Wednesday, August 25, 2021


We've seen this approach before:
President Biden on Tuesday reaffirmed his intent to complete the U.S. evacuation mission in Afghanistan by Aug. 31, but he also ordered contingency plans if that cannot be accomplished — a position that stoked a new round of outrage and confusion about the United States’ exit from a two-decade war....

Speaking at the White House after meeting virtually with leaders of the Group of Seven large industrialized democracies, Biden said that the United States was on pace to wrap up its efforts in Afghanistan by Aug. 31 and that any extension risked terrorist attacks.

“The sooner we can finish, the better,” Biden said. “Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.”

But the president also said that meeting that deadline would require avoiding unforeseen disruptions and that it “depends upon the Taliban continuing to cooperate and allow access to the airport for those who we’re transporting out.” He said that he asked the Pentagon and the State Department to draft contingency plans should the U.S. government have to shift its timeline.

Reflecting the moment’s extreme delicacy, CIA Director William J. Burns held a secret meeting Monday in Kabul with the Taliban’s de facto leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar....

The notion of a firm deadline was already drawing sharp criticism Tuesday, even from longtime Biden supporters.
Biden is under fire for all of this -- from the usual shriekers...

And from two showboating congressmen, Democrat Seth Moulton and Republican Peter Meijer, who just made a secret trip to Kabul:

But negotiating with the Taliban and pledging to stick to the 8/31 deadline if possible is just what you'd expect from Biden. When he ran for president, he pledged to negotiate with a Republican Party that wants him to fail, and as president he's done that. He keeps talking. He makes concessions. And it's been more successful than most of us expected it to be.

I don't think 8/31 will hold. But Biden's insistence that he wants it to hold might be a successful negotiating tactic. We've underestimated him at times when he's dealt with a group dominated by hate-filled absolutists. Maybe a guy who can occasionally wring a compromise out of the GOP is just who we want negotiating with the Taliban.

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