Connect with us

Foreign Affairs

Trump says peace talks with Taliban are now ‘dead’

Published

on

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. peace talks with the Taliban are now “dead,” President Donald Trump declared Monday, one day after he abruptly canceled a secret meeting he had arranged with Taliban and Afghan leaders aimed at ending America’s longest war.

Trump’s remark to reporters at the White House suggested he sees no point in resuming a nearly yearlong effort to reach a political settlement with the Taliban, whose protection of al-Qaida extremists in Afghanistan prompted the U.S. to invade after the 9/11 attacks.

Asked about the peace talks, Trump said, “They’re dead. They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead.”

It’s unclear whether Trump will go ahead with planned U.S. troop cuts and how the collapse of his talks will play out in deeply divided Afghanistan.

In his remarks to reporters Monday, Trump said his administration is “looking at” whether to proceed with troop reductions that had been one element of the preliminary deal with the Taliban struck by presidential envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

“We’d like to get out, but we’ll get out at the right time,” Trump said.

What had seemed like a potential deal to end America’s longest war unraveled, with Trump and the Taliban blaming each other for the collapse of nearly a year of U.S.-Taliban negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

The insurgents are now promising more bloodshed, and American advocates of withdrawing from the battlefield questioned on Monday whether Trump’s decision to cancel what he called plans for a secret meeting with Taliban and Afghan leaders at the Camp David, Maryland, presidential retreat over the weekend had poisoned the prospects for peace.

“The Camp David ploy appears to have been an attempt to satisfy Trump’s obsession with carefully curated public spectacles — to seal the deal, largely produced by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators, with the president’s imprimatur,” said John Glaser director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.

Trump has been talking of a need to withdraw U.S. troops from the “endless war” in Afghanistan since his 2016 presidential campaign. And he said anew in a tweet on Monday, “We have been serving as policemen in Afghanistan, and that was not meant to be the job of our Great Soldiers, the finest on earth.”

He added, without explanation, “Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years.”

There has been no evidence of a major U.S. military escalation.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Trump’s weekend moves.

“When the Taliban tried to gain negotiating advantage by conducting terror attacks inside of the country, President Trump made the right decision to say that’s not going to work,” Pompeo said Sunday.

Trump said he called off negotiations because of a recent Taliban bombing in Kabul that killed a U.S. service member, even though nine other Americans have died since June 25 in Taliban-orchestrated violence. But the emerging agreement had started unraveling days earlier after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani postponed his trip to Washington and the Taliban refused to travel to the U.S. before a deal was signed, according to a former senior Afghan official.

As Trump’s re-election campaign heats up, his quest to withdraw the remaining 13,000 to 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan remains unfulfilled — so far.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Jonathan Hoffman declined Monday to comment on the outlook for the administration’s plan to reduce the U.S. troop level in Afghanistan to 8,600.

Democrats said Trump’s decision to nix a deal with the Taliban was evidence that he was moving too quickly to get one. Far from guaranteeing a cease-fire, the deal only included Taliban commitments to reduce violence in Kabul and neighboring Parwan province, where the U.S. has a military base.

The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the Afghan government it sees as illegitimate and a puppet of the West. So, the Trump administration tried another approach, negotiating with the Taliban first to get a deal that would lead to Taliban talks with Afghans inside and outside the government.

Some administration officials, including national security adviser John Bolton, did not back the agreement with the Taliban as it was written, a U.S. official familiar with the negotiations said. They didn’t think the Taliban can be trusted. Bolton advised the president to draw down the U.S. force to 8,600 — enough to counter terror threats — and “let it be” until a better deal could be hammered out, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

Khalilzad, the lead U.S. negotiator, recently announced that he had reached an agreement in principle with the Taliban. Under the deal, the U.S. would withdraw about 5,000 U.S. troops within 135 days of signing. In exchange, the insurgents agreed to reduce violence and prevent Afghanistan from being used as a launch pad for global terror attacks, including from a local Islamic State affiliate and al-Qaida.

Pompeo said the Taliban agreed to break with al-Qaida — something that past administrations have failed to get the Taliban to do.

The insurgent group hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden as he masterminded the 9/11 attacks in 2001. After the attacks, the U.S. ousted the Taliban, which had ruled Afghanistan with a harsh version of Islamic law from 1996 to 2000.

