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As I write this, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley are on Capitol Hill testifying about the Afghan debacle and, in the process, using the last vestiges of their reputations as toilet tissue.
Only now is the full scope of the stupidity and incompetence of our last days in Afghanistan…and first days out of Afghanistan…becoming known. Hundreds of millions of dollars in usable military equipment was left behind. Afghan interpreters and other allies were abandoned and are being hunted down. American passport holders and resident aliens we left behind. The Afghan women who’d believed the diversity hyped by the US State Department and our own Armed Forces and served as soldiers, police officers, and judges are now targets for extermination.
Thirteen young Americans, some of whom were infants when the first US troops set foot in Afghanistan, died because of a callous political decision that made them vulnerable to attack. A local aid worker was targeted for death by a US drone attack for what appears to be no greater reason than trying to make Soft Serve Joe look tough. A female US soldier was “assaulted” by a “group of male Afghan refugees” at Fort Bliss, TX. One Afghan refugee at Fort McCoy, WI, has been charged with several counts of child sex abuse involving multiple children; another refugee at the same installation has been charged with domestic violence (I don’t know if he was charged because the violence exceeded that normal in Afghanistan or because it violated US standards). Another Afghan who’d served part of a prison term for forcible rape before being deported managed to catch a lift back to the US.
Human suffering aside, there are the security implications that are still reverberating around the globe, as allies have started looking over their shoulders and wondering just how useful our security guarantees will be in the future. And there is a valid concern that al-Qaeda will once again occupy training camps in Afghanistan.
As to the latter concern, we’ve been told repeatedly that the solution is an “over the horizon” presence that allows us to surveil Afghanistan, and identify and eliminate threats by way of air assets based at a substantial distance from Afghanistan, generally in Qatar and the UAE. This limits the amount of time those assets can spend over the target area and relies upon compliant countries to give us overflight privileges.
Now, we’re told that a fix is in the works, and our White Knight is none other than Vladimir Putin.
The Pentagon’s top military officer discussed with his Russian counterpart an apparent offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his military’s bases in Central Asia to respond to any emerging terrorist threats in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, raised the subject at the request of President Biden’s National Security Council staff in his meeting last Wednesday with Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, the U.S. officials said.
Gen. Gerasimov was noncommittal during the Helsinki meeting, the U.S. officials said. A Kremlin spokesman declined to comment.
Last week’s discussion between the top U.S. and Russian military officers had its roots in the June 16 summit meeting in Geneva between Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin floated the idea of hosting U.S. military personnel on Russian bases, according to U.S. officials and the Russian newspaper Kommersant.
The Bible has a verse that describes this perfectly…John 11:35.
But wait, there’s more.
“Some members of Congress remain suspicious of Moscow’s motives.”
Okay. I feel better now.
The “over the horizon” crap is a political slogan, not a military strategy. It is just word salad that Biden and his staff are tossing about trying to make it look like they have this mess under control. It can work if we have the backing of an extensive and trustworthy intelligence network inside Afghanistan, or if the Taliban government pursues the course of enlightened self-interest by suppressing international terrorism as a way of gaining diplomatic recognition and access to foreign aid. Neither of those seems all that likely.
As demeaning as it is, the idea of the Biden bunch going hat-in-hand to Vladimir Putin to beg for drone bases in Central Asia has a certain element of dark humor about it. These are the people who made Putin a super-villain to attack Trump. And I literally mean “made,” as the first indictment by Russia Hoax Special Counsel John Durham shows that Trump’s alleged ties to Russia were manufactured and spread by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Them groveling before Putin for a favor is something that should be on an HBO PPV special.
Unfortunately, the bottom line here is that the Biden White House has lost, if it ever had, the ability to shape events. US citizens and friendly foreign nationals are abandoned. Allies are scared stiff. Innocent people are killed to serve as an MSNBC talking point, Violent people are imported to the US in unprecedented numbers. And the Biden White House has to acknowledge Central Asia as a Russian fiefdom and play drop-the-soap with Putin. Being the optimist that I am, I will also predict that things will get much, much worse and a year from now, we’ll look back at this nonsense with a sense of disbelief that we were ever concerned about it.