The US’ War on Afghanistan spectacularly failed to accomplish anything positive of significance.
US President Biden’s announcement that his country will initiate its full withdrawal from Afghanistan on 1 May and complete it by the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on America’s top failures there over the past two decades:
Topple The Taliban
Not only does the Taliban still control a significant swath of Afghanistan, but it’s poised to return to power through peaceful means via the planned establishment of an inclusive transitional government.
While Al Qaeda’s reported capabilities to plan international attacks from Afghan soil have successfully been destroyed, the entrance of ISIS to the battlefield from 2014 onward means that such threats still remain.
Build A “Democratic” Afghanistan
Far from being the regional beacon of Western-style “democracy” that America envisioned, modern-day Afghanistan is a cesspool of anti-democratic practices, corruption, and extra-judicial killings.
Support Human Rights
Some women now enjoy broader rights in line with the new socio-political model externally imposed upon parts of the country, but many Afghans have also fallen victim to the occupiers’ vicious human rights abuses.
Extract Rare Earth Minerals
Despite having an estimated $1 trillion of rare earth minerals under its soil, the Western occupation forces have failed to extract these on any large enough scale to make a strategic difference due to Taliban attacks.
Destabilize The Central-South-West Asian Regions
Late US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski’s plans to divide and rule those three regions through externally provoked “Balkanization” processes didn’t succeed due to the targeted states” HybridWar resilience.
Avoid A Vietnam 2.0 Scenario
The US ignobly repeated the same Vietnam scenario that it hoped to avert by ultimately withdrawing from Afghanistan following a dishonorable defeat at the hands of militarily less sophisticated foes.
All told, the US spectacularly failed to accomplish anything of significance in Afghanistan. None of its objectives, whether stated or speculated, succeeded. The only ones who benefited from this war were the military-industrial complex and especially those within it who stole at least $19 billion in public funds.
The American and Russian Presidents have a slew of issues to discuss in the event that they meet in person sometime in the coming future like Biden proposed doing during their last phone conversation, but the most important topics on the itinerary would arguably be strategic security and peacefully resolving the conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Syria.
Biden-Putin Summit Plans
Russian-American tensions are at an historic high for the post-1991 period so it’s sensible that President Biden proposed to hold an in-person meeting with his Russian counterpart during their last phone conversation in order “to discuss the full range of issues” facing their countries. The most important topics on the itinerary would arguably be strategic security and peacefully resolving the long-running conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and Ukraine, but other issues would of course also be brought up. What follows is a list of the most pressing problems between these two Great Powers in the order of their significance. Each point includes a summary of their respective positions and what a compromise might look like if one’s realistically possible:
The White House’s readout of their call noted “the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty”, which was reflected by the Kremlin also referencing “strategic stability and arms control”. Both countries therefore share the common desire to build upon the New START Treaty’s last-minute extension in February, though it’s unclear in what direction this might go. The prior US administration demanded that China join all such forthcoming talks while Russia respects Beijing’s right not to do so. The ideal scenario would be if all relevant powers made proportionate cuts to their pertinent arsenals, but that might not be realistic.
This hot button issue concerns more than just politically resolving the Eastern European country’s civil war in line with the Minsk Accords that US-backed Kiev has thus far refused to implement despite previously agreeing to them. It also involves NATO’s aggressive forward posturing in the region and its support for Ukraine’s anti-Russian activities, including against Crimea. The situation is so tense at the moment that a war might even break out before the Russian and American leaders meet, with the subsequently feared brinksmanship potentially serving as the reason to expedite their summit plans. The best-case scenario would be if the US assesses the seriousness of the situation and finally pressures Kiev to implement the Minsk Accords.
The Kremlin’s readout reported “the situation in Afghanistan”, which was missing from the White House’s, but this issue will likely be at the fore of their discussions considering that the US plans to fully withdraw from that country by 9/11 this year. Both Great Powers have recently seen their positions converge insofar as supporting an inclusive transitional government in which the officially terrorist-designated Taliban participates as the only pragmatic political outcome of the conflict. The challenge is that the Taliban reacted negatively to the US’ announcement that it’ll miss its originally scheduled deadline for withdrawing by 1 May, so it remains to be seen whether the fragile ceasefire between those two holds long enough for the meeting to occur.
