ANALYSIS – As has been noted even in establishment venues, including The Washington Post and others, President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan was probably the worst possible way to disengage the few remaining U.S. troops and American presence in that critical country. The covert, late-night evacuation from Bagram Air Base was beyond humiliating, and insulting – it was reprehensible.
And the emboldened Taliban and demoralized free Afghans are reacting accordingly. The Taliban is surging, and many free Afghans are reeling or fleeing. Without U.S. air support or contractors, the collapse of America’s 20-year-old ally may only be months away.
The U.S. wasn’t kicked out of Afghanistan – Biden simply surrendered in the most cowardly fashion imaginable. And yes, if President Trump had done the same thing, as he had stated he wanted to, I would be saying the exact same thing.
Earlier I wrote how CCP China might take advantage of this sudden and vast new power vacuum created by Biden in Central Asia using various means such as the United Nations or Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). But also, by using the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to gain control of the country economically.
In similar vein, Mark Almond, director of the Crisis Research Institute at Oxford University, provides some excellent insights in his piece for the Daily Mail titled, “Days after we leave Afghanistan, China is moving in to gain a direct route to the riches of the Middle East. And with billions in their war chest, where will their ambitions end?” He notes:
In a development that should strike fear through Western capitals, Beijing scents [senses] an unrivalled opportunity to extend its influence in the region and gain strategic territorial and economic advantage that could rewrite the geopolitical map in its favour.
Indeed, for President Xi Jinping’s Marxist government, Afghanistan is a prize beyond measure. It offers a portal through which Chinese military could access the Arabian Sea, via Iran or Pakistan.
And the war-torn country could provide two other things China desperately wants: overland access to Iran and the Middle East, and a route to the Indian Ocean and on to Africa.
Almond adds: “Beijing is confident that it can succeed where Whitehall, the Kremlin and the White House have failed over the centuries, for the simple reason that it is not interested in transforming Afghan society. It has learned from the mistakes of the Russian communists. Chinese communists have no desire to remake Afghanistan (or anywhere else) in their own image.” He continues:
Nor will its goals be achieved by brute force; President Xi has a far smarter plan. When the Kremlin occupied Afghanistan in 1979, it saw it as a stepping stone to dominating the oil-rich Middle East, but Soviet communism had little to offer compared with the wealth of modern China.
Xi prefers to use financial muscle as much as the threat of military power and, if reports that Beijing is prepared to invest $62 billion in Afghanistan are true, it is following a blueprint perfected in many countries from Malaysia to Montenegro.
Under a policy known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), vast loans are offered to cash-strapped countries for infrastructure projects. In return, China gains access to new trade routes and ports, as well as banking hefty interest payments on its investment.
… In return for its largesse, China will also expect the Taliban to ignore the ‘genocidal’ oppression of their fellow Muslims, the 12 million Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province, which sits close to the Afghan and Pakistani borders.
…China sees Afghanistan — even with the Taliban back — as one of the most crucial squares on the chessboard of world politics. And like a chess grandmaster, President Xi Jinping isn’t planning for a quick checkmate.
Almond concludes what I also fear – “that historians will look back at what is happening now and see that China did indeed learn the lessons of history. Where Britain, Russia and America have failed, it may yet triumph, gaining the influence it seeks without paying the same terrible price in blood.”