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International Events VII- Afghan Catastrophe


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Heard a news report that the IMF is withholding a $460 million disbursement to Afghanistan due to not being certain there's any functioning government to release the funds to.

The payment was originally to be made within days.

The thought of fundamentalist  Taliban getting the $460 million seems scary to me. I still hope they can find a way to use the money to help the beleaguered people on the ground without the wrong actors lining their pockets?

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First it was the Olympics overshadowing things, now this... (not saying they are insignificant or overhyped or anything)

But this , is... I don't know what to say, but fuck those defending religion

Spoiler

Many people from Pakistan were seen claiming that the horrific sexual assault and gropings were justified because “she was wearing tight clothes” and was “na-mehram”, meaning she was not accompanied by a male guardian while being outdoors, as mandated in Islamic law. Some stated that the woman deserved to be groped like that because she was dancing near Minar-e-Pakistan in a ‘vulgar’ way.

 

The tweets are worse...

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Yep. I'm from PK originally and the entire country seems to be plunging into a steadily regressive, extremist mindset. Sexual assault and abuse cases are increasing daily (probably the result of more reporting and the proliferation of social media) and the fact that our current PM goes around spewing shit like 'men aren't robots and you can't blame them for losing control' doesn't help. What makes this especially shitty is his hypocrisy - he's some sort of born again asshole who studied in the UK and lived it up almost his entire life, including drinking and other stuff (which I do as well to be clear - just pointing out his sudden descent into a gross form of extremist religious views, likely to win and keep votes). Sadly, social media has had the same effect there as in other countries: given voice to misogynist dickheads. And this includes women, which I find abhorrent. 

Basically it seems to me that both PK and India are in a frantic race to the bottom - let's not kid ourselves on that front. The stunning accounts of religious extremism, bigotry and violence coupled with ever increasing sexual assault from both countries is disheartening, to say the least.  

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12 minutes ago, ash_what_ said:

First it was the Olympics overshadowing things, now this... (not saying they are insignificant or overhyped or anything)

But this , is... I don't know what to say, but fuck those defending religion

  Reveal hidden contents

Many people from Pakistan were seen claiming that the horrific sexual assault and gropings were justified because “she was wearing tight clothes” and was “na-mehram”, meaning she was not accompanied by a male guardian while being outdoors, as mandated in Islamic law. Some stated that the woman deserved to be groped like that because she was dancing near Minar-e-Pakistan in a ‘vulgar’ way.

 

The tweets are worse...

Because everyone who sexually assaults women is religious? Every religious person thinks it's OK to sexually assault women for wearing certain clothing and being out without a male escort?

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11 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Because everyone who sexually assaults women is religious? Every religious person thinks it's OK to sexually assault women for wearing certain clothing and being out without a male escort?

I think it's more around society using religious excuses (often wrong or dubious interpretations) to propagate regressive patriarchal thinking and force archaic rules upon women to limit their freedom and agency, under the guise of 'Islam doesn't allow xyz'. I've experienced this nearly my entire life, as have all the women I know. It certainly doesn't mean all these people are religious, but it definitely does mean they're using a (twisted?) version of religion to impose their will on women. 

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54 minutes ago, Crixus said:

I think it's more around society using religious excuses (often wrong or dubious interpretations) to propagate regressive patriarchal thinking and force archaic rules upon women to limit their freedom and agency, under the guise of 'Islam doesn't allow xyz'. I've experienced this nearly my entire life, as have all the women I know. It certainly doesn't mean all these people are religious, but it definitely does mean they're using a (twisted?) version of religion to impose their will on women. 

The actions of the purportedly “religious” should not be used to condemn “religion” writ large.  I think that’s a catagory error.

But, if we’re going down this road it should probably be in a different thread.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison
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28 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

The actions of the purportedly “religious” should not be used to condemn “religion” writ large.  I think that’s a catagory error.

Not really sure that's true considering religion is one of the major underlying motivations for a significant amount of atrocities across the world for millennia. It's the rule, not the exception. 

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

Not really sure that's true considering religion is one of the major underlying motivations for a significant amount of atrocities across the world for millennia. It's the rule, not the exception. 

People will always find a reason to kill other people and commit atrocities. When it's not religion, it's nationalism, or autocratic ego, or ideology, or something else. Neither the Khmer Rouge, Imperial Japan, or Rwandan militias killed because of religion (and the Nazis killed people for their religions, but were not religious themselves). Nor for that matter was the Qing massacre of the Dzungar, the Roman destruction of Carthage, the Mongol devastation of Khwarazmian, and so on.

Religion is just yet another way of figuring out who the "other" is, so you can kill them. But hardly the only one.

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General Milley taking a whack at the anonymous intel officials (and not-so-anonymous former intel officials) claiming they had told Biden that the government would collapse in days and were ignored.

The circular firing squad is impressive, but IMO Biden is going to come out of it pretty cleanly if things keep going as they are. The press is already paying less attention to Kabul because it's not the sheer panic of those first 24 hours, and they've been processing hundreds and hundreds SIV applicants and getting them out.