Syria didn’t warrant a mention on either government’s readout so it’s unclear whether it was brought up during their last discussion, but it’s nevertheless a major issue between them that can’t be ignored. The US retains occupation forces in the northeast beyond the de facto “internal partition” line of the Euphrates River, and its widely reported support of terrorist forces in the country is a major impediment to the conflict’s resolution. Moreover, the US’ political proxies have hitherto obstructed the parallel peace processes, so something must be done in order to make progress on these tracks. The only realistic compromise would be “decentralization” and Damascus requesting Iran’s dignified but phased withdrawal from the country, but the latter still seems unlikely.
The US is slowly realizing that it made a major mistake by triggering Russia’s historical siege mentality, pushing it closer to China in response, and provoking Moscow to actively seek Washington’s containment all across the world. Even a simple thought exercise embracing the US’ infamous zero-sum outlook on International Relations suggests that this works out to America’s grand strategic disadvantage while being one of the best-ever scenarios for China. Accordingly, Biden’s team might attempt to court Russia into reversing its recent American-provoked foreign policy pivot so as to restore Moscow’s traditional “balancing” act between East and West, but this outcome is only possible in the event credible progress is made on a “New Detente”.
The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is another major issue of disagreement between the US and Russia, but one which also attracts their interest more than ever after Iran recently clinched a 25-year strategic partnership deal with China. That agreement stands the chance to revolutionize the greater region’s geostrategic situation through the expansion of Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) to West Asia via W-CPEC+, which was an unexpected game-changing development that seemingly caught both the US and Russia off guard. Not only will they seek to address the immediate nuclear-related issue, but they might also discuss ways to manage this new regional geostrategic reality, perhaps in an indirectly joint way if they make progress on a “New Detente”.
The so-called “Mideast Peace Process” (MEPP) is also an area of mutual concern for Russia and the US. Both Great Powers are also allied with “Israel” to different extents, with Russia’s largely under-discussed relationship being the result of skillful policymaking at the presidential level through Putin’s personal diplomacy with his close friend Prime Minister Netanyahu (background context here, here, here, here, and here). Since Biden is attempting to balance the US’ regional relationships a bit more than Trump did, it’s possible that he’ll walk back his predecessor’s so-called “Deal of the Century” and thus help pave the way for his country and Russia to jointly herald at least the symbolic creation of a Palestinian state, though it’ll still take a while for this to occur.
Biden will almost certainly bring up the discredited Russiagate conspiracy theory due to domestic pressure from his base. This speculative aspect of their discussion would be entirely symbolic since it’s what many have rightly called a “nothingburger”. It’ll only be talked about for appearance’s sake, the same as Navalny‘s imprisonment might too if that’s even brought up that is. As for climate change, this is a “neutral” means through which the two could at least superficially cooperate more closely and result in a semi-tangibly positive outcome to their planned summit. Both of their leaders agree on the need to thwart this threat, but there really isn’t much that they can do together. Still, it could make for some good headlines if they release a joint statement about it.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will visit on Friday U.S. President Joe Biden in the White House. The meeting underscores the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance, especially as the countries’ shared rival, China, grows in strength and aggressiveness.
President Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, U.S. officials said, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that drew the United States into its longest war. The decision will keep thousands of U.S. forces in the country beyond the May 1 exit deadline that the Trump administration negotiated last year with the Taliban.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Israel, in the first official visit since President Joe Biden took office in January. This visit will ‘reaffirm the enduring U.S. commitment to the U.S.-Israel strategic partnership and Israels Qualitative Military Edge’.
Ukraine wants war with Russia due to a combination of domestic and international factors, but such a scenario would be disastrous for the Eastern European country and only serve the interests of some members of the political elite and their foreign patrons.
The whole world is watching with bated breath to see whether Ukraine and Russia will go to war over Donbass like many fear might be about to happen due to recent events. I asked earlier this week whether “Vaccines Are The Real Driving Force Behind The Latest Donbass Destabilization”, pointing out the grand strategic interest that the US has in provoking a crisis that would put unprecedented political pressure on the EU to not buy Russia’s Sputnik V like the bloc’s top members are reportedly considering at the moment, but there’s more to it than just that at the comparatively lower strategic levels.
