Commentary: New Afghanistan Report Warns of China’s Emerging Role

man in green jacket standing through sun roof in a moving vehicle

At a time of tectonic shifts in foreign policy alliances, with Russia and China forming a new pact and aggressively asserting themselves on the international stage, Washington’s national security community is splintered across the ideological spectrum on how best to counter the dual threats.

Yet, even before Russia invaded Ukraine, a group of national security practitioners, military veterans, and scholars began trying to move beyond their policy differences to help repair the damage inflicted by the last U.S. foreign policy failure – the chaotic U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan nearly seven months ago.

When the Vandenberg Coalition, a group of primarily Republican experts representing diverse foreign policy views and approaches, began their Afghanistan assessment, its members couldn’t have known that international alarm over Russia’s bloody land grab would soon eclipse the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan. Some national security experts believe that the two U.S. foreign policy nightmares are inextricably linked – that America’s ignominious retreat in Afghanistan emboldened Vladimir Putin to move on Ukraine.

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Captured Russian Soldier Says He Realized Moscow Lied When His Favorite Boxers Joined the Resistance

Ukrainian Protests Continue into the weekend for now it's 5th day, with actions happening at Trafalgar and the Russian Embassy.

A Russian prisoner of war claimed Moscow lied to soldiers before sending them to invade Ukraine.

Lieutenant Colonel Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich said soldiers were told Ukraine was “dominated by a fascist regime” and that “nationalists and Nazis had seized power,” according to a translation by the New York Post. He made the accusations during a media conference Thursday alongside two other captured Russian soldiers.

He explained that when he entered Ukraine and saw his favorite boxers, Ukrainians Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko, join the resistance, his doubts about the reasons for the invasion were amplified, the NYP reported.

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Just a Third of Americans View COVID-19 as a Top-Five Priority, Poll Shows

Less than 40% of Americans view the coronavirus as a top-five issue to address in 2022, a new poll shows.

The Associated Press-NORC survey found that just 33% of Americans labeled virus concerns as a top issue, down 16 points from a year ago. On the other hand, 68% of respondents said that the economy was the top issue on which to focus this year, with subtopics ranging from inflation to unemployment and the national debt.

The results come as inflation has hit a multi-decade high and supply chain bottlenecks continue to affect Americans’ lives. However, it also comes as the Omicron coronavirus variant has fueled daily case counts near record-highs, with the U.S. now averaging over 650,000 new infections per day.

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Federal Judge Tosses Lawsuit Challenging Biden’s Authority to Block Keystone Pipeline

Keystone XL Pipeline

A federal district court judge granted the Biden administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by more than 20 Republican attorneys general challenging the Keystone XL Pipeline’s permit revocation.

Judge Jeffrey Brown, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, ruled that he couldn’t determine the constitutionality of President Joe Biden’s action because TC Energy, the pipeline’s developer, had abandoned the project. On June 9, TC Energy announced its intention to permanently halt construction of the pipeline, saying it would focus on other projects.

Biden canceled the pipeline’s federal permit immediately after taking office on Jan. 20 in an executive order. The order said the U.S. “must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy” and that the Keystone project would undermine the nation’s role as a climate leader on the world stage.

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Commentary: Making ‘Allies’ of Terrorists Is as Disastrous as You Would Expect

Taliban insurgents turn themselves in to Afghan National Security Forces at a forward operating base in Puza-i-Eshan

In the wake of the bungled U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, many Americans may be wondering how the U.S. government found itself closely cooperating with, and even relying upon, an enemy with whom we were at war for 20 years. 

The Taliban maintains its intention to enforce Sharia Law, harbors al-Qaeda, and includes a designated terrorist group among its organizations.

Yet the head of U.S. Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, praised the Taliban for their assistance with the U.S. evacuation, calling the jihadist group “actually very helpful.” 

