Twenty years after the U.S. government declared war on terrorism, it consummated its own defeat in Kabul and Washington, in a manner foreseeable, foreseen, and foreshadowed in 9/11’s immediate aftermath. Fixation on itself and unseriousness about war are the twin habits of heart and mind that disposed the ruling class to defeat. The practical explanation for why and how it accepted defeat is found in the overriding interest each part of the ruling class has in doing what it wants to do.
On the night of September 11, 2001, Muslim governments strictly forbade public celebrations of the carnage. The Palestinian Authority, anticipating that outraged Americans would destroy them to avenge the day’s events, even called the attacks al nachba—“the disaster.” But as the U.S. ruling class made clear that it was accepting defeat, the Muslim world’s media and streets celebrated.
Two decades later, after that defeat’s logic had worked its way through and transformed American life, and as the government’s self-humiliating exit from Afghanistan consummated it, much of mankind followed Muslim crowds in celebrating—including prominent Americans.
With each passing day in Afghanistan the Taliban grows stronger, and the pro-American government forces grow weaker. Anecdotally, you can see the momentum building in the news coverage.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which has been tracking war in Afghanistan for years, estimates that as of Sunday the Taliban controlled 213 districts. It reports that the government controls 70 districts, and some 115 districts are being contested. Thus, after the United States, NATO, and our Afghan allies spent 20 years fighting to create a post-Taliban country, the evidence is growing that we have lost.
Anti-nuclear activist groups like the so-called Physicians for Social Responsibility, Ploughshares, Union of Concerned Scientists, Federation of American Scientists, and others criticize the U.S. and national security professionals for supposedly wrongly “demonizing” Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. Hypocritically, these same anti-nuclear activists routinely “demonize” the U.S. national security community and any President and Congress that wants to modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent to prevent World War III. More than one anti-nuclear activist has called me and my colleagues the “root of all evil” because we will not “give peace a chance” by engaging recklessly in yet another dangerously irresponsible act of unilateral disarmament—like banning U.S. ICBMs.
Maybe you have no idea how many times the U.S. has “given peace a chance” with consequences that make nuclear war more likely?
Under the Presidential Nuclear Initiative (PNI), the U.S. unilaterally reduced tactical nuclear weapons from 15,000 to 180. But Russia cheated on the PNI and now has at least a 10-to-1 advantage. (See Dr. Mark Schneider, “Russian Nuclear Force Expansion and the Failure of Arms Control” RealClearDefense October 24, 2019.)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce characterized the worker shortage as a crisis that is hurting businesses of all sizes and slowing the nation’s economic recovery.
The biggest challenge U.S. businesses currently face is the lack of qualified workers to fill open jobs, according to the Chamber of Commerce’s America Works Report released Tuesday morning. The national Worker Availability Ratio (WAR) — or ratio of number of available workers to number of available jobs — has dropped over the last several months, the report found.
The current WAR is 1.4, meaning for every job opening there are one or two workers available, according to the America Works Report. The historical WAR average over the last 20 years is 2.8.
Wars often arise from uncertainty. When strong powers appear weak, truly weaker ones take risks they otherwise would not.
Sloppy braggadocio and serial promises of restraint alternatively trigger wars, too. Empty tough talk can needlessly egg on aggressors. But mouthing utopian bromides convinces bullies that their targets are too sophisticated to counter aggression.
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