Ukraine wants war with Russia due to a combination of domestic and international factors, including its ruling elite’s desire to distract from a slew of domestic crises. These include its efforts to stamp out the increasingly popular opposition through a series of witchhunts, attract emergency Western financial aid to facilitate their struggling economy’s recovery, and perhaps become important enough to the West that they can finally receive much-needed vaccines for their population that they’ve hitherto been denied for inexplicable reasons. Moreover, the powerful influence of ultra-nationalist (fascist) militias can’t be discounted either.
On the foreign front, the US certainly never tries of causing trouble for Russia however and wherever it can. In the present context, any “continuation war” in Donbass could in theory impose unexpected financial costs on the country, among other potential consequences like serving as a pretext for more sanctions against it. Broadly speaking, the US might also hope that it can manipulate the optics of the conflict that it’s arguably trying to provoke in order to pressure Germany to pull out of its agreement to finish the Nord Stream II pipeline, however far-fetched that outcome might be in reality.
The Ukrainian political elite and their foreign patrons would be the only possible beneficiaries of such a conflict should one be successfully sparked by the US but even they, however, might experience blowback in the event that the Ukrainian Armed Forces and their allied ultra-nationalist (fascist) militias are decisively beaten on the battlefield. Facing that probable scenario, Kiev might urgently request NATO support, though it’s unclear whether any would be forthcoming, and if so, to what extent and whether they’d have a mandate to directly fight Russian-friendly rebels and perhaps even Russia itself should it intervene to protect its border and citizens.
What’s thus far certain at this point is that Ukraine wants war. This is evidenced not only by the previous arguments above, but also by its chief negotiator on Donbass demanding that the venue of the Minsk talks be switched from Belarus to somewhere else like Poland despite the latter indisputably being a partisan player in this larger conflict. This signifies that Kiev isn’t interested in continuing to pursue a peaceful resolution to its off-and-on civil war, which was actually obvious to all objective observers for quite a while already since it was none other than the Ukrainian government itself which refused to fully implement the Minsk Accords.
The Russian-friendly rebels and the neighboring eponymous state that politically (and according to some questionable reports, militarily) supports them have long been calling on Kiev to grant Donbass the special status that the Ukrainian government previously agreed to as a result of the Minsk Accords. The US has consistently pushed its Ukrainian client not to implement the promised political reforms in order to retain the country’s status as a HybridWar ulcer on Russia’s border that could continue progressively eating away at its legitimate security interests and eventually be externally exacerbated at a strategic moment like the present.
The current timing of Ukraine’s latest US-backed anti-Donbass provocations is linked to the reportedly impending success of Russia’s “vaccine diplomacy” with the EU, Nord Stream II’s near completion, Ukraine’s series of domestic crises, but also Biden’s rise to power. The President and his family reportedly have a history of corrupt dealings with Ukraine, which gives them vested interests to militarily support it beyond whatever any other US leader might have promised in such a situation. This in turn ratchets up the danger to Russia since Biden might do the unthinkable by deploying US combat troops to Eastern Ukraine in the worst-case scenario.
As can be seen, Ukraine wants war for its own self-interested reasons, but it wouldn’t have any realistic chance of provoking such had it not been for the US’ – and specifically, the Biden family’s – support for this. No one else, least of all Russia, wants another conflict to explode in Eastern Ukraine, but Moscow will defend its legitimate security interests related to its international border and the security of its citizens in Donbass should the situation go south really soon. Kiev is thus at risk of opening up a can of worms as a result of its feverish march towards war, and while the US and Russia might not clash, Ukraine might still collapse in the end.
The Biden Administration continues to push its delusional and dangerous grand strategy, which doesn’t even serve the US’ own interests but just the short-term narrow ones of a certain segment of its economic and political elite.
