Afghanistan Peace Talks Begin, Why Bother? Just Leave!

Mish

The US is in peace talks with the Taliban. Concerns mount.

Will the Taliban Hold Up Their End of the Deal?

Here is the wrong question: Will the Taliban Hold Up Their End of the Deal?

The four-part agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban committed the U.S. to withdrawing most of its soldiers from Afghanistan, which it is doing. In exchange, the Taliban provided assurances that Afghanistan would no longer be used as a base from which to wage attacks against the U.S. and its allies. It also agreed to engage with the Afghan government.  

But the promises made by the Taliban to meet those goals were vague and very difficult to verify. 

Based on publicly available information, I find the Taliban has met only two of the seven conditions stipulated in its peace accord with the U.S.: releasing 1,000 Afghan prisoners and entering talks with the Afghan government.

Does It Matter?

Of course the Taliban will not honor the deal.

So what?

They will not honor it if we stay another 20 years and waste another $10 trillion in the process.

Right Questions

  1. Why are we still there?
  2. Why were we there in the first place?
  3. What did we accomplish?

The answer to #3 is nothing and if we stay another 20 years the answer will still be nothing. 

Peace With Honor

In 1968, Nixon made this campaign pledge: "I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in Vietnam."

The US bickered over details with North Vietnam until January 23, 1973. US troops finally pulled out on March 29, 1973.

North Vietnam overran Saigon on April 30, 1975. 

Paris Peace Accords

Please consider provisions of the Paris Peace Accords ending the Vietnam War.

Here are the two pertinent ones.

  • A cease-fire in place in South Vietnam followed by precise delineations of communist and government zones of control.
  • The establishment of a “National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord” composed of a communist, government, and neutralist side to implement democratic liberties and organize free elections in South Vietnam.

Debate over the Shape of the Table

The peace talks were delayed for months over the shape of the table.

  • One of the largest hurdles to effective negotiation was the fact that North Vietnam and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, or Viet Cong) in the South, refused to recognize the government of South Vietnam; with equal persistence, the government in Saigon refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the NLF. 
  • A similar debate concerned the shape of the table to be used at the conference. The North favored a circular table, in which all parties, including NLF representatives, would appear to be "equal"' in importance. The South Vietnamese argued that only a rectangular table was acceptable, for only a rectangle could show two distinct sides to the conflict. Eventually a compromise was reached, in which representatives of the northern and southern governments would sit at a circular table, with members representing all other parties sitting at individual square tables around them.

Declare Victory and Get Out

Please consider Declare Victory and Get Out”?

In 1966, in the middle of the Vietnam War, the late Senator George Aiken of Vermont famously recommended that the United States simply "declare victory and get out." With the benefit of hindsight, that seems like pretty good advice. Today, it is more or less what the Obama administration is trying to do in Afghanistan.

That article was written in 2012. We are still in Afghanistan pretending there is some mission of honor to accomplish and the Taliban will honor the deal.

Just Leave

No, the Taliban will not honor the deal. 

I don't really give a damn because we have no business there in the first place just as we had no business in Vietnam and numerous other places.

Mish 

Comments (54)
No. 1-19
Mish
Mish

Editor

I was in Grand Staircase NM and Capital Reef NP for last 5 days. Back now

Stuki
Stuki

The "Peace With Honor" nonsense is exactly the problem.

Always an implied "but." Always an exception.

"We want peace!" Chant the dumblngs. "Except thiiiings are diiiiferent thiiiis tiiiimee, theeeeese guys say mean tgiiingz to wiiimenz!!" The intellectual lightweights of every progressive affiliation ca be relied on to serially fall for. Every.Single.Time.

"We won't bail out banks"..... "except thiiis tiiie iiiiiis diiiiferent!!!" Chant the dumb children..... "We respect the second amendment eceeeept tiiiiis tiiiime the guuuuuns looook scaaiiiiiiyyy!!!" The braindeads chime in, not wanting to be left out of the progresssive idiot party.

Instead, just get the f out of everywhere, and stay there. Make some semblance of effort to protect US borders, and that's it. Whether some mythical "rest of the world" even exists or not, is exactly zero business of any taxpayer fed anything in DC whatsoever, until some of it starts invading or shelling the US proper. Up until then, the taxfeeders should go find themselves a real job.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I don't really give a damn because we have no business there in the first place just as we had no business in Vietnam and numerous other places.

The only problem is that this isn't Vietnam. 9/11 was planned an executed by Al-Qaeda with the help of the Taliban and Pakistan's ISI. We will get another 9/11 at some point. The previous equivalent to 9/11 was Japan bombing Pearl Harbor, not anything related to Vietnam.

Jojo
Jojo
  1. Why are we still there?
  2. Why were we there in the first place?
  3. What did we accomplish?

Easy to answer. The military-industrial complex. They need skirmishes and wars to provide markets to sell their wares into. Think of the majority of our politicians as the salespeople for the MI-Complex.

If we exit Afghanistan, we need to start a new war somewhere, otherwise the MIC might have to stop funding Congressional campaigns and no politician wants any part of that.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

By the way a lot of this comes down to how we see the world. If you think somehow these countries are going "to leave us alone" if we just pull back and do nothing, you are mistaken. This is like being a vegetarian and thinking you won't get eaten by a hungry tiger or lion that comes into your house because you think "hey..he wont' eat me..I'm vegetarian!".

Sechel
Sechel

This is what Trump told Hugh Hewitt back in 2015 and precisely why negotiations will fail. Trump has broadcast to the world his intention to pull out. So what 's the negotiation about? Seems stupid. The Taliban knows Trump wants to leave and won't come back.

