Scary and Confusing

What can we say? Frustration has a way of concentrating the mind, and this week we’ve got one word: Afghanistan. Victor Davis Hanson joins us to talk about our absurd administration and its pathetic priorities. Then national security correspondent Eli Lake joins us to speak on the Taliban, Biden’s “return to normal” on the world stage and his moral illiteracy. The fellas also have a chance to muse on the tug-of-war of nation-building versus our security interests, along with the question of what America’s choice will be regarding its role as the leader of the free world. We’d be interested in what Ricochet members think. Let us know in the comments!

Music from this week’s podcast: Bad Decisions by The Strokes

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There are 51 comments.

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  1. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Wow, no wonder they always try to show Biden facing forward.  He’s got a “bald spot” bigger than my whole head!

    • #1
  2. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    I have another answer to Peter’s last question to VDH about whether Biden’s utter failure to carry out a coherent, coordinated and planned withdrawal from Afghanistan and instead surrendering the country in such a rapid way to the Taliban has more global ramifications, much more so than Jimmy Carter’s ineptness with the Iranian hostage failure.

    Yes, it has more dire ramifications particularly with the security and stability of nations in the Pacific theater – specifically Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc.

    Today Japan and Taiwan announced first-ever talks to discuss their joint-security.

    This clearly is a result of Japan and Taiwan watching the chaos enfolding in Kabul over the last week that was a direct result from Biden’s reckless actions and inactions, especially shutting down Bagram Air Base, withdrawing air support from Afghan’s Security Forces, curtailing surveillance of Taliban advances in the southern and eastern provinces, and essentially gifting billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded American military equipment to the Taliban – Blackhawk helicopters, Humvees, weaponry, munitions, sophisticated communications and targeting systems, drones, etc.

    Biden’s failure, as well as, the cowardice on display from the Secretary of Defense Austin, General Milley, and other generals – not to act as proper soldiers but to cower to the cognitively-challenged Joe Biden and not demand that Bagram stay open and that military assets remain secure, etc. have just made the world a much more dangerous place. One should assume that Putin and his military high command are dusting off and re-examining their various scenarios on moving into Ukraine and possibly even testing the borders on the Baltic States.

    Update: My sense is that this is what Peter was trying to tease out of VDH when he asked the question, since Peter is no slouch when it comes to world affairs and the historical threats from our adversaries.

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Hey, @peterrobinson ?

    All that stuff the left assured us about Biden and how he’d be surrounded by professionals, etc?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    they were lying.

    I hope you’re not “shocked” again.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Oh, and Peter, the MSM’s “Iraq didn’t have WMD” narrative has been debunked too, not counting those they sent out to Iran, Syria, etc, before the invasion.

    • #4
  5. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Oh, and Peter, the MSM’s “Iraq didn’t have WMD” narrative has been debunked too, not counting those they sent out to Iran, Syria, etc, before the invasion.

    That’s True. But it’s also easy to miss even though it’s been well documented.

    • #5
  6. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Joe Biden’s racialist rhetoric is just incredible. The stuff he said about busing was just wild. 

    • #6
  7. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Joe Biden’s racialist rhetoric is just incredible. The stuff he said about busing was just wild.

    I don’t even think he’s a racist. He just says racist stuff even when it’s popular. I actually have more respect (restricted and qualified to be sure) for actual racists who are honest with their dumb opinions. 

    • #7
  8. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Joe Biden’s racialist rhetoric is just incredible. The stuff he said about busing was just wild.

    I don’t even think he’s a racist. He just says racist stuff even when it’s popular. I actually have more respect (restricted and qualified to be sure) for actual racists who are honest with their dumb opinions.

    “Racialist” is a good word that is mostly used in Europe. It means somebody that gets power from identity politics. It’s a useful distinction, but you just don’t hear that word a lot in North America.

    That bussing speech is one of the craziest things anybody will ever hear.

    • #8
  9. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    That bussing speech is one of the craziest things anybody will ever hear.

    This is Rep. Steve King-level stuff. lol 

    • #9
  10. ParisParamus Member
    ParisParamus
    @ParisParamus

    Great podcast and thank you for the music at the end—never heard of the Strokes, and can’t believe music that resonant (to me) is only a year old?!

    also, thank you for the low level of Trump bashing. Trump had 4 years to out himself as what we always knew Biden was. It’s still kind of sad that, at least some of you, refuse to acknowledge his use of exaggeration and trial balloons as tactics. No way on earth Trump would have allowed this to happen.

