America Hasn’t Ended a War, but Prolonged One

Aug. 23 2021

In justifying the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, President Biden has cited his unwillingness to pass on to his successor a twenty-year-long conflict, dubbed by many of its critics an “endless war.” The problem with this line of reasoning, writes Matthew Continetti, is that “the war isn’t over,” and won’t be even after the last American soldiers leaves Afghanistan:

Afghanistan is just one front in a global conflict that the United States did not initiate and cannot wish away. The cold war did not end when the South Vietnamese government collapsed. Nor will the war on terror or the “long war” or the “forever war” cease with Taliban control of Afghanistan. When participants in the worldwide Salafist-jihadist movement look at the developments of the last week, they don’t see reasons to quit their mayhem. They see the chaos, panic, violence, disorder, and American retreat as a vindication of their ideology and a spur to further action.

When America removed its troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 and failed to enforce its red line against the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2013, the Middle East did not become less violent or pathological or dangerous. It was only a matter of time before Islamic State (IS) overran the Iraqi cities of Falluja, Ramadi, and Mosul. . . . So terrible was IS that in August 2014 President Obama intervened against it with airstrikes—an intervention that continued, with greater success, under Obama’s successor.

As I write, the caliphate is no more, Baghdadi is dead, and Iraq has another shot at a better future. There are 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq and some 900 in Syria. This is not a coincidence.

Biden created a situation in which America has neither boots nor eyes on the ground in a landlocked, mountainous country thousands of miles from port and surrounded by unfriendly states. Unlike twenty years ago, China and Russia are strong and adversarial and looking for opportunities to embarrass the United States. Every threat or attack that emanates from Afghanistan will testify to U.S. stupidity and weakness.

This dispiriting assessment doesn’t include the propaganda boon to the Salafist-jihadist cause. Kabul will be transformed from an island of modernity to the global capital of anti-Western jihad.

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Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Afghanistan, Jihadism, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism