Two days ago, our highly-respected Secretary of State had told a news conference in Qatar that negotiations with the Taliban need to get “back on track”, after Afghan President Karzai furiously reacted to a sign on the Taliban offices there that read “Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, the old name of Afghanistan under Taliban rule.
Well, the Taliban is certainly negotiating now.
The well-planned daylight assault in a highly fortified zone of the capital is a brazen challenge to Kabul’s authority only a week after NATO formally handed over security for the entirety of the country to Afghan forces.
The gunbattle was witnessed by a group of journalists who were waiting to enter the palace grounds for a news event on Afghan youth at which President Hamid Karzai was expected to talk about ongoing efforts to open peace talks with the Taliban.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a text message: “A number of martyrs attacked the presidential palace, defence ministry and the Ariana Hotel.” The Ariana Hotel is known to house a CIA station.
John Kerry likely has little true understanding that the attack on the Afghan Presidential Palace is negotiation. In dealing with the Taliban, Kerry reminds me of nothing so much as a reincarnation of Halifax, bartering faithfully with Hitler’s regime as if they were a mirror of England’s.
Except, at least, Halifax (and Chamberlain) had some sense of history. John Kerry, for his part, implored Russia to “respect the relationship” between the US and Russia over the Snowden affair, and demanded (!) that Russia turn him over. More than a little irony exists in that semi-desperate plea, as it shows that the US has virtually no leverage with Russia regarding Snowden. Also, Kerry’s admonition follows on the heels of four years of talk of a “reset button” with a Russia that has nine centuries of antagonism with the West, going back to the Viking incursions into Kiev.
What is the opinion of Russian analysts?
“If Russian special services hadn’t shown interest in Snowden, they would have been utterly unprofessional,” Igor Korotchenko, a former colonel in Russia’s top military command turned security analyst, said on state Rossiya 24 television.
Our foreign policy is a shambles. Those executing it are amateurs, and worse, ideologues. Worse yet, they allow their political leanings to blind them into incompetence and delusion. Meantime, the rest of the world, particularly our adversaries, take full advantage and accelerate the self-inflicted decline of our great nation.
Both the Taliban and Russia are negotiating from a position of power. Our foreign policy team loathes power, and all but refuses to acknowledge its existence, let alone its value. So long as such absurdity represents US diplomatic policy, our adversaries will salivate and our allies will perspire nervously.