22 Aug Mark Steyn: Meltdown of a Superpower
Meltdown of a Superpower
A week after the Fall of Kabul, the flailing hegemon continues to embarrass itself:
America’s official deadline for total withdrawal from Afghanistan is August 31st, so half the remaining time has already elapsed, and in that time, according to the Department of Defense, it has evacuated just 2,500 Americans – or about 350 per day. That seems an under-performance – or, as The New York Post‘s front-page headline distills it, “DUMKIRK”.
The soi-disant “superpower” now resembles one of those stories you see from time to time on Eyewitness News: the 700-lb bedridden guy unable to get up, even to go to hospital, and requiring the fire department to slice off the upper wall of the house just to winch him out of there. The inability of Lloyd Austin, Thoroughly Modern Milley, Tailspin Taylor and the other beribboned buffoons of the Potemtagon to adapt swiftly and effectively to ground conditions that are changing hour by hour is as telling as anything.
It is not just that General Milley and the Joint Buffoons of Staff cannot plan; they cannot execute. Compare the 2,500 Americans evacuated from Kabul over this last week to the 7,000 Americans and allies choppered out of Saigon in just nineteen hours. Can Milley do anything in nineteen hours other than call his tailor and order up his next row of ribbonry?
The Taliban know an American humiliation when they see one, and for the moment they’re content to let Austin and Milley and the rest of Washington’s worthless elite dig deeper. Aside from that, the mullahs are waggish enough to tease western media with hints of a “broad-based government”, although we all know that in the end the broad-based government won’t be based on broads. Other than that, the Sharia crowd confine any direct engagement with the Great Loser Satan to social media trolling, such as recreating (in American uniforms left at Bagram or elsewhere) Iwo Jima with the Taliban flag (top right).
Funnier than Colbert and Fallon and the other court eunuchs, but who isn’t? And once again you get the feeling that these guys know us rather better than all the Ivy League tosspots of the world’s most ludicrous “elite” know them. On the subject of which, see the Tweeted video of the brother of Afghanistan’s president (the guy who fled with 169 mil in American tax dollars) joining the Taliban.
Enjoy it while you can: the big beards are not going to audition for Comedy Central indefinitely. Having won a spectacular victory, the beneficiaries of two decades of American “nation-building” will at some point want their international airport back.
This is a human tragedy for those desperate to flee Afghanistan. But, as I’ve said repeatedly, for everyone else this is a story about America. We like to think of our site as a big-picture pad, so what would that be in this scenario? Well, the big picture is that, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States blew its unipolar moment and has chosen to surrender the world, after half-a-millennium, to post-western dominance. Whatever the truth of Biden’s charge that the money-no-object Afghan National Army went over to the other side, there is no question that key elements of American national power have gone over to China’s side: the Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood, the NBA, not to mention the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s protectors at the CDC and NIH; oh, and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, at least two of whom have checked out with respect to anything to do with China…
Beijing has won without firing a shot, which is the way to do it. They have no desire to occupy Afghanistan or to prioritize (as did Washington, confusing the Great Game with the Gay Games) Pride Month in Kandahar. Your average goatherd will barely notice the ChiComs’ presence, except insofar as the best tables at the only Michelin restaurant in Spin Boldak seem to go to the visiting Chinamen. But, an hour south of Kabul, Chinese development of the world’s second largest copper mine will proceed apace. We were there for two decades, but all the lithium will go to Chairman Xi, just in case you thought the Chinese didn’t have a tight enough hammerlock on the world’s batteries, without which all your high-tech toys are novelty paperweights and doorstops.
After the US abandonment of Bagram air base, the Germans began moving their people out last month, quietly and without fanfare. Also in July, Mullah Baradar, the Taliban honcho now back in Kabul, flew to China to meet with Xi’s Foreign Minister. And the government of Greece (which no German or Scandinavian would consider a functioning administration) somehow managed to anticipate a looming Afghan migrant tide and construct and complete a border fence with Turkey, in order to prevent another 2016 “refugee” stampede.
Everyone – Greeks, Germans, Chinese – knew where this was headed (and very quickly) …everyone except the decadent, decayed hyperpower in nominal control of the timeline.
On Friday the chump who serves as US Defense Secretary was asked why his US troops at Kabul Airport couldn’t do (as the French, British and others are doing) and fan out into Kabul and surrounding provinces and extract their nationals. Mr Austin replied that American forces don’t have “the capability” – and, as a hack lobbyist formerly on the board of Raytheon, he should know.
But what exactly does America have “the capability” to do? The “Special Immigrant Visa” for loyal Afghans who made the mistake of trusting the infidel takes two years to process. What’s so “special” about that? Well, the regular visas take five-to-ten years. Impressive as the government’s comparative SIV urgency is, if you’re in Jalalabad and your application isn’t already in the mail, you’ll find it quicker to bicycle over the Khyber, take a rusting steam packet from Karachi to Mexico and use the Rio Grande express check-in.
Which is what will happen. The implosion in Afghanistan and the dissolution of America’s southern border will converge, and thousands of excitable young Mohammedans will wind up in the Lower Forty-Eight – while the few actual loyal Afghan support staff get stuck back in Kabul to be beheaded on jihadist snuff videos.
Why cannot the great flabby leviathan rouse itself? Why do French paratroopers have the “capability” and not their more lavishly funded Yank counterparts? Why can the Greeks build a border wall in a month but in America a winning presidential candidate can merely campaign on it for a year and a half and then get screwed over by his own corrupt donor-beholden party leaders?
Last week I was chided by a couple of commenters for not proposing “solutions”. The solutions are being enacted by everybody else, in the face of a crapped-over superpower’s meltdown:
~The soi-dissant Euro-pussies leave the airport every hour, go out and get their people, bring them back to “Hamid Karzai International” and fly them home – and by “home” I don’t mean the now overflowing “processing” center in Qatar: Every day the BBC shows flights from Afghanistan landing back at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
~Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria build border barriers; America’s “conservative” party thinks border chaos in a pandemic is a fundraising opportunity, and, after raking in the dough, they’ll do nothing.
For what’s happening right now, that’s “solution” enough: be France, be Greece, be Poland – and yeah, such comparisons are totally embarrassing for America, but not as embarrassing as Austin and Blinken and Milley explaining why they have no “capability”.
Yeah, yeah, I know… Somewhere across the fruited plain a transgender Hispanic is shattering a glass ceiling… Our schoolchildren are, on the rare days their unionized “educators” are willing to tolerate their physical presence masked or unmasked, taught by the very best Critical Race Theorists… In the heart of America’s most famous cities citizens are randomly attacked with impunity by hammer-wielding #BLM aficionados, but relax, the poor lads were triggered by a statue of Teddy Roosevelt or Kate Smith… The Los Angeles Times is denouncing Larry Elder, a black man, as a white supremacist, because next thing you know all the black white-supremacists will be putting on viking horns and storming Governor Newsom’s French Laundry… Ooh, and the new host of Jeopardy has just resigned in disgrace because he said something about “boobies” on a podcast and suggested that women in one-piece bathing suits look “frumpy” – whereas the actual boobies at the Pentagon will never have to resign in disgrace, and they never look frumpy because every cock-up comes with another rainbow row of diversity ribbons.
Our “experts” have expertise in nothing that matters – identity politics, micro-aggressions, statue-toppling, transgender sports… Much of American “conservatism” meets the civilizational vandals halfway – no, two-thirds of the way – so that the conversation is never anywhere near where it ought to be: No one could look objectively at an American TV network or newspaper and think this the public discourse of a serious power.
And yet apparently over half the nation does.
Until that changes, this is China’s world.