    • #10
  11. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    I loved how Rob actually grilled Eli and gave him a hard question, one that Eli was refusing to answer.  I did not like how Peter interrupted and basically allowed Eli from having to answer the question.

     

    • #11
  12. Allan Rutter Member
    Allan Rutter
    @AllanRutter

    Comment about our advertisers—the Made in stuff is legit. We replaced a 25 year old Wustof santuko knife with one from Made in (using the promo code, thankyouverymuch) and it is indeed great. Well made, nice weight and balance, plenty sharp—it’s my new favorite knife. Thanks for introducing yourself to to the Ricochet community!

    • #12
  13. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    This is brutal. 11 minutes.

     

    Evacuation crisis. @DanHenninger @WSJOpinion

     

    https://audioboom.com/posts/7927914-evacuation-crisis-danhenninger-wsjopinion

    • #13
  14. Stephen Richter Member
    Stephen Richter
    @StephenRichter

    I was leaning towards the get out camp.  But now, my view is we definitely should have stayed the course.  Support the Afghan army with supplies, foreign technicians and mercenaries.  At least at this point to hold Kabul. 

    What a mess though.  Having US soldiers retake Kabul would result in US casualties. 

    Kind of like the US would need a new, emergency, snap presidential election to get sensible leadership in the White House. Where the demand is the media stop being so politically involved and focus on informing the public.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    If they do decide to re-take Kabul, Austin and Milley should be right up front.  Not “leading from behind.”

    But it might go easier if they wait a while, until the Taliban hasn’t been able to keep the water and power on for a while.

    • #15
  16. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    kedavis (View Comment):
    But it might go easier if they wait a while, until the Taliban hasn’t been able to keep the water and power on for a while.

    Supposedly, they learned from the fall of ISIS that they have to keep a bunch of educated bureaucrats and engineers around to make it all work. Good luck.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    But it might go easier if they wait a while, until the Taliban hasn’t been able to keep the water and power on for a while.

    Supposedly, they learned from the fall of ISIS that they have to keep a bunch of educated bureaucrats and engineers around to make it all work. Good luck.

    Engineers etc don’t do their best work with their arms and/or heads cut off.

    • #17
  18. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    kedavis (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    But it might go easier if they wait a while, until the Taliban hasn’t been able to keep the water and power on for a while.

    Supposedly, they learned from the fall of ISIS that they have to keep a bunch of educated bureaucrats and engineers around to make it all work. Good luck.

    Engineers etc don’t do their best work with their arms and/or heads cut off.

    It’s really bizarre. The Taliban is trying to get people to stay there and go to work. lol

    • #18
  19. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    I have another answer to Peter’s last question to VDH about whether Biden’s utter failure to carry out a coherent, coordinated and planned withdrawal from Afghanistan and instead surrendering the country in such a rapid way to the Taliban has more global ramifications, much more so than Jimmy Carter’s ineptness with the Iranian hostage failure.

    Yes, it has more dire ramifications particularly with the security and stability of nations in the Pacific theater – specifically Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc.

    Today Japan and Taiwan announced first-ever talks to discuss their joint-security.

    This clearly is a result of Japan and Taiwan watching the chaos enfolding in Kabul over the last week that was a direct result from Biden’s reckless actions and inactions, especially shutting down Bagram Air Base, withdrawing air support from Afghan’s Security Forces, curtailing surveillance of Taliban advances in the southern and eastern provinces, and essentially gifting billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded American military equipment to the Taliban – Blackhawk helicopters, Humvees, weaponry, munitions, sophisticated communications and targeting systems, drones, etc.

    Biden’s failure, as well as, the cowardice on display from the Secretary of Defense Austin, General Milley, and other generals – not to act as proper soldiers but to cower to the cognitively-challenged Joe Biden and not demand that Bagram stay open and that military assets remain secure, etc. have just made the world a much more dangerous place. One should assume that Putin and his military high command are dusting off and re-examining their various scenarios on moving into Ukraine and possibly even testing the borders on the Baltic States.

    Update: My sense is that this is what Peter was trying to tease out of VDH when he asked the question, since Peter is no slouch when it comes to world affairs and the historical threats from our adversaries.

    I think Japan will have nukes within a decade. 

    • #19
  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    I loved how Rob actually grilled Eli and gave him a hard question, one that Eli was refusing to answer. I did not like how Peter interrupted and basically allowed Eli from having to answer the question.

     

    Man I had exactly the same thought. 

    Then I felt bad, because I was rooting for Rob of all people, against Peter. 

    I feel so ashamed. 

    • #20
  21. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    I loved how Rob actually grilled Eli and gave him a hard question, one that Eli was refusing to answer. I did not like how Peter interrupted and basically allowed Eli from having to answer the question.

     

    Man I had exactly the same thought.

    Then I felt bad, because I was rooting for Rob of all people, against Peter.

    I feel so ashamed.

    Cognitive dissonance can be debilitating.  How do the Biden voters survive it?

    • #21
  22. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Supposedly, because of Biden Japan, Taiwan, and I forget who else is going into mutual defense pacs because they don’t trust us anymore.

    • #22
  23. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Supposedly, because of Biden Japan, Taiwan, and I forget who else is going into mutual defense pacs because they don’t trust us anymore.

    Indeed. See my comment #2 above. Cheers.

    • #23
  24. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    I loved how Rob actually grilled Eli and gave him a hard question, one that Eli was refusing to answer. I did not like how Peter interrupted and basically allowed Eli from having to answer the question.

     

    Man I had exactly the same thought.

    Then I felt bad, because I was rooting for Rob of all people, against Peter.

    I feel so ashamed.

    Cognitive dissonance can be debilitating. How do the Biden voters survive it?

    I’m not sure many people can live without cognitive dissonance. The world is incredibly complicated after all.  

    • #24
  25. Wolfsheim Member
    Wolfsheim
    @Wolfsheim

    I was very much hoping that this podcast would focus on Afghanistan, not because I wallow in gloom but rather because the catastrophe is of such proportions that the Orwellian lackeys who have so far tried to explain away the Biden administration’s follies can say no more. The leftwing juggernaut some of us feared has turned out to be something even worse: utter incoherence, utter incompetence.  Peter Robinson puts it wonderfully well when he says he feels less angry than shaken. 

    In a book that some forty years ago became a best seller, albeit in Japanese translation (The Japanese), the late E. O. Reischauer wryly suggested that while the Japanese are inclined to think of themselves as being quite unlike all other people (that, I must say, was then), Americans tend to assume that deep down inside all people are really Americans. The Japanese are (all too often) described as “insular,” but Americans tend to be “continental.” The same American young people who learn to parrot “diversity talk” and “internationalism” consistently score near the bottom in geographical literacy. There is on the one hand radical cultural relativism as a theory; on the other, there is the naive assumption that somehow we’re all the same anyway. Hollywood films encourage the notion that everyone in the world speaks English, albeit with funny accents. 

    Decades ago, there were liberal TV journalists in America who were optimistically predicting the collapse of Soviet tyranny. Their evidence? The fact that young Russians liked blue jeans and rock ‘n roll. Again, everyone on earth is really an American…I know quite a few Japanese (including my own wife) who regard Japanese food as by far the best and most healthy in the world. But it would never occur to any of them to think that deep down inside everyone who enjoys sushi is Japanese or yearns to be Japanese. They’d laugh at the very idea.

    America is in the admittedly unenviable position of holding global responsibilities. The country made a huge mistake in electing Joe Biden, as (one hopes) even delusional liberals there and abroad are now realizing. But that is no reason to give up on America or to declare it unworthy of leading the free world. America has also made many good decisions. I’m now thinking of the election of 1980…

    • #25
  26. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Wolfsheim (View Comment):

    I was very much hoping that this podcast would focus on Afghanistan, not because I wallow in gloom but rather because the catastrophe is of such proportions that the Orwellian lackeys who have so far tried to explain away the Biden administration’s follies can say no more. The leftwing juggernaut some of us feared has turned out to be something even worse: utter incoherence, utter incompetence. Peter Robinson puts it wonderfully well when he says he feels less angry than shaken.

    In a book that some forty years ago became a best seller, albeit in Japanese translation (The Japanese), the late E. O. Reischauer wryly suggested that while the Japanese are inclined to think of themselves as being quite unlike all other people (that, I must say, was then), Americans tend to assume that deep down inside all people are really Americans. The Japanese are (all too often) described as “insular,” but Americans tend to be “continental.” The same American young people who learn to parrot “diversity talk” and “internationalism” consistently score near the bottom in geographical literacy. There is on the one hand radical cultural relativism as a theory; on the other, there is the naive assumption that somehow we’re all the same anyway. Hollywood films encourage the notion that everyone in the world speaks English, albeit with funny accents.