US President Joe Biden’s grand strategy is a mix of Democrat value signaling and Republican aggression, which represents a delusional and dangerous combination. The first observation is evidenced by his administration’s emphasis on so-called “democracy” and “human rights” ideals as manifested by its information warfare campaigns against China and Russia on these false bases. The second, meanwhile, is proven by its attempts to assemble alliances to contain those two on the aforementioned pretexts using the Quad, NATO, and the US’ new proposal to pioneer a competitor to China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).
About the last of these three means, Biden told his British counterpart Friday afternoon that “I suggested we should have, essentially, a similar initiative, pulling from the democratic states, helping those communities around the world that, in fact, need help.” This is the definition of delusional for several reasons. Firstly, economic development is purely apolitical and shouldn’t discriminate against any state’s sovereign choice to govern themselves however they believe is best. Secondly, for this reason and given its enormous scope and scale, BRI doesn’t have any competitors but only partners. Thirdly, many of these partners are US allies.
For instance, last November’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) brought China, ASEAN, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea into a single trading bloc, the last four partners of which as well as ASEAN’s Philippines and Thailand are American allies. One month later, the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between China and the EU saw many NATO members agreeing to expand financial and other related ties with the People’s Republic. Finally, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to West Asia last week strengthened his country’s economic connections with regional US allies like Saudi Arabia.
Despite China’s growing relations with Europe, West Asia, and East and Southeast Asia – which can altogether be simply grouped as Eurasia – the US still thinks that it can turn some of those countries, especially its traditional allies there, against the People’s Republic. It’s here where delusion becomes dangerous because the worst-case scenario of American meddling could result in serious economic damage being inflicted on its so-called “allies”. The US is so delusional, however, that it truly doesn’t care about anyone else’s interests other than its own which explains why it’s willing to sacrifice its “allies’” interests in advance of its zero-sum ones.
Therein lies the primary problem, namely the US’ delusional refusal to accept that the aggressive zero-sum mindset which is responsible for its gradual decline from international prominence is outdated as China’s new model of International Relations has successfully replaced that counterproductive philosophy with the win-win one. The Biden Administration thought that it could make cosmetic changes to American policy such as spewing multilateral rhetoric in an attempt to differentiate it from its predecessor, but the reality is that nothing of significance has changed since former President Trump.
Even the Biden Administration’s much-touted peace proposals in Afghanistan and Yemen are faltering, the first after his warning that American troops might not withdraw from the war-torn country by May as his predecessor previously agreed prompted the Taliban to issue more threats while the second has failed to have any meaningful impact on the military dynamics there. Moreover, the US continues to illegally occupy Iraq and Syria while Libya remains mired in American-provoked instability. All the rhetoric about resuming cooperation with allies is just a smokescreen for convincing them to join the US’ new anti-Chinese and -Russian coalitions.
Thankfully, the world seems to have learned quite a few lessons during Trump’s four tumultuous years in office. America’s allies are no longer as willing to blindly follow its lead as before. They realized that the US is unreliable and doesn’t always have their best interests in mind. This is increasingly obvious as the Biden Administration continues to push its delusional and dangerous grand strategy, which doesn’t even serve the US’ own interests but just the short-term narrow ones of a certain segment of its economic and political elite. The situation will only improve for average Americans if their leadership finally embraces the win-win philosophy.
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is looking to keep the U.S. troops in Afghanistan past May 1 deadline while exploring a deal in which the Taliban would allow a U.S. counter-terrorism force to remain as they confront their Islamic State foes. The Taliban has been fighting Islamic State’s local affiliate, and the U.S. airstrikes on ISIS have proved critical to helping them rout their rivals.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began a visit to China with a call for Moscow and Beijing to reduce their dependence on the U.S. dollar and Western payment systems to push back against what he called the West’s ideological agenda. Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing were compelled to develop independently of Washington in order to thwart what he said were U.S. attempts to curb their technological development.
The torrent of Iranian oil that’s been gushing into China (the world’s largest crude oil importer) in recent weeks is crowding out imports from other nations – as Norway, Angola, and Brazil–and threatening to complicate efforts by the OPEC+ alliance to tighten supply in the global market. The increased Iranian flows are happening as the administration of President Joe Biden attempts to revive a nuclear deal with Tehran.