow you correctly). Our '3rd century crisis' (following Arrighi and Moore) would then be the fifty years from 1970 (exit from Bretton Woods) to, say, now. The epoch of financialisation, as you suggest. Real wealth is not being produced socially (individually is a different matter I guess) via the old modes of wage labour relation (18th cent - 1970) but instead a fictional wealth is created on paper that requires the continual belief of the masses that real wealth is being created. In the meantime the working class and middle class are being converted into a new peonage class.

The fundamental difference was the synthesis of the remnants of Rome's political and legal order with a Germanic tribal conception of the free warrior, arguably a throwback to the very concept that underpinned the beginnings of the polis in the first place. This reenergised the Roman state and became the basis for, inter alia, the kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire.

Do we have that in China? Will the corpse of capitalism be reanimated via a long-term compromise with Chinese state socialism?

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 24 2021 22:47 utc | 65

Washington has replaced holding land in Central Asia with sailing warships in the South China Sea, where a third of the world's seaborne commerce enjoys full freedom of navigation, much of it to and from China. VP Harris is over there now explaining it. She's visiting Singapore and Vietnam, two so-what countries, one neutral and one anti-China (having whupped the U.S. already fifty years ago). We have Donald Trump and Joe Biden to thank for it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24 2021 22:49 utc | 66

Posted by: Rob | Aug 24 2021 17:31 utc | 24
"If only Biden would fire or demote the military and intelligence officers who engineered the disastrous withdrawal. "

The withdrawal is the first thing that has happened in Afghanistan in 20 years that is not disastrous.

Many people can only think the thoughts they are told to think by the news reports they have pick to read.

The withdrawal has been designed to appear disastrous according to the rules that the news says apply, but what about this is so disastrous? Are there more people dying horrific deaths in Afghanistan now than there have been in the last 20 years?

Posted by: vapor | Aug 24 2021 22:54 utc | 67

@ Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 24 2021 22:47 utc | 65

In the sense you put it, I think the Russian Revolution itself has already done this role.

The "true capitalism", the laissez faire, pure free market capitalism that is the wet dream of every neocon and neoliberal (literally, the "new liberals") was the pre-WWI capitalism, not the post-war capitalism, which is already very syncretic with communism/socialism (universal suffrage, unions, sense of equality, concept of universal man, etc. etc.).

Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 22:55 utc | 68

@ Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24 2021 22:49 utc | 66

That's literally what Biden implied in his official speech, but, even then, I think it would be a bad idea for the American Empire to try to defeat China in a pure maritime war - even though the USA is the ultimate Thalassocracy.

Historically, except for the exceptional period of Iberian-Dutch-British imperialism, land always trumps sea if both powers engage in a symmetric war where both can inflict blows to each other. But even this is academic, because we have a technology today that has no parallel in History: intercontinental ballistic missiles and its shorter range derivations. Naval supremacy it not what it once was, so make no mistake: the USA getting kicked out of the Heartland is a big deal.

Posted by: vk | Aug 24 2021 23:00 utc | 69

Diesen offers a pragmatic assessment of the situation and its prospects. Here's a tidbit:

"Moscow and Beijing are attempting to persuade the Taliban to pursue an inclusive government, moderating the regime and ending in-fighting. This policy of engagement and non-intervention entails luring the Taliban with incentives in line with their own self-interests, and coercion will likely only be useful if the new Afghan leadership threatens their security.

"Engagement may fail, but after 20 years of NATO occupation and confrontation ending in spectacular failure, it would be irrational for the world’s largest country, and its most populous, to merely mimic this approach. The US, as the loser of the war, is now attempting to impose conditions on the winner of the war." [My Emphasis]

The Outlaw US Empire is like a very large glacier--it will spectacularly calve off large chunks of itself yet still take many years to retreat to the cirque from which it started. And in the end if it remains whole, it will still be an empire with a few overseas domains. What's most important is its loss of hegemonic ability, which will need to be continually contested until it becomes a lawful nation for the first time in its history.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 24 2021 23:14 utc | 70

Last few days have been nothinh short of real life 1984. Including the double speak "we are rescuing all americans who want to be rescued" and the daily tallies of great progress of our nation "yesterday we rescued 15,000,today our mighty forces rescued 20,000!" We dont know who exactly was rescued or how many americans. Finally the lies that are repeated so many times, ppl start believing them "the evacuation has been nothing but a complete success" "we are leading the world in evacuating"

Posted by: ElComandante | Aug 24 2021 23:15 utc | 71

Lots of videos popping up on YouTube.. Algorithms know history?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoaeB-NCMXU

Posted by: Harald | Aug 24 2021 23:47 utc | 72

fascinating stuff.ragtag ragheads beats worlds best

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 25 2021 0:00 utc | 73

dh-mtl | Aug 24 2021 17:25 utc | 23

Tom Luongo takes a verbose shot at what you outlined:

On the Sunday open-thread I posted a comment (Posted by: dh-mtl | Aug 22 2021 14:28 utc | 5) outlining a thesis that there has been a split in the U.S. Deep State, and that the debacle in Afghanistan is a result of this split.

This discussion from The Duran (https://theduran.com/uk-establishment-turns-on-biden-tony-blair-calls-us-withdrawal-imbecilic/) provides further support to this thesis.

The thesis is that the financial elites in the U.S. who's business is US-centric, which includes most of the large U.S. based banks, have broken with the trans-national 'Globalists', largely run out of London. It is these US-centric elites who have instructed Biden to pull out of Afghanistan.

My brief reprise of Luongo's thesis:

The Fed is gunning for the EU, to inadvertently(?) protect US sovereignty while
strengthening the $US. Re Davos: Powell has to go and Harris too, before Biden is forced out, to avoid making Harris president--tainted with--well, all sorts of shit, but Afghanistan will do.

[Agnew was pushed out under Nixon, who appointed Ford, who pardoned Nixon and appointed Rockefeller VP]

Putting Yellen in is perfect: puts a Davos central banker sycophant in the driver's seat of the US while continuing to demolish US sovereignty. The Afghan mess was a set-up to get us here. The US mil rushed out thinking it would set up in the neighborhood and go right on bombing, [see Gordog @ 75] as do the Israelis against the Syrians from over Lebanon. The Russians saw that US mil plan coming and worked against that for several years with their former Soviet states. Game set match in central Asia via the SCO, which Iran will now join.

[Israel: oh shit!]

Biden-Harris-Yellen switcheroo has to happen soon. There is no path to surrender for the folks who engineered this mess.

From the Notebook – Who Does Davos Turn To After Biden?

8-24-21

Posted by: pogohere | Aug 25 2021 0:41 utc | 74

thank you Michael Brenner!

Posted by: annie | Aug 25 2021 0:52 utc | 75

@72 Interesting video. What were the lessons of Vietnam? The only thing the warhawks learned was that you can't go into a war without the media on your side. Hence the 'embedded' journalists in Desert Storm. The intervention in Afghanistan seems to have been sold to the US public as 'keeping America safe from terrorism' and by and large the media has gone along with it.

Posted by: dh | Aug 25 2021 1:48 utc | 76

re: my 28 and 47
and Brenner's The United States never has had a strategic national interest in Afghanistan – certainly, not for the past 30 years.

That of course suggests that the U.S. went for regime change in Afghanistan not because it was a basic US. strategy for control in Central Asia, but that the well planned out offensive on this largely illiterate tribal populace in a poor mountainous country halfway around the world was entirely due to 9/11 which is pure baloney. The Afghans had nothing to do with 9/11. Nothing, Zilch.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 25 2021 1:55 utc | 77

An afghan saying: They’ve got the watches. We’ve got the time.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Aug 25 2021 1:59 utc | 78

Apophenia doesn't just happen among the hoi polloi.
It also happens when the elites surround themselves with talking heads and cheerleaders.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 25 2021 2:02 utc | 79

@ SB 78
You reminded me.....

--a historical letter from Afghanistan (extract):

"Every influence, every motive, that provokes the spirit of murder among men, impels these mountaineers to deeds of treachery and violence. The strong aboriginal propensity to kill, inherent in all human beings, has in these valleys been preserved in unexampled strength and vigour.

"That religion, which above all others was founded and propagated by the sword -- the tenets and principles of which are instinct with incentives to slaughter and which in three continents has produced fighting breeds of men -- stimulates a wild and merciless fanaticism. The love of plunder, always a characteristic of hill tribes, is fostered by the spectacle of opulence and luxury which, to their eyes, the cities and plains of the south display.

"A code of honour not less punctilious than that of old Spain, is supported by vendettas as implacable as those of Corsica. . . .. Then the Mullah will raise his voice and remind them of other days when the sons of the prophet drove the infidel from the plains of India, and ruled at Delhi, as wide an Empire as the Kafir holds to-day: when the true religion strode proudly through the earth and scorned to lie hidden and neglected among the hills: when mighty princes ruled in Baghdad, and all men knew that there was one God, and Mahomet was His prophet.

"And the young men hearing these things will grip their Martinis [British rifle], and pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some Sahib[Brit] -- best prize of all -- across their line of sight at seven hundred yards so that, at least, they may strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam."
-- Winston Churchill, journalist, 1897, aged 23

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 25 2021 2:12 utc | 80

@DB 80
That he (Churchill) was a criminal is no doubt. He was partially responsible for the great Iranian famine killing a third of the country in early 1900s.
In some parts of Iran they called him chel-chil, someone with forty mouths.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Aug 25 2021 2:36 utc | 81

Oldhippie @ 58:

"Anyone know who the American civilians are? My first presumption would be they are mostly idiots somehow necessary for the embassy to function. Doing jobs that would have been State Department positions before everything under the sun was privatized. But that is a guess, does anyone know? ..."

Erm, I would imagine most of the people working in the US embassy in Kabul and in consulates around the country are CIA employees. I was trying to upload a New York Times article that mentioned 1,400 employed at the Kabul embassy at the time of the Ghani government collapse but then I got cut off as I don't subscribe to that rag.

Then there'd be those US citizens operating charities and other NGOs in Kabul and other cities (or if you prefer, organisations set up by the CIA pretending to be charities and actually involved in moving opium or heroin or whatever else their bosses direct them to do) who need to be evacuated as well.

Not to mention those Afghans who served as eyes and ears for the CIA operatives at the embassy and their charity fronts ... some of those Afghans might have spied for the CIA for money but others might have done so under duress.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 25 2021 3:00 utc | 82

...also contractors, lots of contractors

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 25 2021 3:06 utc | 83

Just read Pepe Escobar's latest. He talks about the finance issue raised by B a couple of days ago.

I said then, and I still say it now. The main issue is keeping calm and security in Kabul and letting life and business go on as usual. The money issue will sort itself out in due time.

The main thing now is that the US finishes getting out. Only after the US is completely out, the Talib will form a government. They are getting lots of advice from Russia and China. China advises them not to sever all links with the IMF, which is now an enemy of the Talib, as it is pursuing Nato's failed war by financial means.

The idea is to roll with the punches. Rope a dope. The Ponzi Empire couldn't win with 20 years of fighting...they're certainly not going to win with some IMF and financial shenanigans. The Taliban's friends are very powerful.

The commenter BM made an excellent post a few days ago where he said the Talib will get everything they need, and more.

Slow and easy does it. The Panjshir 'resistance' proved to be the pathetic psyop we knew it was. Done like dinner. There are no more cards to play. Even the propaganda is ridiculous on its face, at least to discerning readers.

I will repeat again, what I have been saying all along, about how this astonishing Talib takeover, bloodless for the most part, happened. It was a lot of behind the scenes politicking with tribal elders in ALL regions and ALL ethnicities. It was years in the making.

Again, I remind that the Tajiks of the Northern Alliance were for years sworn enemies of the Pashtun Talib. Where is the Northern Alliance now?

Some here have taken issue with my pointing out that this major diplomatic coup for the Taliban, to bring in the Tajiks and other major minorities, bears the fingerprints of Moscow. They have long specialized in this type of consensus-building, within their own borders and without. Witness Chechnya, witness Karabakh.

Let me add a deeper dimension. This kind of thing is all about TRUST. A trusted interlocutor is very hard to find. Is the US a trusted interlocutor anywhere in the world?

Funny question. That doesn't even register for them.

Behind Russia's interlocution was China of course. China is not as diplomatically mature and polished as say Lavrov, but they are no slouches, as Hooknose Blinken found in Anchorage when Yang gave him a proper dressing down.

And let's remember this. Afghanistan is about a lot more than just Afghanistan, or even Central Asia. IT is Big Power Geopolitics. And the US lost, bad---ugly even.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 25 2021 3:55 utc | 84

Don Bacon @80--

Churchill's words differ little from Sir Francis Bacon's back in the Elizabethan Era. The English are the most savage of the European Colonizers; not satisfied with killing their own, they murdered tens of millions more worldwide and have yet to stop. Hitler has nothing on the Anglos who clearly merit Hitler's fate.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2021 4:46 utc | 85

Jackrabbit @14 (and many others):

The Afghan war wasn't con; if you ara trying to 'contain' Russia, China and Iran taking Afghanistan makes perfect sense. As long as you can hold it. Which they couldn't. They obviously never played Risk.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 25 2021 5:51 utc | 86

Mark Thomason, @32

Hear! Hear! I'm getting so tired of hearing good hearted liberals whaling about Afghans being sooooo coruuupt. Yes they where and that was their damned J O B!

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 25 2021 6:17 utc | 87

Brenner seems to be flailing -- especially in his point #4: "Staying in Afghanistan after we had dislodged and scattered the al-Qaeda was a fool’s errand from the very beginning; whether the aims were geostrategic or nation-building. It never had a chance of succeeding. The foreseeable costs always outweighed any conceivable successes – however modest – by several magnitudes."

I mean, you can always start with the basics, which are nowhere clearly stated. US has no fucking business manywhere outside US territory (and that is also still discussible, see the native tribes.) Period. Otherwise it really sounds as if Brenner were recommending the Attila method, viz. aggression against and occupation of some other country, plunder and destruction and going back home. Yes, we can agree that it would be somewhat preferable to the occupation method -- but not by very much.

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Aug 25 2021 6:34 utc | 88

For those who may have followed the discussion between Tom Pfotzer and I, below is my latest reply to him.

==============================

Tom Pfotzer @Aug25 2:55 #183

To better understand your position, I re-read your original post (Britain Wants a Rerun ... #149).

In claiming that Biden has "outsmarted" the Generals you are assuming that Biden has independence that WE BOTH AGREE recent Presidents have not displayed.

To make the case that Biden is acting independently against powerful interests, you have to knock down any theories or evidence that Presidents have been pre-selected by powerful interests - such as the Kissinger Op-Ed I have referrenced. (I guess that's why you focused so much on discrediting Kissinger.)

An alternative explanation for the Military's Afghan exit screw-up is simply that the apparent turmoil is a smoke screen. Biden has made a cogent case that the presence in Afghanistan was unnecessary and other theaters of operation are more pressing. The Generals aren't stupid, they can see that a bloody war in Afghanistan would take a toll that limits their ability to act elsewhere. They don't want to spark resistance from an anti-war Movement over Afghan dirt.

When war does come, it will be welcomed with patriot fervor.

And lets be honest, the military and MIC are not really going to suffer much from the withdrawal. USA still has a bloated army with dozens of bases around the world. And new weapons systems are constantly being developed (hypersonics, space, etc.). I haven't seen Biden say anything that threatens the bloated defense and intelligence budgets.

If Biden really was different, and had the resolve and smarts that you create him with, then wouldn't we have seen a return to the JCPOA by now? That was his big promise of peace and was (supposedly) the most clear break with Trump policy.

We might well ask why Biden is so much like MAGA Trump?! Democrats HATED the MAGA ideology and its buffoon leader. Trump's every move had to be blocked. Yet Biden has quietly accepted or followed-thru with most of Trump's foreign policy. The ONLY real difference being that Biden has extended a (mostly symbolic) hand to the European allies who have rejoiced that Biden is not Trump. Much like how Obama was welcomed because he was simply not Bush.

So, to answer the question at the end of your original comment (once again) ... no, I don't think Biden or any of the Cold Warriors that lost the peace have given up on Empire. They have recognized the new realities and adjusted but have not fundamentally changed their outlook.

PS Brenner credited Trump with the pull out from Afghanistan and the Pentagon with the pull-out from Baghram.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 25 2021 6:57 utc | 89

Jörgen Hassler @Aug25 5:51 #86

The 'con' was the pretense that we had to stay to help the people of Afghanistan.

Also: I think for most of the time we were in Afghanistan, the prospect of war with Iran was what kept us there, not containing of Russia and China. Though Brzezinski did claim that holding Ukraine and Afghanistan was 'game over' for Russia, didn't he?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 25 2021 7:02 utc | 90

The Brenner article needs a sub-editor to go through it to correct its scattering of grammatical oddities, with numerous unfinished sentences left hanging. And in particular there is one glaring error:

"The execution of 9/11 itself was organized in Hamburg and operationally coordinated from two apartments in New Jersey."

