Author Topic: Afghanistan  (Read 32054 times)

LetterRip

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #100 on: August 20, 2021, 08:26:45 PM »
LOL!  Oh man.  Yeah I remember you saying the same thing about Vietnam. 

I'm sure that the 50% of the Afghans (Afghani is the currency) that constitute the women of Afghanistan very much prefer the Taliban and are thrilled they have returned to power. 

A lot of them are. Same way that many US Christian women oppose abortion rights - they consider it part of their core belief system, no matter how 'obvious' you might believe them to be wrong and 'going against their interests'.  The Taliban beliefs are consistent with the vast majority of Afghans (yes I'm aware Afghani is the currency I still make the typo occasionally due to it being inconsistent with usage for many countries).

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8 million Afghans voted in the 2004 Presidential election.  That was 83% of all registered voters.  Total population of Afghanistan at that time was roughly 24 million.  Figure 1/3 of those were under age.  That gives Afghanistan a 50% voter turnout of the total population in 2004.  How the hell is that a low turnout?

Probably was refering to recent turnout in 2019

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Afghan_presidential_election

Less that 25% of eligible voters voted.  Also the majority of votes are from 'Diaspora' - Afghans with citizenship in other countries and living in other countries.

If you include the disapora then that certainly shifts things, but I'm talking about those living in Afghanistan.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #101 on: August 20, 2021, 08:49:49 PM »
The Taliban didn't defeat us in Afghanistan. The United States of America defeated the United States of America over there, the taliban was simply a proxy.

Yay

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #102 on: August 20, 2021, 08:54:15 PM »
Less that 25% of eligible voters voted.  Also the majority of votes are from 'Diaspora' - Afghans with citizenship in other countries and living in other countries.

Are you counting all the polling locations made inaccessible by Taliban threats?  I mean, if it's OK for the Taliban I guess it's ok for the Ku Klux Klan too.  100% of the votes go to James Milton Smith.


LetterRip

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #103 on: August 20, 2021, 11:06:34 PM »
Interesting survey of the Afghan population - it is about under what terms a peace deal with the Taliban was acceptable (this was in 2020) - essentially

https://asiafoundation.org/publication/afghanistan-flash-surveys-on-perceptions-of-peace-covid-19-and-the-economy-wave-3-findings/

It appears 57% of the population would have accepted a peace deal with the Taliban under any circumstances (Religious over Secular Law, Taliban Major Role in Government, Women Restricted Role, Become an Islam Emirate) or the opposite.  25% would reject a deal regardless of circumstances - Which leaves 28% who would accept or reject the deal depending on the specifics.  Basically 18% for whom women having a role is important; 13% for whom democracy is important; and 13% for who religious law being higher than secular law is important.  Would have been interesting to see how those three variables interacted.

The 'role' that they want allowed for women is 1) teaching at all female schools; and 2) working as nurses.  Mixed gender environments the support drops drastically; and for more prestigious roles the support drops significantly.

I'm curious how much people were paying attention to the details of the peace deal for the 57% and 25% - if they accepted/rejected without really paying attention or not.

This was a phone based survey.

Fenring

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #104 on: August 21, 2021, 03:15:30 AM »
Well, there ya go.  It was well known by some very wise and intelligent people, probably all graduates of the Army War College (or University of Phoenix, or even Clown College, everyone is an expert on war), that going into Afghanistan was a "no-win proposition".  They've been saying it for 20 years.

Actually they were saying it for the 20 years prior to 9/11. After that they stopped saying it, for obvious morale reasons. In other words, even prior to the invasion the common wisdom was that any entrance into that country was going to be a quagmire with no resolvable end-point. You could go, and you could devote many resources to it, but none of that would ever make the problem just go away. And this isn't even the blowback doctrine, it's just the nature of the populace and the geography. The only way to avoid the choice between staying forever, and leaving it and having it go wild again, would be not going at all in the first place. People were so hyped up with patriotism and terror at the idea of dissenting that the objective reactions to the proposition of going, had it been made at any other time, were swept away in fervor. This is not really controversial, it's just what happened. You're free to say you think they were always wrong in the first place about Afghanistan, but it's not like the voices saying that it's a bad place to be are only hindsight 20/20 armchair quarterbacks. It was what everyone was saying much before.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #105 on: August 21, 2021, 08:22:33 AM »
It appears 57% of the population would have accepted a peace deal with the Taliban under any circumstances (Religious over Secular Law, Taliban Major Role in Government, Women Restricted Role, Become an Islam Emirate) or the opposite.  25% would reject a deal regardless of circumstances - Which leaves 28% who would accept or reject the deal depending on the specifics.  Basically 18% for whom women having a role is important; 13% for whom democracy is important; and 13% for who religious law being higher than secular law is important.  Would have been interesting to see how those three variables interacted.

The 'role' that they want allowed for women is 1) teaching at all female schools; and 2) working as nurses.  Mixed gender environments the support drops drastically; and for more prestigious roles the support drops significantly.

I've looked through the attached source and I don't see anything like what you have quoted. 

From page 13:

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The protection of women’s rights, freedom of the press, and protection of the constitution among others, have been noted objectives of the Afghan negotiating team.
Over 90% of Afghans believe it is either very important or somewhat important to protect the following as part of a peace agreement: the current constitution (92.0%), freedom of speech (96.0%), freedom of the press (96.3%), a strong central government (96.6%), women’s rights (97.0%), and equality among different groups of people (96.0%). 88.1% say it is important to protect foreign economic assistance in a peace deal.

Over half of respondents (51.6%) say it is important to protect the presence of foreign troops. Over three fifths of respondents said they were very willing (37.3%) or somewhat willing (23.7%) to accept a peace deal in which blanket amnesty is provided for Taliban fighters. When comparing findings to W1 (39.3% and 26.3% respectively), this represents a small decrease on findings.

Over half of respondents say they would be very willing (30.3%) or somewhat willing (23.3%) to accept a blanket amnesty for Taliban senior leaders. This represents an overall decrease on findings from W1 (33.3% and 23.9% respectively). Regarding a Taliban role in government, 58.4% say they are willing to accept this (27.4% very willing and 31.0% somewhat willing).

Ceding control of certain provinces to the Taliban as part of a peace agreement does not, however, find support among Afghans. Over two thirds say they would be very unwilling (63.5%) or somewhat unwilling (3.5%) to accept this. When comparing findings for W1 (54.6%) and W3 (63.5%), the percentage of those citing they are very unwilling to cede control of certain provinces has increased by almost 10 percentage points.

From page 36

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Support for the protection of women’s rights appears strong throughout the three waves of the Survey.
In all waves, only a fifth or less of respondents said they would be very willing or somewhat willing to
accept a peace agreement where women may no longer work outside the home. Unsurprisingly, Afghan
women are more likely to say they are very unwilling to accept a peace agreement where women may
no longer work outside the home, when compared with men (81.6% females compared to 67.1%
males). Utilizing the same question but disaggregated by region, 92.4% of respondents in the Central/
Highlands region say they would be very unwilling, while this is significantly lower in the East (61.7%)
and South West (66.3%).

Support for accepting a peace deal where women and girls may no longer attend school is extremely low.
Just over 10 percent say they would be either very willing (6.7%) or somewhat willing (3.9%) to accept
such a deal. Again, women (90.8%) are most likely to report being very unwilling to accept such a deal,
while this is slightly lower for men (83.1%). Almost all respondents in the Central/Highlands (99.1%)
say they would be very unwilling to accept such a deal, while this is lowest in the East (78.3%).

I don't see anything in there remotely similar to 57% of the population would accept a peace deal under any circumstances.  What page did you see that data point on?

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #106 on: August 21, 2021, 08:25:44 AM »
It was what everyone was saying much before.

Who's everyone?  Give me some names. 

I don't doubt that you heard this somewhere.  I don't think that it's your original thought.  But I'm curious who "everyone" is.  It's kind of vague. 


LetterRip

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #107 on: August 21, 2021, 10:13:04 AM »
I've looked through the attached source and I don't see anything like what you have quoted.
 

The floor and ceiling for a peace deal are interpreted from their four part question - they phrase the question with each variant - Peace Deal given A and Peace Deal given NOT A - for each of the four items - and you get a minimum of 57.4% support a peace deal for each of those and 25% refuse a peace deal for each of those, then that tells you what the floor is.

Regarding the 'important or somewhat important' responses - people say 'somewhat important' about things that sound nice but they don't really care about.  If you ask people if it is 'somewhat important' to 'feed the starving kids in Africa' - you will get an extremely high percentage; if you ask 'what percentage of your taxes should be used to feed the starving kids in Africa' or 'how much are you willing to donate to feed the starving kids in Africa' - you get quite a different impression.

For women's rights, it might be a different survey by the same organization that delineates what jobs Afghans are comfortable with women having.  I'll see if I can find it.