But problems quickly emerged. On Thursday, a second Taliban car bomb exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, killing 12 people including a U.S. soldier. Khalilzad abruptly returned to Doha, Qatar, for more negotiations with the Taliban. He has since been recalled to Washington.

It’s unclear if the talks will resume because the Taliban won’t trust future deals they negotiate with the U.S. if they think Trump might then change course, according to the former senior Afghan official, who was not authorized to discuss the issue and spoke only on condition of anonymity. The official, who has discussed the peace process with U.S. and Afghan officials, said Khalilzad’s team was not aware of Trump’s plans to tweet the end of the talks Saturday evening.

Trump’s suspension of the negotiations “will harm America more than anyone else,” the Taliban said in a statement.

The former Afghan official said the deal fell apart for two main reasons. First, the Taliban refused to sign an agreement that didn’t state the end date for a complete withdrawal of American forces. That date was to be either November 2020, the same month of the U.S. presidential election, or January 2021, he said.

The U.S.-Taliban agreement was to be followed by Taliban talks with Afghans inside and outside the government to chart a political future for the country. Ghani told Khalilzad that putting a withdrawal date in the agreement would undermine the all-Afghan discourse before it began.

Secondly, the U.S. was unsuccessful in convincing Ghani to postpone the Afghan presidential election set for Sept. 28, the official said. The U.S. argued that if the elections were held and Ghani won, his opponents and other anti-Ghani factions would protest the results, creating a political crisis that would make the all-Afghan talks untenable. Other disagreements included why the deal did not address the Taliban’s linkages to Pakistan and prisoner-hostage exchanges, the official said.

___

Associated Press writers Cara Anna and Rahim Faiez in Kabul; Jonathan Lemire in Washington, and Julie Walker with AP Radio contributed to this report.

Advertisement

0

Democrats

Left scrambles to downplay Biden’s words, ‘If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money’

Published

on

Left scrambles to downplay Bidens words If the prosecutors not fired youre not getting the money

We all know Joe Biden is a gaffe-machine. We also know he was involved in many of the scandals and foul play that were littered throughout President Obama’s time in the White House. Now, we’re learning that Biden used his power as Vice President to pressure the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a firm that employed Biden’s own son, Hunter.

This didn’t come from a FOIA request or deep investigations into Biden’s past. It came from the clumsy presidential frontrunner’s own mouth. While speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden discussed his dealings with Ukraine, including the threats he made if the prosecutor wasn’t fired.

“If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden said. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and Representative Mark Meadows discussed it last night on her show:

It isn’t often that I disagree with assessments from my team, but this article claiming the media is done with Biden is wrong. He’s right that Biden’s campaign may be over, but progressive media will try to prevent it. There may be some far-left media outlets who were displeased with Biden from the beginning and are now using the Ukraine story to sink him further, but mainstream media is generally still in Biden’s corner. This story from the NY Times, an attempt to debunk the Trump administration’s claims that Biden played dirty to protect his son, lays out most of the facts while coming to completely wrong conclusions, as they’re wont to do.

Biden’s Work in Ukraine: What We Know and Don’t Know

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/22/us/politics/biden-ukraine-trump.htmlThe president has often been vague about the specifics of his allegations, but one detail that he and his allies have repeatedly cited is the former vice president’s threatening to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the prosecutor. Mr. Trump’s campaign on Saturday publicized footage of Mr. Biden recounting the threat.

The prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was soon voted out by the Ukrainian Parliament.

His dismissal had been sought not just by Mr. Biden, but also by others in the Obama administration, as well other Western governments and international lenders. Mr. Shokin had been repeatedly accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his office and among the Ukrainian political elite, and criticized for failing to bring corruption cases.

There are two huge, gaping hole in the NY Times’ assessment that he was being pushed out by many in and out of the White House at the time. First, neither the U.S. government nor any other is likely to be concerned about corruption within a sovereign nation’s state prosecutor’s office. It’s just not something we do, and we especially wouldn’t hold a billion dollar loan guarantee back because we didn’t like a prosecutor.

But more importantly, the NY Times readily admits the prosecutor WAS investigating Hunter Biden’s company. His replacement looked into the matter and came to the quick, politically expedient conclusion that there was nothing to see here. That certainly sounds like political pressure being used to subvert an investigation into a company with deep financial ties to the son of a Vice President. It definitely doesn’t sound like the United States government’s sudden desire to end corruption in a prosecutor’s office for the sake of doing the right thing.

No, legacy media is not pushing the Ukraine scandal because they don’t like Joe Biden. They’re pushing the Ukraine scandal because they don’t like President Trump and they believe the American people are too stupid to connect the dots back to Biden. They believe their propaganda machine can offer Biden the cover he needs while pointing their fingers at a phone call, a whistleblower, and an exchange between world leaders that almost certainly did nothing to break any laws.

Democrats and the media are so desperate to push the unpopular impeachment narrative that they’ll take their chances with harming Biden along the way. They think we’re too dumb to see the truth. I, for one, refuse to believe their lies.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

American Conservative Movement

Continue Reading

Democrats

Media’s fixation on Ukraine whistleblower means Joe Biden’s campaign is essentially over

Published

on

Medias fixation on Ukraine whistleblower means Joe Bidens campaign is essentially over

Former Vice President Joe Biden is still on top of most polls for the Democratic nomination for president. But his campaign is pretty much done. How can this be? One needs only look at recent signs, media reactions, and the rising Ukraine story to realize the frontrunner’s candidacy has very little chance of securing the nomination.

We can talk about the gaffes, mental lapses, and bad press from progressive news outlets all day, but the real sinking of the ship is ironically coming from a story that’s supposed to be targeting President Trump. Democrats and the media alike are calling for transparency about a whistleblower complaint lodged against the President’s handling of phone calls with the Ukrainian government. In those calls, the President allegedly made “concerning” promises in exchange for dirt on the former Vice President, specifically his handling of his son’s legal troubles there.

But while the media and Democrats are pointing to collusion once again, the American people are wondering what Ukraine has on Biden that would prompt the President to allegedly make these promises. The President noted this and pointed to the real story that should (and in many cases does) have the attention of the American people.

Unlike other candidates, Biden doesn’t receive the same degree of cover for his past exploits. The far left and the media are willing to keep Elizabeth Warren protected from having to declare that her Medicare-for-All plan will raise taxes on the middle class and Kamala Harris may never have to answer for her harsh criminal justice record before joining the Senate, but Biden’s sins are fair game to the press. Why? Because they are buying into the notion that he may not be the best candidate to take on President Trump. If they collectively believed he had the stamina to make it through the general election, they’d be burying the Ukraine story. But they won’t.

Congressman Devin Nunes echoed this point Sunday morning:

Biden’s campaign likely coming to an end — thanks to Clinton-linked Ukraine bombshell, Nunes says | Fox News

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bidens-campaign-coming-to-an-end-thanks-to-ukraine-story-linked-to-hillary-clinton-nunes-saysCalifornia Rep. Devin Nunes predicted on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that Joe Biden’s campaign is likely coming to an end — all because of newly resurfaced reports about his possible misconduct in Ukraine that “first originated back when Hillary Clinton was trying to make sure Biden didn’t get in the race.”

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee made the claim as The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren surging ahead of Biden as the first choice of 22 percent of the voters surveyed, while Biden was the first choice of 20 percent of the voters. Biden held a 9-point lead over Warren in the poll as recently as June.

Nunes, speaking to anchor Maria Bartiromo, said a whistleblower’s allegation that President Trump had acted inappropriately during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will ultimately backfire, and shine a light on Biden’s own possible misconduct. CNN later acknowledged that the whistleblower had no first-hand knowledge of the call, and a top Ukrainian official on Saturday defended Trump’s actions.

If taking a shot at hurting the President means eliminating Biden in the process, it’s a fair trade to most in the media. They just don’t have the confidence in Biden that they had a couple of months ago.

This, more than anything else, is why Biden’s political career is over. This story is going to stay in the news and while it’s unlikely to do any damage at all to the President, it will sink the Democratic frontrunner.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

American Conservative Movement

Continue Reading

Foreign Affairs

Red line in the Pacific

Published

on

Red line in the Pacific

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?

China is catering to Taiwan’s former clients in the Pacific Basin and Beijing is bringing its own chopsticks. This is far more than just the CCP’s One China Policy. This is a military maneuver to directly threaten America’s maritime superiority.

But, small island nations do not switch allegiances based upon military considerations. After all, they were just caught in the middle between two major powers during World War II. Now it’s a matter of whether the United States will supply their needs or if China will pander to them better.

Small countries of Oceania understand they have no military leverage of their own. Their value to the superpowers on the world stage is strictly a function of their strategic locations.

How many Americans today remember the heroics of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and PT-109 in the Solomon Islands? How many of us are familiar with the furious battles at Guadalcanal or at Tarawa?

In fact, where are those places? Guadalcanal is in the Solomon Islands. Tarawa is in the current day nation of Kiribati.

Both nations have just abandoned Taipei and staked their future on the Chinese dragon from the mainland of Asia. But why?

MILITARY?

No, these small Islands in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia have no pretensions to being players on the world stage when it comes to military confrontations. They realize they are just going to be the battlegrounds where wars are waged by the megapowers.

IDEOLOGY?

So, then do you suppose it’s about capitalism vs communism? Are they siding with socialism over free market principles? This consideration, frankly, doesn’t even have a role in the recent decisions to align with China over Taiwan.

MONEY?

Bingo! That’s it! China basically just offered more stuff and more big bucks than their small island nemesis of Taiwan did or could. China not only has endless streams of funds but they have no democratic process for distributing it. Xi Jinping can give it to whomever he wishes and nobody who hopes to have a future dares say otherwise.

WHY KIRIBATI IS A RED LINE

Perhaps it’s a bit easier logistically to draw a line in the sand with your foot than it is to put a marker on the deep blue sea. But China absolutely must not be allowed to re-establish their satellite tracking station on Tarawa which was dismantled after Kiribati went with Taiwan in 2003.

Look for China to begin construction before politicians in Washington, DC even have time to realize what has happened. Ergo, this article to try to help us get out ahead of the game.

Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands is only 617 miles from Tarawa. In fact, RMI is one of the few remaining Taiwan partners at this time and they cannot be snatched away on our watch.

Taiwan still has relations with Tuvalu, Nauru and Palau. Each is important strategically in its own way. But right now the United States needs to concentrate its resources on a potential crisis in Kiribati.

Kiribati straddles both the equator and the International Date Line. Therefore, it is the only country in the world that is in all four hemispheres. Kiritimati Island is due south of Honolulu. Because of the International Date Line, it is exactly 24 hours time difference.

Probably 99% of Americans have never heard of Kiribati. The voice recognition software I’m using cannot even recognize that if I enunciate it properly. The country is pronounced as Kiribas. The island South of Hawaii is Christmas Island. The national capital of Betio sounds like Beso.

SO WHO NEEDS TO DO WHAT NOW?

Unfortunately, the US of A is typically at least a day late and a dollar short. China has poached a very strategic island nation away from our allies in Taiwan, which was only willing to sell them a Boeing 737 which China donated outright.

My compliments to Dr. Rieko Hayakawa, an expert in Pacific geopolitics with a long history of providing substantive assistance to small island nations. She is ensuring that the government of Japan is fully aware of the ramifications of this Chinese power play in the Pacific.

It would help if U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would get his pompous a** and over-inflated ego on the next flight to the overcrowded little tropical island of Tarawa. Indo-Pacific Command plus the U.S. Coast Guard could also make some site visits there with infrastructure enhancement propositions in their pockets or briefcases.

Like I said earlier, the question is what have you done for me lately?

In the meantime, relations with the Marshall Islands need to be kept on a solid basis because we absolutely cannot afford their defection to China. Whatever we can do to bolster Taiwan’s relationship around the world will also be in our own self-interest as it counters Chinese hegemony.

JFK & DJT

Besides being a war hero in the Solomon Islands, our 35th president stared down Russian Dictator Nikita Khrushchev to keep missiles out of Cuba. Now our 45th president may get the chance to do something likewise with Chinese Dictator Xi Jinping to prevent their People’s Liberation Army from militarizing our Pacific neighborhood.

It’s not a matter of putting the pedal to the metal. It’s all about the mettle in the man in the White House. Sorry you don’t still have John Bolton there to give you expert advice but this will be a make-or-break for your next National Security Advisor and possibly for your own administration.

Even many of the Democrats don’t want to go soft on China. This is really not the time or place for political posturing by anyone. From Arctic to Antarctic, from Pacific to Atlantic, China poses an existential threat.

What you either do or fail to do on Tarawa will send a message straight to Beijing. There will be no satellite tracking station permitted in Kiribati to spy on us at Kwajalein. Period. End of statement.

Thin Red Line

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

American Conservative Movement

Continue Reading

Facebook

Trending