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Biden Administration Won’t Say If It Will Reimburse Americans Who Were Charged Thousands to Board Flights out of Afghanistan

Joe Biden

The State Department said it will “no longer” charge Americans thousands of dollars to board evacuation flights out of Afghanistan, but it did say if it will reimburse those that have already been charged.

State Department spokesman Ned Price issued a statement to the press Thursday afternoon saying the Biden administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.” But as of late Friday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after Price issued his statement, Americans seeking to secure evacuation out of Kabul continue to be told in a required government form that they’ll need to reimburse the U.S. government upwards of $2,000 or more for their evacuation.

“Repatriation flights are not free,” question 14 of the Repatriation Assistance form stated late Friday afternoon. “A promissory note for the full cost of the flight, which may exceed $2,000 per person, must be signed by each adult passenger before boarding.”

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Commentary: The Rise of ‘Bull Moose’ Populism Is What’s Giving Life to the GOP

former President Teddy Roosevelt exhorts the crowd during his unsuccessful run for another term: the "Bull Moose" Campaign -- Barre, Vermont, August 31, 1912.

Former President Teddy Roosevelt felt “strong as a bull moose” after losing the Republican presidential nomination in 1912. Now, thanks to President Donald Trump’s legacy, that “bull moose” energy is on the winning side of the GOP’s 2022 primary season.

There are many labels for the movement I describe as “Bull Moose” populism. It’s mainly known as America First, National Conservatism, National Populism, the “New” Right, or Trumpism. Whatever its name, the candidates who can articulate the vision best will see the most passionate grassroots support in 2022 and beyond.

To that end, the “Bull Moose” moniker is useful, because it harkens back over a century to a time when, in certain ways, American politics was just objectively better. There was fortitude and will, even forcefulness, that commanded respect. President Trump embodied that approach not unlike our 26th president, the Rough Rider himself, and so it should come as no surprise that their visions are so alike.

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Biden Lifts Economic Ban on Chinese Military Tech Company

Sugon device

Joe Biden signed an executive order updating the United States’ list of blacklisted Chinese companies, dropping the ban on at least one company that was originally put on the list by President Donald Trump, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

Biden lifted the blacklist on the company Sugon, which was first banned by President Trump in November of 2020. The company is responsible for selling “supercomputers” to the Chinese military, for use in nuclear weapons research. Sugon also specializes in facial recognition software, cloud computing, and other surveillance technology that has been used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the Uyghur Muslim population.

Although Biden’s updated list still maintains bans on such companies as Huawei and Hikvision, the removal of Sugon was noted as “strange” by Michael Sobolik, a fellow with the American Foreign Policy Council.

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Commentary: Joe Biden’s Uncertain Foreign Policy

Wars often arise from uncertainty. When strong powers appear weak, truly weaker ones take risks they otherwise would not. 

Sloppy braggadocio and serial promises of restraint alternatively trigger wars, too. Empty tough talk can needlessly egg on aggressors. But mouthing utopian bromides convinces bullies that their targets are too sophisticated to counter aggression.

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Biden Should Stick with Trump’s Agreement to Withdraw from Afghanistan, Veteran and Foreign Policy Expert Says

President Joe Biden should adhere to the agreement former President Donald Trump made with the Taliban to completely withdraw American forces from Afghanistan, a veteran of the war and foreign policy expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.

Biden should stick with the agreement because it is good for America and because he could face political backlash for making the war his own by keeping troops in Afghanistan, Foreign Policy expert at Stand Together William Ruger told the DCNF. Stand Together is a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Virginia.

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Chinese Tech CEO ‘Would Welcome’ Discussion with Biden, Hopes U.S. Takes Softer Approach Toward China

The CEO of Chinese tech company Huawei said he would welcome a phone call with president Joe Biden after years of being targeted as a national security threat.

Ren Zhengfei, the founder and CEO of Huawei, said he hoped President Joe Biden’s administration would take a softer approach toward his company than President Donald Trump did, NBC News reported. The Trump administration labeled Huawei a national security threat in June, cutting off the company’s ability to receive federal funds.

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