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I don't see anything in there remotely similar to 57% of the population would accept a peace deal under any circumstances.  What page did you see that data point on?

I specified it was any of 4 circumstances.  It is from

CONJOINT EXPERIMENT: WHICH ASPECTS OF A PEACE DEAL ARE SUPPORTED BY CIVILIANS

pg 91, and 92

If you do the breakdowns it shows what is actually important.  Any of the four combinations of circumstances are offered for a peace deal.

Would Support a Peace Deal if

TALIBAN TO HAVE (NOT HAVE) MAJORITY INFLUENCE   67.1 (65.2 ) - so only 1.9% consider this important enough to be a deal breaker
INCREASE (DECREASE) ROLE OF WOMEN 57.4 (74.8 ) - so 17.4% consider this a deal breaker.
INCLUDE (EXCLUDE) REQUIREMENT OF ISLAMIC LAW HIGHER THAN SECULAR LAW 70.0 (62.5 ) - so 7.5% consider this a deal breaker
REQUIRE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECT LEADERS (BE AN ISLAMIC EMIRATE) 69.7 (62.7 ) - so only 7% consider democracy to be a deal breaker
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 10:17:43 AM by LetterRip »

Fenring

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #108 on: August 21, 2021, 11:19:10 AM »
Who's everyone?  Give me some names. 

Their names are "Russia" and "The CIA". There's a reason the CIA was training proxy insurgents like Osama bin Laden to achieve secondary goals there in the 80's - because any other strategy would be a waste of resources. And the Russians were doing the same. Sending an actual military force in there would be foolhardy.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #109 on: August 21, 2021, 11:30:30 AM »
Their names are "Russia" and "The CIA". There's a reason the CIA was training proxy insurgents like Osama bin Laden to achieve secondary goals there in the 80's - because any other strategy would be a waste of resources. And the Russians were doing the same. Sending an actual military force in there would be foolhardy.

OK.  So you can't name anybody.  Just say that.  "Everybody" doesn't exist.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #110 on: August 21, 2021, 11:41:27 AM »
TALIBAN TO HAVE (NOT HAVE) MAJORITY INFLUENCE   67.1 (65.2 ) - so only 1.9% consider this important enough to be a deal breaker
INCREASE (DECREASE) ROLE OF WOMEN 57.4 (74.8 ) - so 17.4% consider this a deal breaker.
INCLUDE (EXCLUDE) REQUIREMENT OF ISLAMIC LAW HIGHER THAN SECULAR LAW 70.0 (62.5 ) - so 7.5% consider this a deal breaker
REQUIRE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECT LEADERS (BE AN ISLAMIC EMIRATE) 69.7 (62.7 ) - so only 7% consider democracy to be a deal breaker

I don't think your interpretation of the statistics and your extrapolation on how may consider something a deal breaker is accurate.  The question in question on the poll, Q-27, presented a randomized hypothetical peace package with 4 different aspects each with two different outcomes giving a total of 16 possible peace packages.  The respondent was then asked to thumbs up or thumbs down the entire package, not specific parts of the package. 

Because of this, you cannot extrapolate exactly how many Afghans figure each separate part of the hypothetical peace deal was critically important, because they were voting on the entire package, not individual aspects of it.  The only thing you can do is see which aspects were more important than others. 

From the survey:

Quote
A conjoint experiment is useful in determining what combination of a limited number of attributes
is most influential on respondents’ preferences.

Quote
Condition 1: Similar to Wave 1, whether or not the Taliban have majority influence does not seem to
impact whether Afghans would support a peace deal; 67.1% responded to supporting the peace deal
under Taliban majority influence (slightly higher than 65.8% in W1), whereas 65.2% supported the
peace deal otherwise (compared to 64.4% in W1). Compared to when the government did not allow
the Taliban to have majority influence after the peace process the condition of allowing Taliban majority
influence slightly increased the odds of supporting peace by 1.09 times (95% CI for OR, 0.956-1.245)
though the change is not statistically significant.
Thus, similar to findings from W1, the Taliban having a majority influence within the new government
does not affect support for a peace deal.
Condition 2: As found in W1, the role of women continues to impact whether Afghans would support a
peace deal; 74.8% supported the peace deal if women’s role was to increase in the public space, whereas
57.4% supported the peace deal if women’s role reduced. Compared to when the government increased
the public role of women in society, the condition of reducing the women’s role reduces the odds of
supporting peace by 55% (95% CI for OR, 0.396 - 0.521).

Quote
In summary, similar to Wave 1, respondents are more likely to support a peace deal if women have an
increased public role in society.
Condition 3: The requirement that Islamic law is higher than secular law continues to impact whether
Afghans would support a peace deal; 70.0% supported the peace deal if Islamic law is higher than secular
law (an increase from 67.9% in Wave 1), whereas 62.47% supported the peace deal otherwise (consistent
with the 62.48% in Wave 1). Compared to when the government did not include a requirement that
Islamic law is higher than secular law, the condition of superseding Islamic law relative to secular law
increased the odds of supporting peace by 1.4 times (95% CI for OR, 1.227-1.603).
Thus, respondents are more likely to support a peace deal if Islamic law is deemed higher than secular
law. The support for a peace deal preferring Islamic law over secular law has slightly increased from
67.9% in W1 to 70.0% in W3.
Condition 4: In W3, the condition of democratically electing leaders continues to impact whether
Afghans would support a peace deal; 69.7% supported the peace deal if leaders are elected democratically
(consistent with 68.1% in W1), whereas 62.7% supported the peace deal if Afghanistan was an Islamic
Emirate (marginally higher than 61.8% in W1). Compared to Afghanistan being an Islamic Emirate,
the condition of democratically electing leaders increased the odds of supporting peace by 1.37 times
(95% CI for OR, 1.202-1.569), a marginally higher impact than the 1.32 in W1.
Thus, in W3 respondents continue to be more likely to support a peace deal if leaders are democratically
elected, rather than to be part of an Islamic Emirate.

The data supports that women's rights is the number 1 aspect that seems to be critical of accepting a peace deal or not.  This is in line with previous statistics given on page 31 that showed that women's rights was the highest ranked priority for accepting a peace deal by Afghans along with a strong central government. 

LetterRip

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #111 on: August 21, 2021, 11:57:40 AM »
I don't think your interpretation of the statistics and your extrapolation on how may consider something a deal breaker is accurate.

Fair enough, I think taking the difference between minimum and maximum is a reasonable approach that should give us a pretty good idea.

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Because of this, you cannot extrapolate exactly how many Afghans figure each separate part of the hypothetical peace deal was critically important, because they were voting on the entire package, not individual aspects of it.  The only thing you can do is see which aspects were more important than others.

There are clever statistics that can indeed give you that, but my simplified approach is going to be pretty close.  I think you can reasonably disagree without me putting more effort in to convince you than I'm willing to invest.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #112 on: August 21, 2021, 11:58:47 AM »
Interesting survey of the Afghan population - it is about under what terms a peace deal with the Taliban was acceptable

I mean, the whole thing is academic because there never was a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government.  The agreement was made between the Taliban and the US, and the US and the Afghan government.  A cease-fire and dialogue in return for US withdrawl and guarantees that both parties would not threaten the US domestically or any of their allies. 

The Taliban was never interested in a deal with the Afghan government.  They waited until the US pulled out and then attacked.  They bided their time.  It was all a trick.  And everybody knew it.  The only question was how well the Afghan army was supposed to take care of themselves and there seemed to be a difference of opinion on what they could do.  Afghans may well have supported certain aspects of a peace deal in return for peace.  But the only peace they ended up getting was a complete Taliban victory.  That means no democracy, Taliban rule, loss of women's rights, and Islamic law.  The only thing in there that the majority of Afghans wanted was Islamic Law.  The majority of Afghans never supported a complete Taliban victory.  I don't care if they're city boys or Afghan hillbillies. 

LetterRip

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #113 on: August 21, 2021, 12:19:16 PM »
It was all a trick.

It wasn't a trick, the Taliban never implied an intention of not taking over Afghanistan and the US explicitly negotiated to not interfere if they attempted to do so.  So I'm not sure who you think was 'tricked'.  I guess perhaps the Afghanistan people?

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Afghans may well have supported certain aspects of a peace deal in return for peace.

Yep.

Quote
But the only peace they ended up getting was a complete Taliban victory.

I think the survey about the negotiations showed that if it brought peace - they majority of Afghan's were mostly ok with that as long as the Taliban don't curtail women's right to work in unisex schools and as nurses and other "woman's work" - which the Taliban are currently claiming they will allow.  Time will tell, but organizations can change in a 20 year period - we will see if it is just lies to pacify people during their takeover or if they are sincere.  I give it 50/50 odds.  They have been clear on other parts of policy - ie that it will be a ruling council and not a democracy.

