In Afghanistan, America Exchanges Victory for Defeat

Aug. 16 2021

Over the weekend, the Taliban seized Kabul as remaining Americans scrambled to get out of the country. David French, writing before the fall of Kabul, but after the Taliban offensive had already overwhelmed much of Afghanistan, comments:

With minimal exertion of military force (relative to our immense national strength), we could have prevented—and for a long while did prevent—this collapse. In fact, America hasn’t suffered a combat casualty in Afghanistan since February 8, 2020. Our military footprint was a fraction of the footprint at the height of the Afghan surge. The Taliban were never going to defeat even a small American force so long as that force remained in the nation.

Sadly, the failure of the nation-building mission obscures the Afghan war’s central success, the very success that we put at risk with our headlong withdrawal—the defense of the United States of America from terrorist attack. I’ve written this before, and I’ll keep writing it, but if you told Americans on September 12, 2001 that we were about to embark on a military mission that would help keep America safe from a significant terror attack for twenty consecutive years, they would have been astounded. It would have been tough for them to imagine that level of success.

Yet the failure of the secondary nation-building mission is causing us to risk, unacceptably, the successes of the primary self-defense mission of the American military. We are in the process of handing the Taliban back its territory and granting jihadists a safe haven. And we’re doing that when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that terrorists can hit our cities even when their safe havens are located in backwards, tribal societies on the far side of the world.

Because of the lesser failure, we’re throwing away the greater victory. I pray that our nation does not suffer a deadly consequence.

Read more at Dispatch

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

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship