A US Air Force intelligence officer assigned to monitor Taliban communications in support of our troops wrote both an inspiring and sobering account of what he learned about them and Afghanistan during his tours of duty. We are all lucky to have military members with the dedication, skill and courage this author showed during his service there.
The Taliban inherit mineral wealth worth trillions of dollars. In particular, Afghanistan has been called the Saudi Arabia of lithium, an essential element of batteries and other renewable energy sources. We may have to accept the Taliban and their radical Islam in order to meet the ambitious clean energy goals of the Biden Administration. Otherwise, China and Russia will end up controlling the lithium reserves and require us to buy from them, endangering our broader national security.
The forever war in Iraq is now close to officially ending. A bipartisan bill to repeal both the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) has cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and may have the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate. The bill has previously passed the House. Now we must repeal the 2001 AUMF that authorized not just the war in Afghanistan, but also the ill-conceived “War on Terror” that spawned American military interventions across the globe.
Chinese Purchase of American Farms
This article from the American Conservative magazine tells how the Chinese are taking advantage of the decline of the family farm to buy up American farmland and agricultural assets. It is one more example of the monopolization of our food production. A bill has been filed in Congress to stop any further sales of farmland to China and prohibit currently-owned Chinese farms from receiving farm subsidies. It should be passed as soon as possible.
Wall Street’s Buying up of Single Family Homes
The owner-occupied home has been the bedrock of the American family for generations. However, Wall Street investment firms are now using their financial clout to buy up single-family homes as rental properties. It is one of the drivers of high home prices. We should be using our antitrust and federal tax laws to discourage their use of financial market power to monopolize the American Dream.
Prof. Stephen Walt of Harvard University is a leading advocate of the realist theory of international relations that I believe should replace liberal hegemony as the basis for our foreign policy (see this post). Here he gives faint praise to nationalism for its natural ability to unify societies to face challenges like the pandemic. Maybe he had to temper his support to avoid problems with his globalist colleagues.
President Biden’s announcement of our withdrawal from Afghanistan by September is correct for the simple reason that we achieved our objective of defeating Al Qaeda and killing Osama Bin Laden, as I previously argued. Even if the Taliban regain power, we can control any threat through immigration, trade and other sanctions.
Meanwhile, this article raises the possibility that China and Russia would coordinate attacks on Taiwan and Ukraine. However, it also argues against American military intervention in either war.
USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group in South China Sea
We still need to show that the US will defend our interests and allies in Asia. Thus, the USS Theodore Roosevelt is currently executing a Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea to challenge China’s militarization of this shipping lane in clear violation of international law.
When I was in China, the Shanghai Admiralty Court trumpeted the fact that China had signed the International Law of the Sea Treaty in contrast to the US. Chinese militarization of the South China Sea in clear violation of the treaty shows, as this article says, we live in a world of great power rivalry and not the globalist dream of a rules-based order.