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That means no democracy, Taliban rule, loss of women's rights, and Islamic law.

I think the loss of democracy is certain - but it isn't that important to the Afghan people.  Taliban rule is certain - again I don't think they care too much who is in power as long as it doesn't impact them personally too much.  Loss of women's rights uncertain - this will be a major sticking point.  Islamic Law - this is actually a preference of many.

If it is the 1996 Taliban all over again - I think the majority won't care for it.  But I don't think it is the same organization from back then.


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  The only thing in there that the majority of Afghans wanted was Islamic Law.  The majority of Afghans never supported a complete Taliban victory.  I don't care if they're city boys or Afghan hillbillies.

The majority want peace and stability.  If a complete Taliban victory happens to do that than the majority probably prefer that to any scenario that doesn't result in peace and stability.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #114 on: August 21, 2021, 01:04:33 PM »
It wasn't a trick, the Taliban never implied an intention of not taking over Afghanistan and the US explicitly negotiated to not interfere if they attempted to do so.  So I'm not sure who you think was 'tricked'.  I guess perhaps the Afghanistan people?

So Trump and Biden's demand for a ceasefire and dialogue was just for show?  I guess that makes it alright.  Certainly makes it alright for the Afghan government and the Afghan people who got hung out to dry. 

1. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and
is known as the Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including
al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its
allies.

2. The United States and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United
States as a state and is known as the Taliban seek positive relations with each other and expect
that the relations between the United States and the new post-settlement Afghan Islamic
government as determined by the intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations will be positive.

I mean, I guess the government of Afghanistan and the Afghan people who fought beside us for 20 years were not really our allies, eh?   

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think the loss of democracy is certain - but it isn't that important to the Afghan people.

Quote
Compared to Afghanistan being an Islamic Emirate,
the condition of democratically electing leaders increased the odds of supporting peace by 1.37 times
(95% CI for OR, 1.202-1.569), a marginally higher impact than the 1.32 in W1.


Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #115 on: August 21, 2021, 01:12:19 PM »
The majority want peace and stability.  If a complete Taliban victory happens to do that than the majority probably prefer that to any scenario that doesn't result in peace and stability.

Bear in mind that there are already 3 million Afghan refugees worldwide and you could probably add another 100-200 thousand easy after this week, if they could find a way out.  So yeah, that's almost an extra 10% of the Afghan population, minus whomever the Taliban removes.  I bet the majority do want peace and stability, being that the alternative is their execution. 

LetterRip

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #116 on: August 21, 2021, 02:01:14 PM »

So Trump and Biden's demand for a ceasefire and dialogue was just for show?

You misread or misheard what Trump negotiated - they Taliban only had to 'consider' a ceasefire.  Not actually engage in one.

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I guess that makes it alright.  Certainly makes it alright for the Afghan government and the Afghan people who got hung out to dry.

We armed and trained their military.  We built and improved an enormous amount of infrastructure.  What they decided to do with that is their own decisions.  The military decided that they didn't want to fight the Taliban for whatever reason.  Apparently given the choice between stated ideals but having to repel the Taliban, or letting the Taliban take over - they decided on option 2.

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I mean, I guess the government of Afghanistan and the Afghan people who fought beside us for 20 years were not really our allies, eh? 

Nope, an ally has a particular meaning in international law,

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a country tied to another country by a treaty or alliance.

We have no treaties or alliances with Afghanistan, ergo they are not an ally.  They were a client state. (Obama's Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement had no binding effect on the US as it was an 'executive agreement' and not something ratified by congress)

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #117 on: August 21, 2021, 03:26:59 PM »
You misread or misheard what Trump negotiated - they Taliban only had to 'consider' a ceasefire.  Not actually engage in one.

I think I would generally characterize the agreement with the Taliban as a *censored*ty. 

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We armed and trained their military.  We built and improved an enormous amount of infrastructure.  What they decided to do with that is their own decisions.  The military decided that they didn't want to fight the Taliban for whatever reason.  Apparently given the choice between stated ideals but having to repel the Taliban, or letting the Taliban take over - they decided on option 2.

We handed a bunch of gear to a sick kid and told him to go fight a monster.  Then some people want to blame him for not fighting hard enough.  They fought for 20 years and took 60,000 casualties. 

Quote
Nope, an ally has a particular meaning in international law. We have no treaties or alliances with Afghanistan, ergo they are not an ally.  They were a client state. (Obama's Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement had no binding effect on the US as it was an 'executive agreement' and not something ratified by congress)

That's cute, LOL.  What exactly do you call a guy who marries a girl at the Mt. Shiloh Chapel outside of Roan Mt, Tennessee, has three kids with her, lives with her for 20 years, but then goes off and abandons them, and tells her that they were not officially legally married because they never signed courthouse papers and the kids are not his because they don't have birth certificates with his name on them? 

"I was never obligated to fight for these people!  They were never really my friends!  The agreements I made with them had no binding effect!" 

So what about all our other so called Major Non-NATO Allies (yes it's an actual government title, though apparently not binding), that we have with Taiwan?  Singapore?  Ukraine?  I mean, you have basically told all of these people that Bilaterial Security Agreements with the United States are only good as *censored* tickets because they're not signed by the Senate. 

LetterRip

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #118 on: August 21, 2021, 04:35:11 PM »
I think I would generally characterize the agreement with the Taliban as a *censored*ty. 

No argument there.

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We handed a bunch of gear to a sick kid and told him to go fight a monster.  Then some people want to blame him for not fighting hard enough.  They fought for 20 years and took 60,000 casualties. 

Seriously?  They had the capability and training to fight, overwhelmingly superior firepower and numbers, they decided not to fight.  In reality the were more mercenaries than anything else, and with the US gone the odds of getting paid dropped off significantly.

Also the people and government of Afghanistan explicitly wanted the US gone.  Only 20% of them were willing to have a US presence.

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That's cute, LOL.

You were referencing Trump's treaty.  Words have agreed upon meaning in a treaty.  They weren't agreeing to not attack Afghanistan - Trump explicitly agreed to not interfere if they did so as long as they agreed to not attack the US.

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So what about all our other so called Major Non-NATO Allies (yes it's an actual government title, though apparently not binding), that we have with Taiwan?  Singapore?  Ukraine?  I mean, you have basically told all of these people that Bilaterial Security Agreements with the United States are only good as *censored* tickets because they're not signed by the Senate.

Yep, they are only good for as long as the President who signed them is in power and only if congress doesn't override him if he tries to fulfill them or directly override them immediately.  The next President can follow them or not at his whim.  That is US Constitutional law - if it isn't ratified by the Senate than it doesn't have much more value than the paper it is written on.  It isn't like foreign heads of government aren't aware of this fact.  If we want the power of treaty invested solely in the President, we can change the US Constitution.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 04:40:16 PM by LetterRip »

TheDrake

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #119 on: August 21, 2021, 04:43:37 PM »
I don't agree with, no treaty - no obligation.

But I don't think any of our formal or informal agreements obligate us in a civil war. Spain is a NATO country, but if the Catalans secede or engage in armed attacks on Madrid, I don't think we're required to step in and I doubt we would. If a portion of Japanese residents started a rebellion against Tokyo, I also don't think we'd be getting involved.

It should come as no surprise that the US didn't care about them apart from how they impact us. After all, we armed the SOBs that morphed into the Taliban so they could score some hits against the Soviets.

None of the entities listed have a bilateral security agreement. Taiwan had one once when it was still the ROC, but we trashed it decades ago. We have no obligation to defend Taiwan militarily. Ukraine even less so, and we demonstrated that already when we didn't do anything when they got invaded with Russian proxies. Had to look up singapore, don't see anything resembling that.

So absent that, is there a moral obligation? Whole other question.

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That's cute, LOL.  What exactly do you call a guy who marries a girl at the Mt. Shiloh Chapel outside of Roan Mt, Tennessee, has three kids with her, lives with her for 20 years, but then goes off and abandons them, and tells her that they were not officially legally married because they never signed courthouse papers and the kids are not his because they don't have birth certificates with his name on them?

I dunno, has the guy been telling her for years that he's going to leave, and then filed divorce papers? Because that's largely what happened here. I will grant you that the idea of a socio-political paternity test did offer me a laugh.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #120 on: August 21, 2021, 05:55:12 PM »
But I don't think any of our formal or informal agreements obligate us in a civil war. Spain is a NATO country, but if the Catalans secede or engage in armed attacks on Madrid, I don't think we're required to step in and I doubt we would. If a portion of Japanese residents started a rebellion against Tokyo, I also don't think we'd be getting involved.

Partial point. Maybe with an extra point.  The agreement we had with Afghanistan never formally obligated the US to step in during even an external invasion.  Just that the United States would be "gravely concerned".  There is something to be said for a civil war where one side is supplied by external forces, and a whole nuther discussion on why there seems to be some sort of aversion to civil wars in the first place.  Given how strongly some of these people feel about the American Civil War, you'd think they'd be chomping at the bit.  Honestly, if a large force of Japanese citizens rise up with the intent to create a communist dictatorship, it's in the security interests of the United States to assist the legitimate government. 

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None of the entities listed have a bilateral security agreement. Taiwan had one once when it was still the ROC, but we trashed it decades ago. We have no obligation to defend Taiwan militarily. Ukraine even less so, and we demonstrated that already when we didn't do anything when they got invaded with Russian proxies. Had to look up singapore, don't see anything resembling that.

I was referring to Non-Nato significant ally status.  You're called an ally, but there is no mutal defense clause there either.  Just an agreement to sell arms.  Partial point. 

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I dunno, has the guy been telling her for years that he's going to leave, and then filed divorce papers? Because that's largely what happened here. I will grant you that the idea of a socio-political paternity test did offer me a laugh.

Half-point.  The example was simply to stress the problem with that kind of legalism.  But you have a point that your example is more apt to the actual situation, which goes again to show just how raw a deal Afghanistan has been getting since 2009.   


TheDrake

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #121 on: August 22, 2021, 12:25:23 AM »
I'll take the partial credit, thanks. I understand and agree why I don't get full credit.

If we call anybody we sell arms to an "ally" then wow have we got a lot of allies, many of whom are at war with somebody. We wouldn't put boots on the ground in support of most of them on that basis.

The major non-NATO allies are here, as detailed by the State Dept:

Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Tunisia

Obligations under that can be found here, and they don't include air support. There is a provision that allows for training but does not commit to it. Major Non-Nato Ally status

As for Taiwan, we don't even recognize their flag for fear of repercussions with China. Everyone on the planet knows we'll stand by and watch if China chooses to invade - militarily. Economic and other repercussions are hopefully enough reason for them to leave well enough alone.

Naturally we'll get involved in civil wars if it is in our national interest, hell we'll even start one in a peaceful country. None of that speaks to a moral or legal obligation.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #122 on: August 22, 2021, 12:05:37 PM »
If we call anybody we sell arms to an "ally" then wow have we got a lot of allies, many of whom are at war with somebody. We wouldn't put boots on the ground in support of most of them on that basis.

Well, if you count all 29 NATO countries, then add all 21 Rio countries, the Phillipines MDT, ANZUS, the ROK MDT, and the US-Japan Security Treaty, that comes up to 55 countries right there.  Then add in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Thailand, and Tunisia who all have Major Non-NATO ally status.  Then add Taiwan (I'll get to that later).

The countries that we sell arms to that are not on those lists include the Saudis, India, Qatar, the UAE, Lebanon, Singapore (who refused Major Non-NATO ally status), Kenya, Mali, DR Congo, Ukraine, Jamaica, Oman, Nigeria, and Niger. 

The only ones currently involved in armed conflicts or insurgencies are Ukraine, Saudis, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Israel, Mexico, Thailand, Columbia, Phillipines, Egypt, South Korea, and Morocco.  There just doesn't seem to be a shortage of *censored* in the world right now.  But that is 19 out of 80 countries we have treaties with, are Major Non-NATO allies, or we just sell arms to. 55 of those we have mutual defense treaties with.  So yes, we are supposed to put boots on the ground in support of most of them, if they request it. 

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Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Tunisia

Taiwan has the same status and agreements without the actual name, per the Foreign Relations Act of 2003.  Singapore was offered and rejected.  Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, and Qatar have been considered.  A bill was introduced in 2019 to give the status to Ukraine. 

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As for Taiwan, we don't even recognize their flag for fear of repercussions with China. Everyone on the planet knows we'll stand by and watch if China chooses to invade - militarily. Economic and other repercussions are hopefully enough reason for them to leave well enough alone.

Who's everybody?  Does that include the PRC and ROC?  Does that include the House Foreign Relations Committee?  Does that include USINDOPACOM?  I mean, everybody would include those people.  I'm not sure they're all aware.  Probably need to put something in the Federal Register.  Kinda defeats the purpose of Strategic Ambiguity, doesn't it?  You definately need to tell President Biden, who just the other day said this:

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"They are ... entities we’ve made agreements with based on not a civil war they’re having on that island or in South Korea, but on an agreement where they have a unity government that, in fact, is trying to keep bad guys from doing bad things to them,” the president said.

"We have made, kept every commitment. We made a sacred commitment to article 5 that if in fact anyone were to invade or take action against our Nato allies, we would respond. Same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with Taiwan. It’s not even comparable to talk about that."

Not very ambiguous either, and it appears the administration is trying to backtrack. 



 

TheDrake

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #123 on: August 22, 2021, 07:44:57 PM »
That's talk talk and bluster. There is no way we engage with a nuclear power in direct combat over Taiwan.

Even the agreement you cite only says this :

It formalized that “the United States shall make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capacity as determined by the President and the Congress.”

The law also stated that “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means” would be “of grave concern to the United States.”

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Former officials who wrestled with this question know it’s not an easy call. “You’re damn right it’s hard,” Chuck Hagel, who served as secretary of defense when Biden was vice president, told me. “It’s a complex decision for any administration, not an automatic one. You can talk policy all you want, but a war off the coast of China? Boy, you better think through all of that.”

Exactly. We'll keep giving them assurances and if Chinese missiles and landing craft head in the direction of Taiwan, we hope we sold them enough hardware and training for them to do okay for a while without having us warplanes shooting down Chinese fighters.

TheDeamon

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #124 on: August 22, 2021, 08:28:35 PM »
As for Taiwan, we don't even recognize their flag for fear of repercussions with China. Everyone on the planet knows we'll stand by and watch if China chooses to invade - militarily. Economic and other repercussions are hopefully enough reason for them to leave well enough alone.

Naturally we'll get involved in civil wars if it is in our national interest, hell we'll even start one in a peaceful country. None of that speaks to a moral or legal obligation.

Interesting thing that I've stumbled upon recently is that the island of Taiwan, not to be confused with the Republic of China, may exist in an even more bizarre form of legal limbo so far as the United States Government is concerned than most people realize. And that was deliberate on the part of the United States back in the 1950's.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1943_Cairo_Declaration
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The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion. It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and The Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. ...

Okay, that makes the case for the CPC that under the context of there being a civil war in China at the time which was simply silent during the war, the Communists can latch on to that, as they obviously control parts of Manchuria today, among some other points.

But then we move later in the war:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Declaration#Terms
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The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.

While they reference the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Declaration does not, on its own affirm anything going to the ROC beyond "yeah, what that other document said"

https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/japanese-surrender-document

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We, acting by command of and in behalf of the Emperor of Japan, the Japanese Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, hereby accept the provisions set forth in the declaration issued by the heads of the Governments of the United States, China, and Great Britain on 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and subsequently adhered to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which four powers are hereafter referred to as the Allied Powers.

...

We hereby undertake for the Emperor, the Japanese Government and their successors to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration in good faith, and to issue whatever orders and take whatever actions may be required by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or by any other designated representative of the Allied Powers for the purpose of giving effect to that Declaration.

And given that Potsdam references Cairo, the Instrument of surrender now provides the basis for the Communist Party and the ROC to claim they've been granted sovereignty over Taiwan. In keeping with the Cairo declaration's statement of "shall be restored to the Republic of China."

Bringing us "General Order Number 1"
https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000097066.pdf
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The senior Japanese Commanders and all ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces within China, (excluding Manchuria). Formosa and French Indo-China North of 16 degrees North latitude, shall surrender to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek.

Except using as a basis of a claim gets dicey for the Communist party because..
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The senior Japanese Commanders and all ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces within Manchuria, Korea North of 38 degrees North latitude, Karafuto, and the Kurile Islands, shall surrender to the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Forces in the Far East

Which then brings us to the Treaty of San Francisco, where neither the ROC or the People's Republic were invited to attend.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_San_Francisco
Wiki makes this claim, but I have not yet found the relevant documents.
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According to the treaty's travaux préparatoires, a consensus existed among the states present at the San Francisco Peace Conference that, while the legal status of the island of Taiwan is temporarily undetermined, it would be resolved at a later time in accordance with the principles of peaceful settlement of disputes and self-determination, ideas that had been enshrined in the UN Charter.

