Something sad, ironic, and oddly out of whack – about Biden “giving three million doses” of COVID-19 vaccine to Afghanistan, as if – watch my right hand, not my left – he could cover what is coming: Biden’s unilateral withdrawal of US troops – without a peace accord – is empowering the Taliban, will trigger radiating violence (especially against women), and may cause the fall of the Afghan Government.
First things first:
Biden has extra doses because many Americans are not interested, not sure, awaiting herd immunity. While much of the world could use it, Afghanistan gets it.
Think about this.
Afghanistan’s top ten causes of death are, in rank order, heart disease, conflict and terror – up 220 percent in ten years, neonatal disorders (insufficient care for mother and child), respiratory infections, congenital defects (perhaps linked to opium), stroke, road injuries, kidney disease, and “interpersonal violence.”
In a country where only 40 percent get health care, is COVID the issue? Perhaps 2000 died of it, but conflict and terror outrank everything except heart disease. In that context, where is the aid that matters – including stabilization? How can Biden trumpet a vaccine for flu-like symptoms – that might get to three of 40 million while pulling troops and triggering the rise of terror, Taliban resurgence?
This is just bad – objectively pathetic – public relations. Might a vaccine save a few older Afghans? Sure. Are gifts good? Sure. But where is the strategic thinking, planning, goal of saving big lives?
The answer is utterly missing. Preventive care would help the 35 percent of Afghanistan that dies of non-communicative diseases – Biden is anemic on that. Basic disease treatments – forget COVID – for things like rheumatic heart disease – would save tens of thousands. Afghanistan is number one in the world for death from that disease, treatable with basic antibiotics. Biden is AWOL.
Big one: Afghanistan is not just medically underserved, tribally divided, and limps on scant infrastructure. It is unstable, striving for stability. Trump had peace coming, abandoned by Biden.
Instability is Afghanistan’s killer, not COVID. Instability is a disabler of life quality, cause of human rights abuses, lost opportunities, lost children, poor education (two million girls blocked), and devaluation of life itself. Where is Mr. Biden on all this? Bush, Trump, and even Obama were on it. Biden is silent.
Instability is a catch-all for tribal and warlord violence, proliferation of ungovernable areas, heroin-funded violence, and human horrors from radical Islamic terrorism.
Numbers of dead, injured, victimized, and persecuted are elusive but huge. They have been held low by US troop presence.
US military and civilian law enforcement training worked, helped deter lawlessness and violence, set new norms, elevate hope, and put in motion “virtuous cycles.” Biden’s withdrawal killed all that.
As someone who set up America’s police training in Afghanistan during 2004, as an Assistant Secretary of State to Colin Powell, objective training numbers and reduced violence validated our presence. This explains US troops as a “tripwire” all over the world. They incentivize good behavior, deter bad.
In short, while a few million extra COVID vaccines are nice, they are a quarter in a beggar’s cup.
They change nothing. They teach nothing. They deter nothing. They do not address core issues – poor fig leaf to cover Biden’s catastrophic error, the pullout of US troops.
Watch what happens next. The few who avert COVID will see instability not seen in years, at a level that could overrun the Government, creating a wave of human anguish not seen in 20 years.
Biden will bear responsibility.
There is no vaccine for terror – you must meet and deter it where it exists. Biden is not saving the day; he is running away. The vaccines are pathetic public relations; what follows will swallow the good press Biden generates – and much more.