A tale of two cities: Kabul and Berlin
In 2001, the United States never intended to stay forever in Afghanistan. But, twenty years later, our Kabul-based withdrawal plan must have been written by fools and then executed by idiots. Even the left-leaning MSM admit hundreds of American citizens and thousands of pro-American Afghanis are being left behind to the not-so-tender mercies of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and ISIS-k. Not to mention leaving an estimated $83 billion dollars of war equipment behind to arm our enemies. And even our devoted American dogs were left behind to suffer who knows what kind of miserable fate.
Over the last seven months, it appears the Biden Regency* engaged in secret diplomacy with the Taliban. No doubt, assuring the American-trained Afghan Army and Air Force of continued American technical support so their close-air support aircraft could continue to support the Afghan Army. But, when the Biden Regency* withdrew U.S. technical support, it effectively grounded the Afghan Air Force, causing the Afghan Army to panic. Even Alexander the Great (330 B.C.), the Chinese (Han to Qing dynasties), the British (1839-1842), and the Russians (1979-1989) withdrew from Afghanistan in better order than the United States (2001-2021).
This, however, is not the first time that an inexperienced American president engaged in secret diplomacy with long-term negative consequences for everyone involved. For example, the Berlin Wall: The left-leaning MSM told us the erection of the Berlin Wall caught President Kennedy by surprise. Not true.
In the 1950s and 60s, the "best and brightest " East Germans used Berlin as a route into West Berlin and to freedom. Walter Ulbricht, the ruler of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, asked Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev for permission to erect a wall. Because a wall would make the infiltration of KGB agents into the West more difficult, the KGB advised, "Nyet." Khrushchev, fearing the GDR might collapse, said, "Da."
In Vienna, on June 4, 1961, Khrushchev met with the newly elected President Kennedy. In private, Khrushchev explained Ulbricht’s "brain drain" problem. Apparently, Kennedy took Khrushchev’s desire to wall off the Soviet Sector as a welcome sign that the Red Army would not try to occupy all of Berlin by force.
Returning to Washington, Kennedy confided to his friend, New York Times columnist "Scotty" Reston, that he told Khrushchev the U.S. would not "actively" oppose the building of a barrier between East and West Berlin. Ergo: the Wall could never be a surprise to Kennedy.
Shorty after Vienna, U.S. intelligence reported the stockpiling of concertina wire, steel pickets, and concrete. Clear evidence the Wall was about to go up. On August 12, 1961, Walter Ulbricht issued the order to erect the Berlin Wall. President Kennedy, feigning surprise, dispatched retired General Lucius D. Clay and Vice President Lyndon Johnson to Berlin to reassure West Berliners of continued U.S. support.
Nevertheless, hundreds, perhaps, thousands were killed trying to cross into West Berlin. As Ulbricht wanted, the Wall boosted the East German economy, delaying the eventual fall of the Iron Curtain for another 28 years
Foreign relations are often conducted in secret. But, as in Berlin, and now, in Afghanistan, they need be conducted by wise men. Not by men who can be so easily fooled.
* Regency: When someone rules in the place of another.
Suggested reading:Forbes Magazine online, August 23, 2021, www.forbes.com. "Staggering costs: U.S. military equipment left behind in Afghanistan." Deadline: A Memoir by James "Scotty" Reston, 1991.
©2021. William Hamilton.