I did find the supporting document for this one from the wiki page though:
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In 1955, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, co-author of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, affirmed that the treaty ceded Taiwan to no one; that Japan "merely renounced sovereignty over Taiwan". Dulles said that America "cannot, therefore, admit that the disposition of Taiwan is merely an internal problem of China."
But we'll get back to him.

https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20136/volume-136-I-1832-English.pdf
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Article 2
(a) Japan, recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet.
(b) Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores.
...But with this treaty being signed in the fall of 1951, the ROK has retreated from the mainland of China and is holding out on the Island of Formosa(Taiwan). The United States is also involved in the Korean War at this time, and fighting against the Chinese PLA there. So it seems the US State Department carefully crafted that passage to be as vague as they possibly could. Japan ceded Formosa and Pescadore Islands in compliance with the prior declarations and agreements.. But it didn't specify who they ceded them to. But as the United States was the "Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers" operating in the Pacific Theater, that would mean Formosa technically defaults to the United States until it decides who the sovereign is.

Now back to the US Secretary of State talking about Taiwan in 1955.
https://search.library.wisc.edu/digital/AK7LYDN2XR55Z78Q/pages/APJFBMLMVFOD2S8K
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The Secretary said that we had in mind talking about the possibility of avoiding armed clashes. We certainly would not talk about the disposal of Taiwan. What we want is to assure that the problems can be worked out peacefully. As for the substantive aspects of the problems we must await the evolution of time, for if substantive matters are forced, no decision can be reached under present conditions and an armed clash would surely result. The CPR wants to get Taiwan which they haven't had for 60 years. Even the juridical position of Taiwan is in doubt. The United States also has an interest in Taiwan which we got away from Japan. Japan has merely renounced sovereignty over Taiwan which has not been disposed of by the peace treaty and not ceded to anyone. Consequently the United States also could assert a legal claim until Taiwan is disposed of by some means. We cannot, therefore, admit that the disposition of Taiwan is merely an internal problem.

But later that same year, we do get:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-American_Mutual_Defense_Treaty
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ARTICLE VI
For the purposes of Articles II and V, the terms "territorial" and "territories" shall mean in respect of the Republic of China, Taiwan and the Pescadores; and in respect of the United States of America, the island territories in the West Pacific under its jurisdiction. The provisions of Articles II and V will be applicable to such other territories as may be determined by mutual agreement.

Which is as close as the US comes to saying the ROC is the sovereign of Taiwan... Except Taiwan controlled more territory than that in 1955, and still do to this day.

The Senate's commentary on the Treaty as they ratified it is also "interesting" as well as per wiki:

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"It is the view of the committee that the coming into force of the present treaty will not modify or affect the existing legal status of Formosa and the Pescadores."

And from there we get into the legal mouthful that Congress created with the Taiwan Relations Act after Jimmy Carter withdrew from the mutual defense pact.

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The President- having terminated governmental relations between the United States and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China

...

For all purposes, including actions in any court in the United States, the Congress approves the continuation in force of all treaties and other international agreements, including multilateral conventions, entered into by the United States and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979, and in force between them on December 31, 1978, unless and until terminated in accordance with law.

...

the term “Taiwan” includes, as the context may require, the islands of Taiwan and the Pescadores, the people on those islands, corporations and other entities and associations created or organized under the laws applied on those islands, and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979, and any successor governing authorities (including political subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities thereof)

And once again, remember, Taiwan does control more than just the area they're describing, but the area they are describing are the areas that were part of Japan between the years of 1895 and 1945(or arguably 1952 when the San Francisco Treaty entered into force)

So it could be argued that the United States strategy of strategic ambiguity runs a little deeper than some would think. They're actually asserting that as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces (Pacific) they are in fact the Sovereigns of Formosa and the Pescadores until such time that the ROC and PRC reconcile and unify in a peaceful manner. The ROC is simply acting as an administrator of the territory in the interim.  :o

And until the United States makes that determination, Formosa and the Pescadores are not currently "a part of China" but rather "the former territorial possessions of Imperial Japan yet to be disposed of by treaty."

Which makes this read out in a more hilarious manner:
https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/archives/speech/united-states-china-joint-communique-united-states-arms-sales-taiwan

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In the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations on January 1, 1979, issued by the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People's Republic of China, the United States of America recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, and it acknowledged the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. Within that context, the two sides agreed that the people of the United States would continue to maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan. On this basis, relations between the United States and China were normalized.

Where people need to remember that acknowledgement of a position is not the same thing as agreement with a position.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #125 on: August 22, 2021, 09:50:49 PM »
That's talk talk and bluster. There is no way we engage with a nuclear power in direct combat over Taiwan.

Why not? 

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It formalized that “the United States shall make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capacity as determined by the President and the Congress.”

I know that it doesn't promise mutual defense.  The old one did.  But I think you can read between the lines and what people are writing and the concept behind Strategic Ambiguity.  We've made it clear that we could choose to help defend Taiwan during a PRC invasion. 

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Exactly. We'll keep giving them assurances and if Chinese missiles and landing craft head in the direction of Taiwan, we hope we sold them enough hardware and training for them to do okay for a while without having us warplanes shooting down Chinese fighters.


Taiwan couldn't stand up to a full invasion by themselves.  The Chinese have too many ballistic missiles.  Good ones too.  ROC ballistic air defense is pretty tight, but they are outgunned and outnumbered.  They might be able to make the ground fight difficult, but they couldn't last long if they lose control of sea resupply and the Chinese maintain theirs. 

The good news is that Japan and Australia have already signaled a wiliness to assist in the defense of Taiwan.  Chinese aggression is a little more real to them.

TheDrake

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #126 on: August 22, 2021, 10:26:00 PM »
Well I hope we never find out. Because I don't know we get into direct combat with China and not have it eventually go nuclear. There is some precedent for that between India and Pakistan. I'd hate to rely on restraint.

Major nuclear powers have fought each other via proxies and trading. China did have troops also in North Vietnam but did not commit air assets.

Nobody can know how serious the United States is for sure, that's the ambiguity. Does China want to find out if we're bluffing? Maybe not. How great is their interest in taking over Taiwan? I don't have the depth of understanding to weigh that.

TheDeamon

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #127 on: August 23, 2021, 12:03:00 AM »
Well I hope we never find out. Because I don't know we get into direct combat with China and not have it eventually go nuclear. There is some precedent for that between India and Pakistan. I'd hate to rely on restraint.

It is a very safe bet that China fully believes in the idea of "limited wars" being possible with Nuclear Powers. They have three examples of them doing exactly that.

During the Korean War in the 1950 they went up against the nuclear armed United States, where the commanding General was even very loudly demanding that China get nuked. The United States didn't do it, we even fired the general, even as our forces were nearly pushed off of the Korean Peninsula entirely.

In the late 1960's, a now Nuclear Armed China engaged in a protracted (but low grade) border war with the likewise nuclear armed Soviet Union. Nobody was nuked.

For the past 10 years, China has been engaged in on-again, off-again border conflicts with nuclear armed India, nobody has been nuked over that yet.

Why would China have any reason to believe that the United States would be willing to use nuclear weapons over Taiwan when we didn't use them in Korea even when it looked like we might lose? The consequences for us would have been much less back then compared to now. So from their perspective, the calculus simply doesn't make sense. The United States will not use nuclear weapons so long as China doesn't use them first. (Which is almost certainly a correct assessment)

While the Untied States on the other hand, cannot be so certain about the restraint of China. Especially when China has helpfully offered to "Nuke Japan until they surrender" in the event they follow through with Japan's Foreign Minister's statement about how Japan would view an invasion of Taiwan to be "an existential threat to Japan" (which would be sufficient to trigger the self-defense clause in their constitution)

https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/566427-hiroshimas-and-nagasakis-in-our-future

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Major nuclear powers have fought each other via proxies and trading. China did have troops also in North Vietnam but did not commit air assets.

How quaint. I guess you didn't consider the Communist Party of China to not be a "major power" until some time after the 1970's? See previous comment above. Although the China/India conflicts also call that into question...

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Nobody can know how serious the United States is for sure, that's the ambiguity. Does China want to find out if we're bluffing? Maybe not. How great is their interest in taking over Taiwan? I don't have the depth of understanding to weigh that.

I think the memorandum from 1955 probably sums up US policy then, and US policy now. Although I didn't quote the full thing.

1) The United States is committed to the peaceful unification of China, as it was to the peaceful unification of Germany(completed), and the peaceful unification of Korea.
as such
2) The United States does not support efforts on the part of the ROC to wage war on the PRC. (Was an issue in the 1950's and into the 1970's; not much of one now)
3) The United States also does not support efforts on the part of the PRC to wage war on the ROC. (Is pretty much THE issue now)
4) The United States does not support any move which might make reconciliation and reunification far more difficult than it already appears to be. (Taiwan cannot declare independence)

Those positions are entirely consistent with US policy positions today, only the US has had to be care about references to the ROC since 1979 due to their "acknowledgement" of China's "One China policy"

But, just because the organs of state seem to be stuck in the 1950's doesn't mean our political leadership are unopen to a different approach today. And it certainly is valid to question just how committed the US is to the idea of "peaceful reunification" and "self-determination" when at present it seems the two options are diametrically opposed to one another these days as it relates to the people on the Island of Taiwan.