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2 minutes ago, Ran said:

The circular firing squad is impressive, but IMO Biden is going to come out of it pretty cleanly if things keep going as they are. The press is already paying less attention to Kabul because it's not the sheer panic of those first 24 hours, and they've been processing hundreds and hundreds SIV applicants and getting them out.

New AP-NORC poll out strongly supports this:

Quote

Roughly two-thirds said they did not think America’s longest war was worth fighting, the poll shows. Meanwhile, 47% approve of Biden’s management of international affairs, while 52% approve of Biden on national security.

The poll was conducted Aug. 12-16 as the two-decade war in Afghanistan ended with the Taliban returning to power and capturing the capital of Kabul. Biden has faced bipartisan condemnation in Washington for sparking a humanitarian crisis by being ill-prepared for the speed of the Taliban’s advance.

I'm honestly shocked that Biden got 47 and 52 percent approval on foreign policy in a poll conducted from last Thursday to Monday.  If he sustained ~50% approval during that period, hard to see how this will be much of a political hit without some further catastrophe.

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

The actions of the purportedly “religious” should not be used to condemn “religion” writ large.  I think that’s a catagory error.

 

Ok got it, my stupid haste sparked something huge, just clarifying, nothing against religion (except that i feel its for wishful ppl) in this context, the other posters neatly summed up what I thought without risking derailment

thanks

lets continue

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1 hour ago, Fez said:

People will always find a reason to kill other people and commit atrocities. When it's not religion, it's nationalism, or autocratic ego, or ideology, or something else. Neither the Khmer Rouge, Imperial Japan, or Rwandan militias killed because of religion (and the Nazis killed people for their religions, but were not religious themselves). Nor for that matter was the Qing massacre of the Dzungar, the Roman destruction of Carthage, the Mongol devastation of Khwarazmian, and so on.

Religion is just yet another way of figuring out who the "other" is, so you can kill them. But hardly the only one.

Of course there are other motivators for atrocities, though I would add that some of them basically work just like religion, like for example the Nazis. But the point was you can’t unilaterally separate the two.

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On 8/19/2021 at 8:15 AM, DMC said:

New AP-NORC poll out strongly supports this:

I'm honestly shocked that Biden got 47 and 52 percent approval on foreign policy in a poll conducted from last Thursday to Monday.  If he sustained ~50% approval during that period, hard to see how this will be much of a political hit without some further catastrophe.

Why would these numbers be surprising, given how hyperpartisan US politics is these days?  I bet if you break down the numbers, the vast majority of Democrats think Biden is doing a good job on foreign policy, and the vast majority of Republicans say he's doing a bad job.  That's how it almost always breaks down nowadays.  

And if Trump was President and had pulled out of Afghanistan as he was promising to do, with the same rapid collapse of the country to the Taliban, I'm sure that the vast majority of Republicans would think Trump was doing a good job on foreign policy while the Democrats would be thinking he did a bad job.  

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Der Spiegel just released a very lengthy article (English) about how we got here in Afghanistan where we are now. It’s basically an absolute devastating summary of the last 20 years, of how the Taliban conquered the country within the last months and an outlook of what to expect. It’s an awesome read.

A Trillion Dollar illusion

It‘s really an eyeopener especially how much the West has been corrupted itself in Afghanistan, just so that our politicians could present good PR. And honestly, after reading the article, one can only despise the Karzai/Ghani Regimes. That the Taliban are back is only consequential. If it weren’t the Taliban, I would even celebrate the fall of the ancient regime. 

Extract

Quote

I arrived in Afghanistan in the scorching hot summer of 2002, just after the U.S. Air Force had bombed a wedding party in the countryside. At least that’s what survivors said. The U.S. military spokesmen countered that gunmen onboard the U.S. aircraft had fired in self-defense after having been targeted from the ground.

That sounded so absurd that we went there ourselves, traveling unchallenged through the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan, the cradle of the Taliban. But they were no longer there. "You know," an Afghan man said one evening around a fire at a rural rest stop, "I was also with the Taliban! But they’re history now." His tone was laconic, and he didn’t sound particularly disappointed, since he could now plant poppies again, something that had been strictly forbidden under Taliban rule.

In the bombed village in Uruzgan, it quickly became apparent that the story behind the wedding bombing had unfolded rather differently. The Americans hadn’t just attacked from the air, but had rolled in with a convoy of heavily armed infantrymen. It hadn’t been self-defense at all, but a planned attack. Members of a Kandahar tribe had accused allies of President Hamid Karzai of being members of the Taliban.

If you couldn’t defeat the Americans, you could apparently use them for your own purposes. It was a pattern that would repeat itself over and over again, and which would contribute to the abject failure of the intervention. The great tribal council meeting in Kabul in June 2002 "was the moment when it failed," recalls Thomas Ruttig, who was a UN official from Germany at the time, but who later co-founded the Afghanistan Analysts Network. "The moment when U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad brought back the warlords." They were the men who had destroyed the country in the earlier civil war, but who had helped the U.S. government of President George W. Bush in the fight against the Taliban.