To be realworld accurate, this should read: 'The execution of 11/9 was organised by criminal cliques within the ruling 'elites' in Tel Aviv and Washington, with a covering patsy-show of sacrificial pretend 'islamists' put on in Hamburg and various places in the US as a smokescreen.'

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | Aug 25 2021 7:06 utc | 91

karlof1 | Aug 24 2021 20:47 utc | 53

Catch 22? They can't ALL plead insane at the same time can they?

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 25 2021 7:25 utc | 92

I thought this clip in English from CGTN at the 2nd media Q&A in Kabul by the new governors very clearly spelt out their message on quite a few current issues and perceptions.

Taliban media interview

Posted by: Dim sim | Aug 25 2021 7:29 utc | 93

Thank you Michael for your report

At point 6 you itemise the ISIS infiltration game played by USA proxy Turkey:

Some ISIS fighters did try to reestablish themselves in Afghanistan -with transport and support provided by their long-time backer: President Erdogan of Turkey. (He exported others to Azerbaijan and many thousand to Libya). They were a mixed lot of Syrians, Iraqis, Chechens, Uighurs. Initially, they got some sympathy from radical Taliban factions. The leadership, though, wanted nothing to do with them and soon moved to suppress/evict them forcibly and will continue to root them out. In the present Taliban vision for the country, they are as welcome as a Vatican established bishopric in Kabul.


GEROMAN at twitter reports yet another ISIS eviction from Daraa:


Yesterday morning, the SAA brought in heavy military reinforcements, which included a column of tanks, heavy artillery, and troop transport vehicles that arrived in the city of Daraa to end the abnormal situation in the city and restore security and safety to it.

It appears that a few agreed to Russian intermediaries' proposals to relocate to Idlib. The balance will soon be eliminated by the Syrian Arab Army. The cleansing continues and I gather the Taliban took one look at the devious games and destruction under continuous USA instigation in Syria and decided to keep well away from their 'great game' of stunts.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 25 2021 7:43 utc | 94

RE: Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 25 2021 7:02 utc | 90

“Though Brzezinski did claim that holding Ukraine and Afghanistan was 'game over' for Russia, didn't he?”

Mr. Brzezinski like many from immigrant families and/or as first generation immigrants such as Mr. Kosinski were making their way in a new land and constructed narratives to ease the journey by seeking to increase their perceived significance to their new location, which some locals accepted for their own reasons.

Mr. Kosinski relied on lies/poetic licence including “The painted bird”, and Mr. Brzezinski “repolished” analyses, policies, and strategies of Mr. Pilsudski and the “intelligence services” of the Polish Second Republic (1919 – 1939), particularly in regard to minorities and their uses based on practices in Wolyn and Galicia, Russia and its relations with “White Russia” and Ukraine, and Poland's potential geo-political dual purpose significance as a bridge and a buffer for Western Europe and as an aid in furtherance of the “Wilsonian project” for the East, and presented them as his own.

In respect of Ukraine Mr. Pilsudski remarked “Without Ukraine, Russia is largely a land of lakes and forests” since much of Imperial Russia's industrialisation had been focused in Ukraine, primarily but not exclusively in the Donbass. This area was also of strategic interest to the “Third Reich” between 1941
and 1943, and subsequently “The United States of America”

This sleight of hand is also being attempted by the present government of “The Republic of Poland”.

As in Afghanistan "The United States of America" did not and does not have a significant network of human intelligence sources in Ukraine and hence tends to rely on a mix of resort to the use of the "intelligence assets" of others, and a reliance on electronic data collection in various forms affording opportunities for emulators of Mr. Brzezinsky and/or assorted curved balls.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 25 2021 7:59 utc | 95

Will Boris Johnson soon be for the funny farm? Has Deolali Tap struck him down? He's demonstrating obvious delusions of grandeur.

Leaders of the G7 nations – the US, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and Japan – held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, discussing the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan. Speaking after the event, the British prime minister revealed the group has devised a joint approach to the Taliban.

What we've done today, the G7, is we’ve ... agreed not just a joint approach to dealing with the evacuation, but also a roadmap for the way in which we're going to engage with the Taliban.

