America’s Moral Collapse in Afghanistan

Considering America’s shambolic retreat from Afghanistan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali—who has spent much of her life warning of the dangers of Islamist radicals like the Taliban, and trying to protect the rights of Muslim women—takes President Biden to task for his claim that America’s “only vital national interest” in that country lies in “preventing a terrorist attack” on U.S. soil:

In reality, this chaotic, humiliating withdrawal significantly increases the risk of a terror attack on the U.S. homeland; . . . in intelligence terms Afghanistan is now a black hole. Even if we are able to extricate some of our Afghan intelligence assets, the U.S. has lost a key source of information on jihadist activity.

A little bit more imagination would also have revealed how China, Iran, and other current adversaries will likely use the Afghan fiasco to their advantage. . . . And what about our allies? Will India trust the U.S. as the leading partner of the “Quad” (along with Australia and Japan) designed to check the growing power of China? How about our European partners and the transatlantic alliance?

The second problem informing Biden’s approach concerns the moral decay of Western civilization. . . . We’ve become so focused on microaggressions in America that we have lost sight of the macroaggressions happening to women around the world. . . . In today’s perverse American culture, . . . more attention is devoted to the use of preferred gender pronouns than to the plight of women whose most basic rights—to education, personal autonomy, the right to be present in a public space—are either removed or under serious threat.

What we’ve witnessed this week in Afghanistan is a watershed moment in Western decline. [A segment of] American culture today tells us not to be proud of our country; not to believe in the superiority of American values; not to promote the rights we are afforded by our Constitution so that they can be enjoyed by people around the world.

Let us hope that enough Americans have not succumbed to this moral decay.

Read more at UnHerd

More about: Afghanistan, Joseph Biden, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy


How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus