Posts Tagged ‘Taliban’

The west is dead, long live the west!

23/08/2021, 10:32:16 PM

by Jonathan Todd

“The ground under the German town of Erftstadt is torn apart like tissue paper by flood waters; Lytton in British Columbia is burned from the map just a day after setting a freakishly high temperature record; cars float like dead fish through the streets-turned-canals in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou.

“The most terrible thing,” according to a Leader in The Economist a month ago, “about the spectacular scenes of destruction that have played out around the world over the past weeks is that there is no safe place from which to observe them.”

In the intervening period, safety has deteriorated, for different reasons, in Afghanistan. The US could have acted to prevent this. Other NATO members could have better supported the US toward this end.

But even if Taliban recapture of the country had been prevented (or, at least, delayed), we would still be awaiting a durable settlement between Afghanistan’s warring factions. In the world we are in, we hope for the same.

In both scenarios, we wait for a reconciliation that has been illusive for decades. One comes with more deaths for NATO soldiers. The other with more refugees for NATO countries. There are no perfect options.

We arrived with the option that we did because the US, the indispensable nation, decided that it is dispensable. Or, more precisely, American interests are less dispensable than non-American interests.


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Lib Dem watch: sign of the times

10/06/2010, 01:55:21 PM

Once, it would have been overlooked.  But today the new deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats is announced with suitable fanfare on page four of the Times: he gets a single paragraph in the “news in brief” column.

His entire purpose in life is summed up with a single, memorable, sentence: “Simon Hughes was elected as the Liberal Democrat deputy leader last night and given the role of reassuring the party’s unsettled elements.”

It reminds us of a newspaper cartoon published in the early autumn a few years ago. Two Taliban leaders are crouched on the side of a mountain watching a massive battle taking place in the valley below.  One says to the other, “I wonder what they’re debating today at the Liberal Democrat conference.”

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