If China declares war on Taiwan, the US will have to drop the idea of "peaceful reunification" and decide if they want to use military force to help ensure the people of Taiwan are allowed their right to self-determination... Or if doing so is even worth the effort, as a lot of people on Taiwan would likely die as a result of the US deciding to fight(not to mention US and Allied service-members)... But knowing the Communist Party of China, if we just let them take control of Taiwan, a lot of people are likely either going to die in any case, or otherwise "not be seen again for a very long time."

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #128 on: August 23, 2021, 09:22:55 AM »
Well I hope we never find out. Because I don't know we get into direct combat with China and not have it eventually go nuclear.

I don't think there is a bunch of risk of nuclear escalation in the Taiwan situation. 

The United States wouldn't release first.  They don't have enough on the line. 

The primary use for tactical nukes for China would be using them against US CVN battlegroups and logistics/air bases like Guam.  But I honestly don't know how many tac nuke warheads they have on their ballistic missiles, or even if they can fit them.  Provided they can, and they are able to nuke US carrier groups, they risk reprisal from nuclear attacks from their naval bases and logistical bases.  Even if the US does not retaliate, China will have probably lost the thing they want most, the backing of Russia.  Russia coming down on their side is the number one thing China wants in a war for Taiwan, especially if Russia commits to protect China's space based recon sats or assists in disabling American satellites.  It's a losing proposition for China, and would make a conventional loss even worse, provided they do not consider the mainland under threat of invasion, which really isn't in American plans.  We just can't invade China. 

Tac nuke use by China against US bases would basically invite the same problems, except it gives a greater risk of retaliation by the US, leading to a greater risk of escalation, which is again something China doesn't want. 

China's goal is to take Taiwan.  Their way to do that is to defeat the ROC, Japan, Australia, and the US conventionally.  Opening the nuclear box is something China doesn't want, and wouldn't do, unless they thought the PRC was under direct threat.  Their primary method of assuring victory is to convince the United States that they could not win or that Taiwan isn't worth the risk or casualties.  China's best weapon is Americans who don't want to fight China. 

China can defeat Taiwan conventionally on their own.  But their problem is being able to keep Taiwan supplied by maintaining sea and air control over Taiwan against the combined fleets of Australia, Japan, and the United States.  The resolve of Japan and Australia is greatly tied to how committed the United States is. 

China's path to conventional victory is having enough ballistic missiles with enough range to take out any naval force that enters the East or South China Seas.  They have plenty, but the United States still has a pretty big navy with plenty of anti-ballistic missile protection.  Add in whatever they would need against Australia and Japan.  And each missile they hold back against naval battle groups is a missile they cannot use to hammer Taiwan's defenses.  At some point it will simply be a matter of numbers.  It's cheaper to build 40-50 ballistic missiles than it is to build an Aegis destroyer and crew it.  China will eventually have those numbers, but I don't think they have them now.  In the meantime, the US is in a race to improve ballistic missile protection for it's ships and bases. 

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How great is their interest in taking over Taiwan?

They're pretty serious about it.  All of their military spending over the last 10+ years has been geared towards being able to win a conventional fight over Taiwan and in the South China Sea.  They have only recently begun to upgrade and increase their nuclear force.  Honestly, they would have done it a long time ago if it were not for the United States.  Japan and Australia are becoming much more vocal in their support recently, due to a perceived lack of strength coming from the United States. 

yossarian22c

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #129 on: August 23, 2021, 09:56:55 AM »
I think we should bite the bullet with Taiwan sooner rather than later. Send a couple carrier fleets along with forces from Japan and Australia to the area and have them formally declare independence and have everyone recognize it. Hong Kong shows you can't play the slow game with China. They will wait until the opportunity is ripe and strike. Better to put forward a show of force and make Taiwan's status to the world clear. If it doesn't happen soon it never will.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #130 on: August 23, 2021, 10:31:59 AM »
I think we should bite the bullet with Taiwan sooner rather than later. Send a couple carrier fleets along with forces from Japan and Australia to the area and have them formally declare independence and have everyone recognize it. Hong Kong shows you can't play the slow game with China. They will wait until the opportunity is ripe and strike. Better to put forward a show of force and make Taiwan's status to the world clear. If it doesn't happen soon it never will.

I don't think I would advocate instigating a war, for moral reasons.  But the pragmatic realistic assessment is that a war now with China would be better than a war later with China.   In 10 years our naval carrier groups would need to be huge to even think about entering the China Seas unless we can develop some snazzy new anti-ballistic missile technology like a shipboard laser system that can engage 1000 missiles in 1 minute.  I don't think that's possible.  That would limit our ability to assist Taiwan to initial strikes with SSNs and B-21s. 

Today we can win a conventional war with China over Taiwan given the ability to concentrate enough naval power in the Pacific and given there are no other naval wars going on anywhere else to prevent drawing from the Atlantic and Med.  We could destroy China's navy and air force and bases to the point that it would take them another 20 years to rebuild and get back to where they are now.   

yossarian22c

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #131 on: August 23, 2021, 10:50:40 AM »
I think we should bite the bullet with Taiwan sooner rather than later. Send a couple carrier fleets along with forces from Japan and Australia to the area and have them formally declare independence and have everyone recognize it. Hong Kong shows you can't play the slow game with China. They will wait until the opportunity is ripe and strike. Better to put forward a show of force and make Taiwan's status to the world clear. If it doesn't happen soon it never will.

I don't think I would advocate instigating a war, for moral reasons.  But the pragmatic realistic assessment is that a war now with China would be better than a war later with China.   In 10 years our naval carrier groups would need to be huge to even think about entering the China Seas unless we can develop some snazzy new anti-ballistic missile technology like a shipboard laser system that can engage 1000 missiles in 1 minute.  I don't think that's possible.  That would limit our ability to assist Taiwan to initial strikes with SSNs and B-21s. 

Today we can win a conventional war with China over Taiwan given the ability to concentrate enough naval power in the Pacific and given there are no other naval wars going on anywhere else to prevent drawing from the Atlantic and Med.  We could destroy China's navy and air force and bases to the point that it would take them another 20 years to rebuild and get back to where they are now.   

China is pragmatic. It may piss them off for independence to be declared and recognized they wouldn't start a war they couldn't win. We don't have to invade China, just have enough naval and air power in the area they can't launch an invasion. The result of Taiwan independence may be some kind of trade war, cyber strikes, closing of trade routes, etc. There would be significant fallout but I think it would be short of a shooting war. Like you said the same action in 10 years may yield a different result. In 50 years Taiwan may become another Hong Kong.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #132 on: August 23, 2021, 11:33:30 AM »

China is pragmatic. It may piss them off for independence to be declared and recognized they wouldn't start a war they couldn't win.

I just don't see a need to declare independence.  Taiwan already is independent and everybody knows it, including the PRC.  Declaring independence would likely start something that could have been easily avoided.  Deterrence is the best solution and deterrence depends on America being strategically ambiguous on the side of signaling a clear resolve to fight for Taiwan in the event of an invasion attempt.  It's not the best long term strategy because China will likely win the long strategic fight, and they know that.  But they like to test the waters.  They're showing some impatience, and the United States is showing fatigue at being the linchpin for world peace.   


TheDeamon

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #133 on: August 24, 2021, 01:32:44 AM »
I don't think I would advocate instigating a war, for moral reasons.  But the pragmatic realistic assessment is that a war now with China would be better than a war later with China.   In 10 years our naval carrier groups would need to be huge to even think about entering the China Seas unless we can develop some snazzy new anti-ballistic missile technology like a shipboard laser system that can engage 1000 missiles in 1 minute.  I don't think that's possible.  That would limit our ability to assist Taiwan to initial strikes with SSNs and B-21s.

Don't need snazzy new anti-ABM tech, just need increased range for the Carrier strike groups (MQ-25 is working on that), and cheaper, low-observable "bomb/missile trucks" to accompany the F-35's. Which the Air Force is working on with the "Sky Borg." (The Navy is standing up an MQ-25 squadron in a couple months, the Air Force has already flown a Sky Borg aircraft--estimated cost is to be about $16 million per plane).

The Army fielding some medium range ballistic missiles that can hit targets in mainland China from Okinawa and other parts of Japan, as well as possibly Guam is some thing that helps immensely too. We've already conducted live fire tests, and expect to be fielding them starting in 2023.

If China "starts anything" I'm sure those programs would be expanded and accelerated.

All that said, the United States probably wouldn't want any of their Carriers within about 1,000 miles of China's Mainland at the initiation of hostilities all the same. That's just tempting fate when they don't have a full picture of China's potential "kill chains" on the DF21/DF26.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #134 on: August 24, 2021, 02:24:08 AM »
Grant

 "Deterrence is the best solution..."

