The Biden administration’s pivot on all things related to the Taliban has begun.
The White House and State Department had long signaled that they were planning on treating the Taliban like any other sovereign country or group in the United Nations. Sternly worded communique, hashtag campaigns, and talk of future sanctions and humanitarian relief fill the speeches of our leaders.
In 2009, Charles Krauthammer famously observed that “decline is a choice,” referencing the Obama administration’s decision to backpedal U.S. influence across the globe. At the time, America was stunned at the Obama “apology tour.”
One wonders what Krauthammer would make of the State Department of Antony Blinken and Joe Biden, treating the Taliban like lousy guests at a cocktail party.
In a speech with his German counterpart this week, Blinken told journalists:
Yesterday the Taliban named a new interim government. We’re assessing the announcement, but despite professing that a new government would be inclusive, the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates, and no women.
The secretary of state added: “We will judge it, and them, by its actions. The international community has made clear its expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government.”
The Taliban? Inclusive?
Blinken is seriously concerned the Taliban don’t include women in their government? The same Taliban that recently dragged a pregnant Afghan woman out of her house — a woman who had served in the Afghan police force — and proceeded to execute her in front of her family? The same Taliban hunting for female sex slaves? The same Taliban that is raping girls as young as 12 and keeping them as “child brides”?
This isn’t a decline so much as it is a denial of reality. The Taliban is a group of extremist monsters.
Blinken went on, though; he wasn’t finished. He said the Biden administration wants to “ensure that Afghanistan is not used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks; and not to carry out reprisal violence against those who choose to stay in Afghanistan.”
In what universe is Blinken living? His name should be Antony Blinkered.
The Pentagon is already warning that terrorist groups are likely to jump into the vacuum of Afghanistan. It’s not a question of if or when; it’s just a matter of who all decides to join the fray. Al-Qaida went out of its way to praise the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan, both groups still intermingled.
And the Taliban is back to celebrating 9/11 and the suicide terrorists from that day. What we’re seeing is not the sound of a recalcitrant terrorist force that’s having an existential crisis on how it will fit in with the international community. They know who they are, but do we?
On the stories of the Taliban continuing to prevent people evacuating and fleeing the country at other airports, Blinken meekly added his support of those stuck:
[T]he Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart. They claim that some of the passengers do not have the required documentation. While there are limits to what we can do without personnel on the ground, without an airport with normal security procedures in place, we are working to do everything in our power to support those flights and to get them off the ground. That’s what we’ve done; that’s what we will continue to do.
If you’re stuck, apparently, it’s because the Taliban are sticklers for paperwork. It’s just a bureaucratic snafu, you see. The United States can help clear that red tape up with a terrorist group. You never know what passport stamps you need with the Taliban only recently taking over. I’m sure they have to get all that squared away.
It’s all a maddening joke.
This is stuff you’d think you’d see in The Onion or The Babylon Bee, where they joke about Taliban bureaucrats all the time. But it’s the actual defense of the current secretary of state, talking with NATO allies. The United States of America is groveling before terrorists, claiming that it’s just a paperwork mix-up and that everything is fine.
Our top diplomats are negotiating with terrorists. Our elite diplomats are legitimatizing child rapists, murderers, and fighters with American blood on their hands. Instead of answering the worst of humanity with power and force, the Biden administration has us resorting to weak groveling.
The very worst part of it all is that this was a choice. We aren’t in this position because of a set of bad decisions beyond our control. We’re in this position because the leadership of the United States, the president, the State Department, and those at the top levels of our military looked at the situation, made these choices, and now expect everyone to give them a pat on the back.
People say millennials all want a participation trophy for trying. What do you say about these people? Our entire defense apparatus doesn’t like the criticism and wants you to understand this is very hard. They want acknowledgment for those hard decisions.
Our leaders are cowards, and they’re too prideful to admit mistakes. The result is a weaker America, one pretending the Taliban is no different than another country in NATO that deserves a stern lecture at a Davos summit.
Our leaders have chosen something worse than decline. They’ve decided to aid and abet our enemies while spinning it as a victory.
We’ve fallen into the hands of our enemies, and it was all a choice. At any point in time, we could choose to retake our power and crush these terrorists. But we do not. That says a lot, and none of it good, about those at the top of American foreign policy.