Peace Talks Off
President Trump called off peace talks with the Taliban in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed 12, including one American soldier. In a series of tweets over the weekend, the president revealed plans for a meeting at Camp David, writing:
Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday…
Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, [the Taliban] admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great, great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations…
If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks … then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?
The president has supporters who are happy he called off the Camp David meeting and he has supporters who are concerned about this development because they think it is time to get out of Afghanistan. I understand both perspectives.
On one hand, the Taliban is not defeated. It appears that the Afghan military, after 18 years, is still not capable of standing on its own and finishing the job. One analysis estimates that there are as many as 60,000 Taliban fighters who may control roughly 45% of the country.
It is more than likely that after whatever peace deal is made, the Taliban and other bad actors would step up their attacks. It is also possible that the Afghan government would fall or continue to lose control of major parts of the country.
On the other hand, we’ve been there 18 years. We’ve lost more than 2,300 American heroes. We’ve spent at least $800 billion there. I don’t see any reason to believe that the 14,000 American troops currently stationed in Afghanistan are going to win this war.
Those glad we called off the talks argue that we haven’t won yet. But the path we’re on is not a path to victory. Would 100,000 troops be able to win? We had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan nine years ago and did not secure victory then.
The Soviet Union deployed 125,000 troops to Afghanistan and could not subdue the country after 10 years of war. Would 300,000 U.S. troops be enough?
We have not decisively won a war since World War II. Even in that war, many of the countries we liberated were swallowed behind the Iron Curtain of Soviet communism. Today, American governments and the American people often appear not to have the will do the things that had to be done to win World War II.
Faced with studies predicting half a million casualties or more, Harry Truman made the decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan to win the war. We forced the Japanese emperor to go on national radio and renounce his claim of divinity. In other words, we crushed the Japanese will to fight on.
America has some hard thinking to do about whether we are ever willing to make such hard decisions to win a war again.
Sanders, Sarsour, & Sanford
Progressive activist and Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour endorsed Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders for president this weekend.
It’s one thing if a bigot endorses you. You can reject the endorsement, but from what we can tell, Sanders sought her support and has made her a surrogate for his campaign.
I use the word bigot with no hesitation. Linda Sarsour is an Islamic supremacist and an anti-Semite. She has repeatedly refused to repudiate Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
She has made outlandish statements like suggesting that feminism demands support for the Palestinians. The only place in the Middle East where a feminist will be comfortable is Israel. There are no feminist marches in Gaza or the West Bank.
Sarsour’s endorsement of Sanders is disgusting, but hardly surprising. Bernie Sanders has repeatedly threatened to cut off aid to Israel, including in response to Israel denying entry to anti-Semites Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Sanders and Sarsour are the face of the progressive movement today, and that is bad news for the Democrat Party whether he gets the nomination or not.
Meanwhile, CBS News released new polling yesterday showing the Democrat presidential contest remains a three-way race between Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. But Warren is clearly gaining momentum. In fact, CBS estimates that Warren is significantly ahead of Sanders and nipping at Biden’s heels in the delegate count.
Lastly, former South Carolina Congressman and Gov. Mark Sanford announced Sunday that he is jumping into the GOP primary against President Trump. Sanford joins former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh in the GOP primary contest.
The president welcomed Sanford to the race yesterday, tweeting, “The Three Stooges, all badly failed candidates, will give it a go!”
I don’t think Trump has anything to worry about. According to one recent poll, he enjoys an 89% favorability rating among Republicans.