And that's the problem with what Biden just did in Afghanistan.

Now I'm curious. Did Biden make a deal with the Taliban that we're going to get out and stay out no matter what even if they take over the country and execute any members of the government they can catch like the Vice President who is still there and fighting them?

Why is the Taliban drawing red lines on our withdrawal with Biden kowtowing to them? Who is in charge?

I hate to be the one to say this but maybe we should just go back in, strong. Take out the Taliban now since they've put themselves out in the open. Start by cutting off their retreat so they don't make it back to the countryside and dig back in. Instead of the Taliban going door to door to find out who worked with the Americans to execute them or their family members left behind how about the Afghan people go village to village finding out who ever worked for or with or was a member of the Taliban and put them in prison for treason? First of course we'd negotiate with the Afghan President who is in hiding and with the Vice President who is getting surrounded and put under siege but is fighting back. If they both agree that they want our help and in exchange for giving us exclusive rights to develop their trillions of dollars in natural resources including rare earth metals, then we help them, for the rights of women and gays of course. Also of course we'd need a real declaration of war from our Congress with input from the American public. But put the option on the table,  fly it up the flagpole and see if the American and Afghan people salute.

The hit to our credibility could start a series of unfortunate events with the fall of Afghanistan being a very small domino but the first to begin the cascade. If China does attack Taiwan because of our perceived weakness, or heck even actual weakness as far as will goes, then whatever it would take to beat the Taliban right now would seem like a small price to pay compared to losing Taiwan or certainly even worse, saving it.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #135 on: August 24, 2021, 08:32:30 AM »
Grant

 "Deterrence is the best solution..."

And that's the problem with what Biden just did in Afghanistan.

Now I'm curious. Did Biden make a deal with the Taliban that we're going to get out and stay out no matter what even if they take over the country and execute any members of the government they can catch like the Vice President who is still there and fighting them?

The agreement that Trump made, and Biden followed, is that

1. If you ceasefire
2. Don't let terror groups into your country
3. Don't attack allies
4. We will leave

The rest is ambiguously written so the Taliban might think we would come back if they do anything against the agreement, but I think that it somewhat obvious at this point that the administration has no interest in returning to Afghanistan for any reason. There is nothing in there about guarantees or penalties or enforcement.  This was pointed out when Trump made the deal.  Public support is only rallying around getting people out.  Honestly, getting everybody who wants out out is cheaper and takes less time than going back into Afghanistan for 100 years.  I don't like the idea of leaving a-holes alive in charge of a country, it's inviting trouble, but there is nobody out there right now rallying for Afghanistan: The Sequel.

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Why is the Taliban drawing red lines on our withdrawal with Biden kowtowing to them? Who is in charge?

The Taliban is in charge.  They've taken most of the country.  They can do whatever they want because there is nobody there to stop them except a handful of troops trying to secure the airport. 

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I hate to be the one to say this but maybe we should just go back in, strong. Take out the Taliban now since they've put themselves out in the open. Start by cutting off their retreat so they don't make it back to the countryside and dig back in.

This would probably happen in a fantasy movie.  Aragorn or Lando gives a rousing speech and everybody who doesn't want to fight the Afghan Circumcision Party gets on board and shows up to save the day.   I mean, sure, it's the best time to do it if you like killing the popular conservatives of the Taliban.  They're out in the open.  Running victory laps.  Drop in the 82nd Airborne to surround Kabul.  101st secures Bagram.  10th Mountain secures outlying areas.  That's most of XIII Airborne Corps.  But then where are you?  Back at square one and you have the entire US Army rapid response capability tied up in Afghanistan, and god knows how much of the USAF Airlift Command tied up supplying them. 

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First of course we'd negotiate with the Afghan President who is in hiding and with the Vice President who is getting surrounded and put under siege but is fighting back.

All my best wishes to those still fighting, including the Vice President.  The President who ran off can go hang.  But honestly, I feel that the first problem of Afghanistan and Iraq, that created most of the problems, was treating both invasions as liberations and standing up independent governments as quickly as possible.  We should have treated both as occupations with the idea of staying there 50-100 years, and slowly giving power back to local government, like we did with the Philippines, Japan, or Germany.  The thing is that this would have created a whole new set of problems, including hardening armed resistance and painting us as the bad guys in the international community. 

It's all academic.  We're not going back.  I'd have a hard time supporting it unless I felt it was going to be done well.  We actually have a way to exit now while trying to get as many people who want out that we can.  I think that should be our #1 responsibility.  Helping anyone who wants out out and resettling them where they want.  This will create more problems, but it is the easiest right thing to do. 

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The hit to our credibility could start a series of unfortunate events with the fall of Afghanistan being a very small domino but the first to begin the cascade. If China does attack Taiwan because of our perceived weakness, or heck even actual weakness as far as will goes, then whatever it would take to beat the Taliban right now would seem like a small price to pay compared to losing Taiwan or certainly even worse, saving it.

I don't know.  I am curious to see what happens in the Biden administration.  This is their Bay of Pigs moment.  Because of the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy came back strong with the space program and Vietnam assistance.  Will the administration be looking for a way to reestablish credibility as a priority?  That might help make the right decision the next time something comes up.  Or will Biden continue American withdrawal from the world stage? 

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #136 on: August 24, 2021, 08:55:29 AM »
If they both agree that they want our help and in exchange for giving us exclusive rights to develop their trillions of dollars in natural resources including rare earth metals, then we help them, for the rights of women and gays of course.

This is the kind of mercenary thinking I'm not really pleased about when it comes to US involvement.  We should be helping Afghanistan because it is the right thing to do and because it is in America's interests, not because the government allows us to get our hands on their goodies. 

I have no problem letting American or NATO countries develop the natural resources, provided the Afghan government and people get a fair price for what we are digging up.  This would help the Afghan people as well.  Give them an economy not reliant on opium.  But the natural resources of Afghanistan belong to the Afghans and they shouldn't have to pay for our help with anything other than friendship and cooperation. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #137 on: August 24, 2021, 11:44:28 AM »
The hit to our credibility could start a series of unfortunate events with the fall of Afghanistan being a very small domino but the first to begin the cascade. If China does attack Taiwan because of our perceived weakness, or heck even actual weakness as far as will goes, then whatever it would take to beat the Taliban right now would seem like a small price to pay compared to losing Taiwan or certainly even worse, saving it.

Any time a foreign affairs analysis uses the word "domino," one should take a step back and double check one's reasoning. That metaphor has probably been responsible for more disasters and blow back than any other.

I also recall that historical research has shown that the Soviets or Chinese have never been particularly affected by events decried as displays of weakness. It's far more likely that opposition to the US will see the withdrawal from Afghanistan as the US finally coming to their senses rather than showing weakness.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 11:46:53 AM by NobleHunter »

rightleft22

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #138 on: August 24, 2021, 12:13:54 PM »
One thing I hope we don't forget is how wrong the experts being listened too tend to be, especially when it comes to dominoes and American credibility.
Funny how they are only correct in hindsight. Why were still listening to their analysis bogles the mind.

Dreamed of a butterfly but wouldn't stop trying to shape and pick at the cocoon.

Fenring

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #139 on: August 24, 2021, 12:19:51 PM »
Give them an economy not reliant on opium.

I doubt this was in fact in accordance with U.S. foreign policy goals while there.

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But the natural resources of Afghanistan belong to the Afghans and they shouldn't have to pay for our help with anything other than friendship and cooperation.

Boy, while this sounds ok on paper it certainly doesn't reflect the actual real-world functioning of the foreign policy of superpowers. No problem if it's your personal opinion, but I hope it's not an assessment of real history or of current priorities.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #140 on: August 24, 2021, 01:18:51 PM »
Boy, while this sounds ok on paper it certainly doesn't reflect the actual real-world functioning of the foreign policy of superpowers. No problem if it's your personal opinion, but I hope it's not an assessment of real history or of current priorities.

I'm not sure which superpowers you are referring to. 

Defining superpowers in history is an interesting exercise. 

I'd start with Spain, then a combo of GB and France, then add Germany, than the United States and USSR, now just the US with China trying to emerge. 

I personally don't give a F what the foreign policies of the European superpowers were up to 1945.  I personally don't think the foreign policy of the USSR is one to emulate.  If you're taking a shot at the foreign policy of the United States post 1942 you should be more specific, but I'm sure I'm going to disagree with your take on it.  I personally don't feel like getting another speech on how the shareholders of Chase Manhattan are running things.  Suffice to say that I don't agree with your view of recent history.  I'm still unsure where you have gathered your knowledge on the subject. 

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #141 on: August 24, 2021, 01:51:36 PM »
It's far more likely that opposition to the US will see the withdrawal from Afghanistan as the US finally coming to their senses rather than showing weakness.

LOL.  No.  Where on earth did you get that?  That's what YOU think, not the rest of the world. 