The seven rich nations have a “huge leverage” over the militant group, which overran Afghanistan a week ago, Johnson claimed. While the PM didn’t give much detail, he hinted at the withholding of frozen Afghan funds held in foreign banks.

“Some will say that they don't accept that and some, I hope, will see the sense of that, because the G7 has very considerable leverage - economic, diplomatic and political,” Johnson said.


What fucking leverage? With US/UK/NATO having run away, probably in an attempt to create a new quagmire for Russia and China, US/UK/NATO has no leverage beyond bombing Afghanistan and only the US has the capability/capacity to do that.
Because Putin is fluent in German, he, unlike Washington and London understands Clausewitz's admonishment about war correctly.
“Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln”

So expect Putin to stick to politics/diplomacy and the Chinese to do so as well. The Taliban being Deobandi is less expansionist than the "deviant" Wahhabis and need to rebuild their country, so the Taliban also should stick to politics as well. No quagmire.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 25 2021 8:00 utc | 96

Taliban press conference update:

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid announced progress in talks with Ahmad Massoud in Panjshir and said talks continue to resolve the Panjshir issue.

The key remarks made by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at his second press conference are as follows:

” – The United States must withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of August 31.

– The current congestion at Kabul Airport is worrying. We do our best to reduce this amount. Four ISIS members who were trying to infiltrate Kabul airport have been arrested and security incidents are taking place. We try not to harm the people who have gathered.

– We call on all countries that their land should not be a problem for our country. Just as we do not allow anyone to use our land against anyone.

– Turkey is a Muslim country and we would like to have good relations with them, but we oppose the presence of Turkish troops in Afghanistan. As soon as the problem of Kabul airport is solved, we do not need foreign forces.

– Negotiations are underway to resolve the Panjshir problem. The Islamic Emirate has declared that the war in Afghanistan is over, we do not want a single bullet to be fired. Talks to resolve the issue are ongoing and are 80 percent complete. This issue will be resolved peacefully.

– The army is the important foundation of the country and we are trying to build a better army than before. The soldiers we have are recruited and elite and strong people from the former soldiers will be recruited.

– God willing, our leader, Sheikh Hibatullah Akhundzada, will appear in the media soon.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 25 2021 8:13 utc | 97

RE : Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 25 2021 8:00 utc | 96

“What fucking leverage?  “

People living in halls of mirrors often see themselves.

Consequently they are prone to see others if not as themselves, but sharing similar traits which they believe is called “human nature”.

This conditioned “Brexit”, the hopes of cementing “Special relationships”, Britain as phoenix, and G7 and climate change meetings, which simultaneously facilitated opportunities for some others to burst these bubbles if so minded, which a certain gentleman and his associates believe are “leverage” known to some others as “blackmail attempts”.

An example of “Perfidious Albion” being perfidious to itself.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 25 2021 8:16 utc | 98

Disintegration was not sudden nor a surprise but at least twelve years in the making. Every US surge in attacks on the Afghan people caused more civilian casualties and hatred for the invaders.

The war on terror was never isolated to Afghanistan, but more so on the AfPak border regions from Quetta to North Waziristan. The Taliban, Haqqani network and Al Qaeda may be diffuse, but the same jihadist roots. Taliban claim they are nationals and moderate are nit to be taken at face value. The ISK-P is a strong force and have been responsible for a majority of terror attacks in recent years. The Shia community from Balochistan to Hazaristan have been their victims. See the slaughter of Hazara schoolgirls in Kabul in May this year killing 66. Executions of Hazara will continue under Taliban splintered groups and commanders.

https://jamestown.org/brief/aslam-farooqi-head-of-islamic-state-khorasan-arrested/

Posted by: Oui | Aug 25 2021 8:20 utc | 99

A lot of no-brainers and some nonsense.

Just to point 1: I used to think of US occupation of Afghanistan that it can be only understood from the perspective of Mackinder. His deeply flawed theory has been a core principle of the foreign policy of both London ans Wahington in the past century.

There is however, another aspect that caught my attention recently when I watched the reaction of my favourite Zionists to the US withdrawel from Afghanistan. The are deeply shocked, talking about womens rights and how the West had been defeated (as if anybode in Israel ever cared about human rights or the West). Afghanistan being a neighbor of Iran apparenbtly had been a particular strong reason for the Afghanistan war.

Posted by: m | Aug 25 2021 8:52 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.