The Blunderbuss

By Bob Rayner and Robin Beres

Blunderbuss: Schools in Crisis

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The Blunderbuss
Monday, September 27, 2021

Hot Shot
The repercussions of President Joe Biden’s disgraceful retreat from Afghanistan continue to reverberate across the globe. The humiliating and chaotic exit, worsened by the ISIS-K bombing deaths of 13 American service members and nearly 200 Afghans, left an embarrassing stain on Biden’s presidency and did incalculable damage to American diplomacy worldwide.
As the last U.S. jet took off from Kabul’s airport, America’s allies looked on in grave concern while our adversaries regarded the scene with glee. The optics indicate that the United States no longer has the will to fight long wars or honor its commitments.
China certainly took notice. Beijing wasted no time in warning Taiwan that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan dealt a heavy blow to U.S. credibility and reliability. One Chinese Communist Party-affiliated newspaper warned Taipei that its “authorities need to keep a sober head … From what happened in Afghanistan, they should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island’s defense will collapse in hours and the U.S. military won’t come to help.”
Four days ago, Beijing sent a fleet of military jets close to Taiwan’s air space in a show of force. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, 14 fighter jets, two nuclear-capable bombers, two anti-submarine-warfare aircraft, and one electronic-warfare aircraft, entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone on the morning of September 23. That afternoon, the Chinese sent over a second wave of war planes.
While Beijing has been sending aircraft over the island on a near-daily basis and conducting live-fire drills off Taiwan’s coast for months, the size of last week’s flyover was noticeable.
Pentagon war planners say a conflict with China could begin if Beijing moved military forces along its coastline close to Taiwan or if it started sending missiles over the Strait of Taiwan. Many analysts say such an invasion is likely before the end of this decade.
If that happened, would the United States be there to support Taiwan? Considering Biden’s track record in Afghanistan — and for that matter, his inability to secure our own southern border — the Taiwanese are probably right to be more than a little nervous.
— Robin Beres, editor
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