A negotiation is when two sides want something from the other they can't get on their own. The U.S. is leaving. What can the U.S. offer the TAliban they wouldn't get getting anyway that they want?

“People can’t know exactly what your intentions are,” Trump told Hewitt. “You want to have a certain amount of, you want to have a little bit of guess work for the enemy.

flubber
flubber

"JUST LEAVE"
That is the best comment I have ever read regarding these useless wars.

BDR45
BDR45

I have long contended that if Alexander the Great couldn't conquer Afghanistan, then we should stay away and put the money to better use. Yeah, if Afghanistan was 100 miles South of Cuba, it might be worthwhile, but it's a primitive, mountainous backwater filled with primitive tribal attitudes and behaviors, in one of the hot spots on our planet. (I have some good Afghani friends in their 60's and 70's, and they agree). It's none of our business.

Sechel
Sechel

anyone ever hear of the Kyber pass. its very strategic. even today

Webej
Webej

Oh, but a lot HAS been accomplished in the War on Terror:

  1. Failed states: Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, arguably Iraq and Syria
  2. 37 million people displaced
  3. 830,000 direct casualties (Obviously excess mortality is in the millions)
  4. The US has lost all pretense to any moral stature in the world
  5. The security state has drastically curtailed the civil liberties of people all over the OECD democracies, though nothing compared to what the bio-security state will accomplish

The opium export increased 20× after the Americans showed up. The situation has basically been the same for about 20 years. Perhaps that means the situation is exactly as those writing the reports and recommendations want it to be.

Sechel
Sechel

The argument that you deprive the terrorists of territory they can use to finance, train and organize makes a lot o sense to me

Curious-Cat
Curious-Cat

There was a quote popular after the Vietnam War (which I can't find) -

"The worst dressed army always wins. "

I'm sure that in addition to Vietnam, the speaker was also thinking about the American Revolution.

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

I support leaving.
But, we should take in at least 200K Afghan refugees.
The Taliban bloodbath will be horrific.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

The day the towers fell I knew the response was bound to be the absolute worst possible boondoggle anyone could ever imagine. But it exceeded my expectations.

numike
numike

U.S. Hegemony Could End In a Swarm of Cheap Chinese Missiles The warning signs have been apparent for a long time now. However, this budding challenge has been lost as America has taken on foes that have no ability to challenge U.S. military buildups or overseas operations, masking the problem. For example, the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, various so-called war on terror campaigns using drone technology, the military campaign against the Islamic State, various air strikes against Syria—all showcase a U.S. military whose deployments were unchallenged or utilized weapons platforms where defenders did not have the range to strike back.
Maybe its just me, but I don’t think one advances the cause of US hegemony* by using Syria and Afghanistan… https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/u-s-hegemony-could-end-in-a-swarm-of-cheap-chinese-missiles/

Cocoa
Cocoa

We were there to kick Al Quaeda out of there. That worked fine. The Taliban was an incidental ally of Bin Laden. Of course the Northern Alliance was preferred but since there really is no government, nothing can succeed there. It's a bunch of nomads and goats. It wasn't even mission creep, it's just impossible. Nobody succeeds there at all. The Brits, Soviets and US. Fail.

FactsonJoe
FactsonJoe

Trump should pull out of Afghanistan completely apart from having an airbase there that is highly fortified and with some 10-20 fighter jets at the ready and tens more available quickly from other bases in Europe if needed and promising to bomb Taleban to smithereens if they attack the Afghan government and Trump should remove ALL ground troops.

This should be done BEFORE the election and allow Democrats to have their predictable NEOCON freakout and demand Trump keeps US troops in Afghanistan so Democrats would in essence run as the war party/Neocons frothing at the mouth for more war.

Trump should also withdraw US troops completely from Syria (the pact Syrian government and kurds made after Trump withdrew US troops from near the Turkey border and many parts of Syria leaving just some soldiers in the oilfields seems to be working that Syrian government and kurds made in about a week after Trump declared he would be withdrawing troops and then backtracked a bit after Democrats and Lindsey "warmonger" Graham and some other Republicans had a freakout) and cut the troop numbers in Iraq by -50% and leave Iraq also mostly leaving just the Greenzone and few airbases with a similar setup as I envision for Afghanistan.

The truth is that if USA withdraws from Afghanistan completely Taleban will over-run the current Afghan government Vietnam style and this will lead to millions of Afghans rushing through Iran to Turkey and try from there onward to Greece and from there further if possible and Merkel is acting crazy again and wanting to relocate asylum seekers from Greece to Germany and all around EU that have burned heir own asylum camps in Greek islands to protest being stuck there and this kind of flood would definitely make her do it and cause a new 2015 style nightmare for Greece and EU and Trump would get the blame for it.

Quatloo
Quatloo

Great article Mish. There are always people who will give reasons why the U.S. can’t leave, but it is all based on the U.S. wanting to control the country it invaded after it leaves, which is as impossible as it is ridiculous. There is ALWAYS a reason for psychopath warmongers to stay longer in someone else’s country. Just say no and get out NOW.

guidoamm
guidoamm

What did we accomplish?
The answer to #3 is nothing and if we stay another 20 years the answer will still be nothing.

Not quite Mish. The answer to that question depends on who you are.

As history shows us, what really matters in that part of the world, is opium production.

In that respect, we took Afghanistan from around 3'000 acres under cultivation in 2002 to, today, 240'000 acres under cultivation. These are "official figures" of course. Moreover, these figures account for an ostensible acute reduction in acreage during the past 2 years.

3 to 240 ... that is a magnificent result...

Somebody did very well.


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