Fears of revenge in Kandahar and other commentary

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Foreign desk: Fears of Revenge in Kandahar

In a “Letter From Kandahar” at Politico, Shelly Kittleson recounts the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan’s second-largest city — noting the fears of brutality there and its “cycles of revenge.” During a week between late July and early August, “I heard significant nostalgia” for a “famously brutal” anti-Taliban police commander, Abdul Raziq Achakzai, who was assassinated three years ago — and for his “harsh but allegedly effective ways.” A common refrain: “If Raziq had been here, the Taliban would not have dared to get this close.” After the group’s victory, US officials “circulated reports of Taliban revenge killings” in Raziq’s native region. One question being asked is whether the Taliban will resume their “harsh style of rule.” Many Afghans agreed that these fundamentalists had indeed changed — “but for the worse.”

From the right: Don’t Leave Afghan Allies Behind

One “danger” in Team Biden’s evacuation of people from Afghanistan is that “the White House will withdraw US troops too soon, leaving tens of thousands to the tender mercies of the Taliban,” warns the Wall Street Journal editorial board. An “unknown number of Americans and thousands of Afghans targeted by the Taliban” remain “stranded in Kabul and the rest of the country.” How will they get to the airport “amid Taliban checkpoints and AK-47s?” To leave Afghan translators and others behind “would be a betrayal of the US commitment. The sight of the US flying Westerners to safety while abandoning Afghans would harm America’s moral standing for years.” Biden “needs to tell the Taliban that US troops aren’t leaving without those Afghans.”

Hard-left watch: Nix Critical Media Literacy

At City Journal, John D. Sailer warns about the rise of “critical media literacy,” a field that supposedly studies “the relationships between media, ­information and power.” Similar to critical race theory, this curriculum seeks to undermine “the dominant institutions of Western capitalist society” and encourages students to “learn to expose certain political views — a belief in, say, free markets or colorblindness — as ideological tools that reinforce existing power structures.” And even worse, “since issues of power and identity lurk behind all information,” proponents argue that the tenants of CML belong in every subject, including math, music and physical education. “Equipping children with the ability to understand the world is a laudable goal — one that critical media literacy would seriously impede.”

Leftist: When Will Interventionists Learn? Never

As recently as a few months ago, Secretary of State Antony Blinken pooh-poohed the idea of a rapid Taliban power-grab — a stunning failure that ­attests to US foreign-policy elites’ “incompetence, arrogance and double-dealing,” fumes Matt Taibbi at his TK News Substack. The problem goes beyond one administration: “We go to places we’re not welcome, tell the public a confounding political problem can be solved militarily and lie about our motives in occupying the country to boot. Then we pick a local civilian political authority to back that inevitably proves to be corrupt and repressive, increasing local antagonism toward the American presence” — until it all goes south. Yet “deep inside the machine of American power, they still believe their own legends. Which means this will happen again.”

Conservative: How To Punish Beijing for COVID

“The Wuhan ‘lab-leak’ theory regarding the origin of the coronavirus pandemic looks more credible than ever,” John Mac Ghlionn writes at The American Mind. And the Chinese Communist Party went out of its way to cover it up. So “how can China be made to pay a price for the harm it caused?” One way is to use the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a channel of communication between the United States, Japan, Australia and India, to “hamstring Beijing.” In 2022, “India is projected to have the fastest-growing economy,” and there is a “strong likelihood that East Asia’s superpower will be Japan, not China.” Australia, for its part, “bravely” refuses to “bow down” to Beijing. Strengthening ties with China’s neighbors will weaken Commie supreme leader Xi Jinping’s power. “China must be made uncomfortable in its own backyard.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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