Our Foreign Policy Idiocracy and the Consequences of Magical Thinking  

“The Taliban is a terrorist organization and must be destroyed.”

While eminently moral and practical, such a Manichean statement is considered impolitic in the swampy realms of foreign policy gurus beguiled by magical thinking. While risible to anyone not blinded by rose-colored, global elitist designer shades, these “expert” nuanced idiocies continue to wreak real-world consequences upon Americans, Afghans, and the free world.

The latest kerfuffle in “soft power’s” conniving class is the Taliban’s undertaker cabinet . . . –er, “caretaker cabinet”. . . for excluding women and including terrorists. For some reason, this came as a surprise to these practitioners of magical thinking. 

There are terrorists in the Afghan provisional government because, as a terrorist organization, the Taliban’s definition of “inclusive” means including nothing but terrorists. Per Fox News: acting interior minister, “Sarajuddin Haqqani . . . is currently wanted by the FBI in connection with a 2008 attack on a Kabul hotel that left six people, including a U.S. citizen, dead.” In addition four of the five Guantanamo detainees former President Barack Obama traded for Bowe Bergdahl in 2014 are now among Afghanistan’s new government leaders. Oh, and “nearly all of those who hold senior positions have close ties to al Qaeda.”

Regarding the exclusion of women from the provisional government, though it is permitted by their Islamist ideology, the Taliban didn’t even bother to lie outright to these globalist “infidels.” Instead, the Taliban leveraged these useful idiots’ hubris and ignorance of their terrorist enemy—er, “adversary”? “partner”?—when issuing the following statement: “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is ready to provide women with environment [sic] to work and study, and the presence of women in different [government] structures according to Islamic law and in accordance with our cultural values.”

And, so they did.

The indignant response to the Taliban’s provisional government was instant and inane.

Addressing the House of Commons, a stiff upper-lipped Prime Minister Boris Johnson conjured up a moderate wing of the Taliban to rally round, claiming “it is imperative for the West to ‘put maximum pressure’ on more moderate Taliban members to gain the ‘upper hand’ over the group’s ‘more retrograde elements.’” Exhibiting the English penchant for irony, in endeavoring to dissuade those “tempted to say that we’ve achieved nothing in that country—or still tempted to say that we’ve achieved nothing in that country in 20 years,” the Right Honorable Mr. Johnson listed the achievement of having “mounted the biggest humanitarian airlift in recent history” to rescue people from the Taliban. One wonders if the PM’s Afghan greatest hits album includes the emails “suggesting that Taliban members have tried to gain access to Britain via the UK’s Afghan resettlement scheme, which is set to take in 20,000 people over the next five years.”

With typical Teutonic gloom, though with atypical understatement, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas cast less of a spell and more a pall over events: “The announcement of a transitional government without the participation of other groups and yesterday’s violence against demonstrators and journalists in Kabul are not signals that give cause for optimism.” Damn . . . If Germans are known for anything, it’s optimism. 

Still, Maas stubbornly clings to the magical thinking that talking to the Taliban will result in more people being able to flee the clutches of the Taliban; and that this terrorist organization will heed the warning that “if a new [Afghan] government is not able to keep the affairs of state running, there is a threat of economic collapse after the political one—with even more drastic humanitarian consequences.” Yes, how the Taliban must toss and turn at night, oh so worried about “drastic humanitarian consequences” and whether or not the German Foreign Minister is optimistic about them. 

Taliban patrols Herat city. Mir Ahmad Firooz via Getty Images

Not to be outdone, the American administration whose magical thinking replaced the Taliban with an allegedly new and improved Taliban (and, in terms of weaponry and burnished global image this cannot be disputed), the U.S. State Department’s amateur alchemists sprinkled woke platitudes and empty threats like stardust, in a vain effort to turn the Taliban turd into gold. As reported in Fox News and the Hill, a State Department spokesman/talisman gravely huffed and puffed:

The announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women. We also are concerned by the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals . . . We understand that the Taliban has presented this as a caretaker cabinet. However, we will judge the Taliban by its actions, not words. We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government . . .  We will continue to hold the Taliban to their commitments to allow safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghans with travel documents, including permitting flights currently ready to fly out of Afghanistan to agreed-upon onward destinations. We also reiterate our clear expectation that the Taliban ensure that Afghan soil is not used to threaten any other countries and allow humanitarian access in support of the Afghan people. The world is watching closely.

And if the Taliban continues to act like, you know, the Taliban? Well, then, the White House reminds these terrorists that “there is no rush” and it is, per the Big Guy, “a long way off” for the United States to recognize the Taliban government. And here you thought American taxpayers weren’t getting their money’s worth from our foreign policy savants.

Nonetheless, it’s true “the world is watching closely.” And those nations that eschew magical thinking and engage in cynical thinking are, when not laughing their heads off (if you can forgive that turn of phrase), are consolidating their gains at the expense of a feckless, rudderless West. 

As U.S. News and World Report notes, one nation with no qualms about collaborating with the Taliban to further its strategic interests is genocidal, Communist China.

“The Chinese military is currently conducting a feasibility study about the effect of sending workers, soldiers and other staff related to its foreign economic investment program known as the Belt and Road Initiative in the coming years to Bagram, according to a source briefed on the study by Chinese military officials.”

With the same canniness it deploys elsewhere, the communist regime denies it is planning to immediately militarily occupy the former U.S. Bagram Air Base.  While technically not a lie, it is not the truth either. 

“The current consideration in Beijing is not for any pending movements, rather a potential deployment as long as two years from now . . . it would not encompass taking over the base but rather sending personnel and supplies at the invitation of the government in Kabul—and certainly after the Taliban secures its rule.”

This is how cynical enemies play into and prey upon the magical thinking of our foreign policy’s credentialled idiocracy. Even after the day comes when the Taliban joins the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and conducts joint air maneuvers with Communist China out of Bagram Air Base, our magical thinking foreign policy elite will wave its magic wand and wish it away and believe, thereby, that it is gone—just as they did with their complicity in returning to power a more emboldened and empowered terrorist Taliban.

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP via Getty Images

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