From Tony Saich:

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Chinese state media has been using the U.S. withdrawal to score propaganda points. It has highlighted the chaotic scenes that followed the initial withdrawal and this fits with the general narrative that the U.S. is in decline and is no longer a major global force.

Second, they have used this to stress that the U.S. is not a reliable ally and thus cannot be counted on. This has included indicating to Taiwan that there is no guarantee that the U.S. would provide support to the island in the future. Taiwan is on its own in the face of Beijing’s pressure.

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/08/tony-saich-on-chinas-reaction-to-the-talibans-takeover/

From NBC:

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State-controlled media said the rapid U.S. pullout should serve as a warning to the people of Taiwan: They shouldn't rely on U.S. protection in their long-running dispute with China.

Randy Phillips, a former CIA officer who worked in China, said: "There is no doubt that the Afghanistan debacle represents a major hit to U.S. credibility and will only further strengthen the belief in the Chinese leadership that the U.S. is a declining power and a paper tiger. The risk of miscalculation in the South China Sea just went way up."

Another state-owned newspaper compared the U.S. retreat to a 2019 movie called "A Dog's Way Home," which, perhaps not coincidentally, was airing Monday on Chinese state television.

"Taipei officials need to quietly mail-order a Five-Star Red Flag from the Chinese mainland," he tweeted, with a smiley-face emoji. "It will be useful one day when they surrender" to the Chinese army.

A separate Global Times editorial included an illustration of a bald eagle ushering Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen into a hole in the ground while examining what editors identified as America's history of turning its back on allies, including France after the Revolutionary War.

The Guardian:

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The president’s televised speech last Monday was truly shocking to non-Americans. His undeserved contempt for Afghan forces and obliviousness to the sacrifices of Nato allies smacked of arrogance and betrayal. His claim that nation-building was never a US aim was grotesquely untrue. “Afghanistan was the ultimate nation-building mission,” George W Bush wrote in his 2010 memoir, Decision Points. “We had a moral obligation to leave behind something better.” Hear that, Joe?

The enemies of democracy have been strengthened. There’s no doubt Afghans are paying a terrible price.
Yet it was Biden’s apparent repudiation of the traditional US leadership role that rocked British and European establishments. “Endless military deployments of US forces” in overseas conflicts were not in the national interest, he declared. Afghanistan was solely about defending the “homeland”. For those raised in a world defined by American power and ringed by its permanent bases, this was stunning.

Armin Laschet, Angela Merkel’s choice to succeed her as Germany’s chancellor, called the withdrawal “the biggest debacle Nato has suffered since its founding”. Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, an Afghan war veteran, decried “Britain’s biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez” – another fiasco, incidentally, to which the US contributed.

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The North Atlantic measurably widened last week. The more Joe Biden tried to shift blame for the Afghan chaos, the bigger the gulf with America’s UK and European allies grew. This US president, who preaches the virtues of multilateralism yet acted on his own, has done more in a few weeks to undermine the western alliance than Donald Trump ever did with all his bluster.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/21/after-afghanistan-the-pax-americana-is-over-as-is-nato-about-time-too

Ouch.  For all Trump's idiocy.  All the badmouthing of NATO allies.  All the sucking up to dictators and Pooter.  Despite the fact that it was his plan Biden was following.  Biden is seen as worse than Trump.  That's quite an accomplishment.

So yeah, they're not all basking in the wisdom of America. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #142 on: August 24, 2021, 01:57:28 PM »
I wouldn't assume China's propaganda is what they're actually thinking. Of course China is going to use any crisis to attempt to weaken US influence. That's no reason not to pull your junk out of the meat grinder.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #143 on: August 24, 2021, 02:05:10 PM »
That's no reason not to pull your junk out of the meat grinder.

America's pecker is 1008 cold rolled carbon steel.  Make that grinder look like Robocop after meeting ED 209. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #144 on: August 24, 2021, 02:30:23 PM »
Lovely imagery but that doesn't really reflect the truth of a lot of America's military adventures.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #145 on: August 24, 2021, 02:43:54 PM »
Grant

"But the natural resources of Afghanistan belong to the Afghans and they shouldn't have to pay for our help with anything other than friendship and cooperation."

If we want to help some needy people out of the goodness of our hearts we could just help Haiti. At least it wouldn't bankrupt us. Beating the Taliban without getting financially compensated would put us further into debt that we already can't afford. Plus, money buys defense, as in private military contractors. Setting up the industry of mineral extraction along with that paying for the security forces that come with it would go a long way toward reigning in the Taliban, giving them hardened targets to strike and expose themselves to our military coordinating with pmcs.

And if we did take their resources of course they'd get a very fair cut that would help out their people and economy a lot more than they're being helped now just leaving it all in the ground.

Another play would be to let Russia and China also develop some of those resources with the permission of the Afghan government. Not just permission but invitation. Yes the Taliban beat the Russians. The Taliban beat the Americans. Maybe the Taliban could beat the Chinese too. But there's no way they could beat all three of us. And throw the British in for good measure.

And we know what we'd be fighting for too. We know what our objective would be. It would be to stop the pedophile cult called the Taliban from raping little 12 year old girls and forcing them into a life of sex slavery as future human bomb incubators.

Of course all of this would be predicated on a number of conditions any one of which could and should derail it. Maybe the Afghan government and people don't want us back and would rather live under the Taliban than have us certainly get a lot of the people we're there to save killed as collateral damage and human shields behind which the Taliban will be hiding. The American people may not support going back in there even if it is to "save the children". Congress may not be willing to do things properly and formally declare war against the Taliban and ISIS and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. People will talk about how much they care about human rights and women's rights and how much they oppose sex slavery but when it's time to put it on the line to stop those things they aren't willing to step up. And it doesn't help that it looks like there are multiples more able bodied males trying to cut and run from Afghanistan than there are Taliban fighters. I'm sure there are plenty of brave Afghanis but when there are this many cowards it starts getting difficult to justify trying to save them.

Well it's all just kind of a thought experiment anyway. It's not going to happen and that country is probably doomed. The best we can hope for, or pray for, is that the Taliban mellows out a little bit this time around but so far their talk along those lines isn't matching their actions.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #146 on: August 24, 2021, 02:53:07 PM »
Didn't Trump call of the earlier withdrawal timetable precisely because the Taliban started acting up and killing Americans?

My understanding was under Trump our withdrawal was conditional on the Taliban behaving themselves. Biden changed that dynamic and made it clear that ours was now an unconditional surrender.

Of course the Taliban are playing it smarter this time around by so far not killing Americans.

Maybe Trump would be doing the same thing as Biden but there's probably an even chance that as the Taliban started their brazen and successful attacks Trump would have reverted to his usual position of "bomb the stuffing out of them."

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #147 on: August 24, 2021, 03:02:25 PM »

If we want to help some needy people out of the goodness of our hearts we could just help Haiti. At least it wouldn't bankrupt us.

We do help Haiti.  Billions of dollars worth of aid.  But Haiti doesn't have a bunch of people running around killing people or engaged in terrorist activities.  Haiti doesn't need the US Army.  Afghanistan did.  And I really don't think that Afghanistan has bankrupted the United States.  The US government just happens to spend more than it brings in with taxes.  That's not bankruptcy.  That's relying on your credit card too much.  When we get to the day where we can't pay our debt, then we can talk about bankruptcy. 

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private military contractors

Mercenaries.  I would think the lessons of renaissance Italy would be poignant here. 

Look, I would be all for it as long as American companies are paying the Afghans fair market prices for whatever they're getting, and not demanding resources for free.  But it's all academic.  It's not going to happen either way. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #148 on: August 24, 2021, 03:05:03 PM »
Didn't Trump call of the earlier withdrawal timetable precisely because the Taliban started acting up and killing Americans?

My understanding was under Trump our withdrawal was conditional on the Taliban behaving themselves. Biden changed that dynamic and made it clear that ours was now an unconditional surrender.

Of course the Taliban are playing it smarter this time around by so far not killing Americans.

Maybe Trump would be doing the same thing as Biden but there's probably an even chance that as the Taliban started their brazen and successful attacks Trump would have reverted to his usual position of "bomb the stuffing out of them."

Trump's idea of the Taliban behaving themselves was the Taliban assuring Trump everything was fine while Trump ignored that the Taliban was doing whatever they wanted.

There's no way Trump would have walked away from yet another blown deal. He'd have continued his "see no evil" approach even after Kabul fell.

Grant

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Re: Afghanistan
« Reply #149 on: August 24, 2021, 03:05:41 PM »
Lovely imagery but that doesn't really reflect the truth of a lot of America's military adventures.

The truth of American military involvements is that they do not fail due to lack of pecker tensile strength.  They fail due to a lack of testicular mass and fortitude. 

Oh, and American domestic politics.