The title of today’s article is a portmanteau; a “combination” of two words to coin a new one. The words are Afghanistan and scam. (If you learned a new word you are not alone. I needed the help of a brilliant friend to come up with portmanteau.) On Thanksgiving Day, in desperate need of a distraction that he could portray as a victory, President Trump announced peace talks with the Taliban on a trip to Afghanistan. It was a scam. Let’s explore.
America is rapidly closing in on twenty years of military involvement in Afghanistan. One thing almost all Americans agree on is that we would like to be out of there. Despite his attempt to make us think he is, Trump is no closer than on the day he entered the Oval Office to accomplishing that goal; let alone in an honorable and sensible way.
Soon after Trump’s announcement word leaked from both the Taliban and the Afghan government that they had no idea what Trump was talking about. That is because as usual he just made something up that sounded good in the moment. In other words, it was a lie (or if you prefer a scam).
Soon thereafter the Taliban said it would be willing to negotiate with Trump. I understand their reasoning. Any terrorist organization would like to have the United States treat it like a peer. That in itself is a win.
Also, looking at Trump’s track record of negotiating who wouldn’t want to negotiate with him? He gave several concessions (above and beyond the “peer recognition”) to North Korea’s Kim Jung-un and received nothing in exchange.
Let’s also look at the facts on the ground in Afghanistan. The Afghan government is little more than a puppet government we installed and prop up. Afghanistan is about 252,000 square miles. That is basically the size of the state of Texas minus Vermont. The only area the Afghan government controls is the capital city of Kabul.
The Taliban will be happy to negotiate the exiting of Americans from Afghanistan. In exchange they will give some promise to behave. Trump will declare victory and thrill his base by bringing our troops home. The Taliban will use the “rest period” to replenish supplies and preposition military assets for an attack on the Afghan military which will not be much of an opponent. Any progress we made in our long commitment to Afghanistan will vanish in a matter of months.
If you are questioning what the Afghan government’s role will be in the peace talks basically they will do what Trump tells them to do. They are powerless without U.S. support and Trump controls those purse strings at the moment.
In the process I’m certain the xenophobic Trump administration will play Ugly American leaving behind those Afghans who aided us over the years to the hands of the Taliban’s version of justice.
Like the vast majority of Americans, I want out of Afghanistan but the situation somewhat resembles Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn Theory – you break it, you bought it. The reason we went into Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 was to prevent it from being a safe haven for terrorists. If we unconditionally leave it to the Taliban in short order Afghanistan will revert into a safe haven and base of operations for terrorists whose operations will reach out far beyond its borders.
I don’t have the answer but I know Afghaniscam is not it!
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