Khalilzad and others forced the tribal council to include 50 additional men on top of the elected representatives – militia leaders who had ruled with fear and aggression before the arrival of the Taliban. They were men like Mohammed "Marshal" Fahim, a Tajik leader who stood accused of perpetrating massacres and kidnappings. And Rashid Dostum, the Uzbek leader who murdered several hundred imprisoned Taliban and later had his opponents raped with bottles. Both of them would go on to serve as vice president of the country. The new holders of power remained uncompromising. They immediately set about exacting revenge on their former enemies and plundering the new government.

Billions of dollars earmarked for construction projects, roads and power plants would vanish in the ensuing years. Court verdicts could be bought, and rampant corruption corroded the state. Farmers, at least in the Pashtun provinces, remained poor and were bullied by the militias of the new rulers. The fighters would show up to hunt down the Taliban, but would then cut down the farmers’ almond trees and plunder their villages.

American and German politicians justified the eternal continuation of the military mission by claiming that the Taliban were "still there." But that wasn’t true. They slowly reappeared after several years of absence, first in the south and then in the north. Starting in 2007, I spent months with a former mullah documenting the Taliban’s slow return in his home district of Andar, south of Kabul. "The ill will toward everything foreign, toward Americans, toward Tajiks, toward police, was seamlessly nourished by real wrongs, exorbitant excesses and invented slights," we wrote at the time.

In the north, the German military rhapsodized at the time about the quiet in the provinces under their watch. When a new police chief was then appointed and he established a regime of horror in Kunduz, beating farmers and destroying their market stands when they didn’t pay sufficient protection money, the German troops stood by and watched from their hill overlooking the city. They were, they pointed out, only there as the "International Security Assistance Force" for the Afghanistan government. That presaged the return of the Taliban in Kunduz, with the Islamists taking control of village after village, until the Germans didn’t even dare to make forays six kilometers from their base. In September 2009, the German military called in U.S. airstrikes in Kunduz that killed 91 people who were looting fuel from two hijacked tanker trucks. The German commander thought they were insurgents.

By then, Germany and the U.S. had invested so much capital, both financial and political, that they had become hostages of their own project. For the lack of other achievements, the international aid community in 2009 sold the mere holding of elections as a great triumph. But when more and more evidence began emerging of election fraud orchestrated by Karzai’s entourage, the West found itself stuck in an insoluble conundrum. If they recognized Karzai’s fraudulent election victory, they would be supporting an illegitimate government. If they did not, they would have to force out a government that they had spent billions of dollars supporting.

 

Edited by Arakan
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Yeah, the 2009 election conundrum is only insoluble if you adhere to some sort of 'sunk cost' fallacious thinking. Otherwise its quite a solvable problem, just declare the elections invalid.

Not an expert but I imagine teaching military experts the futility of continuing on a project where you have already spent a great deal of resources would reduce our nation-building excursions, and also maybe save us trillions of dollars in wasteful military spending (like the F-wahtever fighter plane projects)

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21 minutes ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Yeah, the 2009 election conundrum is only insoluble if you adhere to some sort of 'sunk cost' fallacious thinking. Otherwise its quite a solvable problem, just declare the elections invalid.

Not an expert but I imagine teaching military experts the futility of continuing on a project where you have already spent a great deal of resources would reduce our nation-building excursions, and also maybe save us trillions of dollars in wasteful military spending (like the F-wahtever fighter plane projects)

As if it were that easy ;). Fact of the matter, we as the West installed a corrupt Mafia regime which by all accounts can only be described as despicable. We enabled the return of proven war criminals to the table of power. We turned two blind eyes to major crimes, be it murder, rape, slavery, human trafficking, drug production and trade. To acknowledge the farce of the 2009 election would have been to acknowledge all of the above. Doesn’t fly with career politicians with a backbone made of pudding. No one is accountable for nothing. And it explains why Biden, who was surely well informed about the debauchery of the ancient regime, was so adamant to get the hell out there. 

That article is really something else. 

Edited by Arakan
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41 minutes ago, Mudguard said:

Why would these numbers be surprising, given how hyperpartisan US politics is these days? 

I would have expected him to take a bigger hit with Dems and Independents in that initial time period considering the events and coverage being basically universally critical.

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2 hours ago, DMC said:

I would have expected him to take a bigger hit with Dems and Independents in that initial time period considering the events and coverage being basically universally critical.

Just goes to show you that party affiliation is by far the biggest predictor for how people will answer these questions.  It also helps Biden that in general, the people in the US don't really care about what happens in the Middle East.  And a large chunk of the survey took place before the fall of Kabul.  

It's safe to say that unless something catastrophic happens that involves significant US deaths that can be directly blamed on Biden's decision, Biden's foreign policy approval rating has a floor around 40%.  We were lucky that the Taliban has been behaving relatively rationally so far by letting people, for the most part, leave the country, although this may be mostly limited to people in Kabul.  Could have been a real disaster for Biden.

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