    Decades ago, there were liberal TV journalists in America who were optimistically predicting the collapse of Soviet tyranny. Their evidence? The fact that young Russians liked blue jeans and rock ‘n roll. Again, everyone on earth is really an American…I know quite a few Japanese (including my own wife) who regard Japanese food as by far the best and most healthy in the world. But it would never occur to any of them to think that deep down inside everyone who enjoys sushi is Japanese or yearns to be Japanese. They’d laugh at the very idea.

    America is in the admittedly unenviable position of holding global responsibilities. The country made a huge mistake in electing Joe Biden, as (one hopes) even delusional liberals there and abroad are now realizing. But that is no reason to give up on America or to declare it unworthy of leading the free world. America has also made many good decisions. I’m now thinking of the election of 1980…

    And 2016?

    For the rest, the belief some people seem to have that there’s really no big risk to bringing Afghan “refugees” here, is also… interesting.  That they may have helped with translating etc over there, doesn’t necessarily mean a lot.  It could just mean that they got paid better and had better food than if they were herding goats, and less dangerous too as long as the Taliban wasn’t around.  Goat herders get ambushed and stuff too.  And worrying about the Taliban is for tomorrow.

    • #26
  27. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Oh, and Peter, the MSM’s “Iraq didn’t have WMD” narrative has been debunked too, not counting those they sent out to Iran, Syria, etc, before the invasion.

    I hope the mic picked up my brief demurral.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Joe Biden’s racialist rhetoric is just incredible. The stuff he said about busing was just wild.

    I don’t even think he’s a racist. He just says racist stuff even when it’s popular. I actually have more respect (restricted and qualified to be sure) for actual racists who are honest with their dumb opinions.

    “Racialist” is a good word that is mostly used in Europe. It means somebody that gets power from identity politics. It’s a useful distinction, but you just don’t hear that word a lot in North America.

    That bussing speech is one of the craziest things anybody will ever hear.

    I think “race hustler” is more commonly used in the US and I think it’s more accurately descriptive.

    • #28
  29. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Wolfsheim (View Comment):

    I was very much hoping that this podcast would focus on Afghanistan, not because I wallow in gloom but rather because the catastrophe is of such proportions that the Orwellian lackeys who have so far tried to explain away the Biden administration’s follies can say no more. The leftwing juggernaut some of us feared has turned out to be something even worse: utter incoherence, utter incompetence. Peter Robinson puts it wonderfully well when he says he feels less angry than shaken. …

    Decades ago, there were liberal TV journalists in America who were optimistically predicting the collapse of Soviet tyranny. Their evidence? The fact that young Russians liked blue jeans and rock ‘n roll. Again, everyone on earth is really an American…I know quite a few Japanese (including my own wife) who regard Japanese food as by far the best and most healthy in the world. But it would never occur to any of them to think that deep down inside everyone who enjoys sushi is Japanese or yearns to be Japanese. They’d laugh at the very idea.

    America is in the admittedly unenviable position of holding global responsibilities. The country made a huge mistake in electing Joe Biden, as (one hopes) even delusional liberals there and abroad are now realizing. But that is no reason to give up on America or to declare it unworthy of leading the free world. America has also made many good decisions. I’m now thinking of the election of 1980…

    And 2016?

    For the rest, the belief some people seem to have that there’s really no big risk to bringing Afghan “refugees” here, is also… interesting. That they may have helped with translating etc over there, doesn’t necessarily mean a lot. It could just mean that they got paid better and had better food than if they were herding goats, and less dangerous too as long as the Taliban wasn’t around. Goat herders get ambushed and stuff too. And worrying about the Taliban is for tomorrow.

    Unless Afghan sheep speak English, there were probably zero shepherds among the translators who assisted our troops in Afghanistan.  

    The translators would be drawn from members of the educated middle class who had studied Western languages, and were often fluent in several of Afghanistan’s languages as well.

    They knew that working with the Western powers marked them for death.  That’s why the U.S. and its allies were forced to promise them evacuation to America in the first place:  they simply couldn’t get the translators they needed otherwise.

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Oh, and Peter, the MSM’s “Iraq didn’t have WMD” narrative has been debunked too, not counting those they sent out to Iran, Syria, etc, before the invasion.

    I hope the mic picked up my brief demurral.

    For you, I listened again – the whole thing, since I didn’t remember where that happened, turns out it’s at 1:14:30 – and either you had yourself muted or BY didn’t include it in the mix or something, but not a word is heard from you after Peter says that.

    @jameslileks

    • #30