I had planned not to write this week, but then Kabul fell. So I’ll skip next Monday instead. There will be no Zoom call this Friday, August 20. Our next call will be on Friday, August 27 at 11 AM ET with Salem Barahmeh, a member of the Palestinian youth movement, Generation for Democratic Renewal. I’ll send a reminder to paid subscribers next week. Now onto the news of the day.
I believe Barbara Lee did not oppose wanting to hold the Taliban accountable and take out al-Qaeda, but the blanket, open-ended nature of AUMF
America doesn't just "look like" an empire, it IS an empire.
Thank you for this excellent piece. I would only add that the ideology of exceptionalism is what makes American nationalism even more impervious to an understanding of how other nations react to any US interventions in their own affairs. When America occupies another country, it must be for that country's own good, because Americans are exceptional and they're always the good guys. Why doesn't the world understand that? It must be because foreigners hate our freedom!
Spot on analysis, and a critical topic that must be discussed in foreign policy education everywhere.
I am not convinced Afghan nationalism is responsible for the Taliban’s prowess, it seems to me Afghans favor far less devotion to the central government than is normal. Most Afghan civilians do not support the Taliban, and obviously many want to leave now they’re in charge.
I take your point, just not the best example.
Thank you for this excellent article, Peter. Citizens of my country, Canada, and American allies are horrified by Bidens incompetent, cruel withdrawal from Afghanistan. We will all continue to work to help those who supported our missions. But Allies are tired of cleaning up after or living with the left behind messes and destabilized countries and regions. European countries are worrying again about mass migrations and bodies of babies on beaches. We would prefer the US to address their own tragic problems at home and cooperate on our shared existential threats like climate.Those initiatives will reflect the Intelligence and leadership needed.
Wondering why you skipped over an important al-Qaeda grievance wrt to 9/11: US support for Israel('s crimes in Lebanon and Palestine)
Interesting read. Instead of circling the blame, it is about time to look to the future. Here I discuss the way forward for Americans, which is inclusive of the Afghan allies.
Great piece as always.
Any idea what would have been the best way to maintain a strong deterrent against attacks on American soil, without getting embroiled in an occupation?
The agreement to invade wasn't at all unanimous; it was unanimous among power elite. Many of the rest of us thought it was insane in light of (a) the US's baseline ignorance level when it comes to the rest of the world, even places that should be easy, like the most familiar of the EU countries, and (b) the fact that no one else has been able, ever, to make much of a dent in Afghanistan, and (c) the fact that it's really very goddamn far away. We did well to do as well as we did, at enormous cost, but unless we were planning to maintain a colony forever, which is what it was, it was stupid from start to finish. Now a tight election here is going to be much tighter, we're even weaker than we were internationally, and the cost to a generation in Afghanistan is incalculable. I thought I was doing badly by having brought my kid up in a middle-class way in a world in which a middle class doesn't really exist anymore, but that's absolutely nothing next to which that entire new generation is going to have to try to live now.
Excellent commentary on the situation in Afghanistan. Honest thinking (one of your hallmarks, over time) should be a required subject in schools.