REMEMBER when Joe Biden was installed as President of the United States? Remember all the thrills and ”hosannas” from the liberal Left?
At last America had done the right thing, they said. They had got rid of the evil Trump and returned to the path of righteousness. Now all would be well again.
“America is back,” was what Biden himself told the world, in typically boastful fashion. Well it’s not looking so good this week.
Biden’s decision to speed up the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan has led to the collapse of the Afghan government and army.
The Taliban has now taken back the whole country, including capital Kabul. And Biden caused all this without even bothering to evacuate all the local citizens who had aided the Americans during their two decades in the country.
The footage now coming out of the country is gut-wrenching. Desperate Afghans trying to get on planes. Clinging to the sides, and in some cases falling to their deaths as the planes soar away. But the pictures to come will be far worse.
The Afghan people will now be forced to live again under the Taliban. A group usually called “medieval” but which gives the medieval era a bad name.
Whatever they may spout now about respecting equality and letting women be part of the country’s future, these leopards won’t change their spots. Afghanistan’s women will soon enough be put back under the veil. Girls will be once again forbidden an education.
While there was good reason to keep American presence in Afghanistan to a minimum, there was no need to withdraw all forces completely.
And anyone who is identified as a member of a religious or sexual minority can expect to be treated in the traditional fashion. Execution by a variety of means.
America and her allies should brace for a steady stream of depressing news and images. But it is no good trying to deflect the blame. If this had happened under Donald Trump, the global Left would be putting this fiasco directly at his door.
They would say it was the consequence of stupidity, ignorance and worse. At present, parts of the American Left are still trying not to come to the same conclusion about the actions of “their guy”.
The main left-wing paper in America has said that Biden’s decision to withdraw took “courage and wisdom”. They would never have said that had these scenes from Afghanistan occurred on his predecessor’s watch.
But Biden will have to own this. And his supporters will, too.
Because while there was good reason to keep American presence in Afghanistan to a minimum, there was no need to withdraw all forces completely. Let alone to do it at such a speed.
It is true that after all the money and years spent trying to train the Afghan army they should have been able to withstand their first major encounter.
But we must remember that one of the major questions in battle is always: “Who has got your back?”
For the last two decades the Afghan government and army knew that America and her allies had their backs. The Taliban are well entrenched in Afghanistan and everybody knew that they were biding their time. Once America withdrew completely, the Afghan government and army no longer had support.
And they were facing an enemy that plays by none of the rules that are meant to govern conflict. Already there are stories of the Taliban executing scores of people associated with the Afghan army.
There are tales of them mutilating those who co-operated with the Americans and hanging their bodies for all to see.
In such a situation there are both local and global lessons to draw. The local ones will be complex and bitter. But the global ones will be straightforward.
The enemies of America will now be able to say — with great conviction — that if America says it has your back, it is lying. It will say that America and her allies like Britain are bad friends and meaningless allies.
In future, when America promises something, including friendship, these international competitors will say there is no point in being on America’s side.
The President is just half a year into his term in office. And America has rarely looked weaker or more vulnerable on the world stage.
Countries such as Russia and China will be able to say, “Just remember the scenes from Kabul airport. Remember the people turned away from the planes, desperately hoping to cling on.”
These images — broadcast 24/7 around the entire world — will stay in all of our minds, but they will be weaponised by our opponents in the most cynical ways.
When he came to office, Biden pretended that the years of Trump’s presidency had been years of American weakness. He pretended that America’s alliances had been frayed and her enemies emboldened.
It is true that Trump often appeared not to know what he was doing. But every one of the claims made against him has been proved many times more accurate in relation to his successor.
Biden’s appeal to the US electorate was that he was business as usual. A seasoned, experienced hand who would not make rookie mistakes. All that has now been exposed as meaningless bluster.
The President is just half a year into his term in office. And America has rarely looked weaker or more vulnerable on the world stage. Its armed forces have been fought to a defeat by a ragtag army of warlords.
Its political leaders are trying to defend actions which are indefensible.
It would be one thing if they had been cynics all along. But Biden and his administration presented themselves as something else.
They pretended to be great idealists, on a higher and better plane than everybody else. Just one more thing that has flown away this week.
WHY LET TALIBAN TWEET?
SPEAKING of the Taliban, how wonderful it is that we can still hear from them directly thanks to the generosity of social media platforms like Twitter.
The Taliban’s official spokesman has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter.
From there he can enlighten us all about the group’s latest thinking and activities. This is the same Twitter of course that has barred the former US President Donald Trump.
The company’s statement defending that in January said that users “cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things”.
So the Taliban ought to be careful how they use their platform. I’m sure they’d hate to lose their accounts.
In the meantime, the double standards of the big tech companies have rarely been easier to see.
AUSSIE MASKS MORON
HOW do you drink through a face mask? That is a question the citizens of Victoria, Australia, are pondering today after a bizarre announcement from their premier.
That man, Dan Andrews, seems to be competing with other Australian leaders to be the most pro-mask person on the planet.
The fact that some Aussies are trying to return to life as normal does not sit well with people like Premier Andrews.
He is clearly infuriated that his fellow countrymen still want the right to raise a pint out of doors. And so in a strange, chin-wobbling announcement, he gave them a strict telling-off.
He seems to want to punish his citizens. Threatening them with ever more absurd measures until he gets his way of having zero Covid cases until the end of time.
So he said in his announcement: “There will be no removal of masks to consume alcohol outdoors. You will no longer be able to remove your mask to drink a cocktail at a pop-up beer garden on a footpath as part of a pub crawl.”
He spat out these words with sarcasm, as if wanting to have a drink outdoors was some unheard-of pursuit. Something that no Australian should ever think of doing. The Australians I know feel rather differently about that.
Of course, Mr Andrews said all this at an indoors press conference where he was not wearing a mask. But as he tried to issue his strict telling-off, I would have liked to ask him a question. “Can you show us how it is done?”
In fact I’d be happy to buy him a pint and ask him to give us all a demonstration there and then. To show us how the happy citizens of Australia are meant to consume their bevvies from now on. It could hardly have made him look any more ridiculous than he already does.
‘Clever’ Lily not that bright
MODEL Lily Cole has apologised after a social media blunder. Just as the Taliban were overrunning Afghanistan, Cole posted a picture of herself in a burka.
The cause was the release of her new book on climate change. Because the world always needs to hear more from models and actresses on how to run the planet.
The picture was accompanied by a call to embrace “diversity”. The problem is that not all “diversity” is a good thing. Perhaps, from her grand house in Sussex, Cole thinks of the burka as a great symbol of ever greater diversity.
But for many women in Afghanistan, it is a garment that is forced upon them. Personally, I am getting fed up with the stupidity of “clever” people like Cole. She studied at Cambridge University.
She is a highly educated, very privileged woman – albeit one who apparently doesn’t “read the news”, as she revealed in her cringeworthy apology yesterday.
But she HAS absorbed all the stupid, delusional dogmas of our time. I’d like to see those dogmas given a rest. A couple of months ago, the US embassy in Kabul flew the rainbow LGBT flag to celebrate Pride Month.
That flag isn’t flying now. In the same way, in Sussex you can play around with a burka for a photoshoot. In Afghanistan, it’s not a game.
It is time our elites came back down to planet Earth. Perhaps then they can tell us how to run it.