Tag Archives: Joe

US-UK deal hopes dashed because Brexit has killed Britain as an international trader

Out on a limb: Boris Johnson was notably ignored by Joe Biden at the start of a recent Nato defence summit and it seems Biden will ignore him on trade too.

Boris Johnson’s blatherings about Brexit can’t change the fact that the United States couldn’t care less about doing a free trade deal with the UK.

US President Joe Biden is far more interested in trading with the European Union – the very organisation Johnson said we would be better-off without.

Oh yes, the States cut their high tariffs on UK steel and aluminium – but that only indicates that we produce higher-quality steel than they do, and they want to buy it on the cheap.

In all other regards, Biden has adopted a protectionist approach that is anathema to Boris Johnson’s globalist government.

Simply put: Biden wants to build up the United States as an industrial nation, independent of other advanced economies like China, thereby creating high-quality jobs for American citizens.

Johnson, on the other hand, wants to sell everything in the UK to foreign concerns, so he and his Tory cronies can make a quick profit that they can bank in a tax haven. He couldn’t care less about the well-being of UK citizens.

As Dr Peter Holmes, a fellow at the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory, told the Express, “Britain is out on a limb.”

He said Biden agrees with the EU that governments should not subsidise industry – but Johnson’s government believes the exact opposite because it wants to sweeten our assets as prizes for foreign investors.

Look at the £7.1 billion of public money the government gave to the UK’s rail industry, and then look at the prices of tickets on trains that are mainly owned by foreign governments.

And Biden does not subscribe to the UK’s plan to cut carbon emissions; he’s far more in tune with the EU on that, too.

He would be more likely to consider a free trade agreement if the National Health Service was opened up to profit-making US companies, but he would not be interested in full privatisation of the NHS, in trade terms, according to Dr Holmes.

He might also be interested if the UK lowered its food safety standards (remember the fuss over chlorinated chicken?) – but divergence from EU standards would create more problems with imports and exports in Northern Ireland, which the States would want to avoid.

But the Johnson government insists that it remains keen to talk with the States about a free trade deal.

How pointless. Johnson has painted the entire nation into a corner and is trying to avoid responsibility by pretending everything is going according to plan.

Source: Boris Johnson’s hopes of post-Brexit US-UK trade agreement dashed – ‘Biden not interested’

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Russia puts troops in eastern Ukraine – to counter Nato expansion?

Vladimir Putin: has he put troops in Ukraine just to take them out again if he can force the west into an agreement?

This is a deeply disturbing development.

But Vladimir Putin’s reason for putting Russian troops in the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine is clear: he is genuinely afraid of the Nato plan to put western troops on his doorstep.

Russian fears of being “encircled” are the cause of the Ukraine crisis and it is expansionism by Joe Biden’s United States, supported by Boris Johnson’s UK, that has brought matters to this head.

Remember, Biden and especially Johnson want a war because they think it will take the minds of their respective populations away from domestic crises and/or (in Johnson’s case) their own personal corruption.

If the US, UK and Nato had scaled down their jingoistic rhetoric after the plan for a summit meeting was put forward (and accepted by Biden), we might have been looking at a very different situation now.

Don’t get me wrong; Russia has no business in Donetsk or Luhansk.

But this is international brinkmanship, of which Biden and especially Johnson have little experience. They aren’t going to win any victories in Ukraine and if they continue in the direction they have chosen, their cack-handedness can only create a disaster.

This Writer’s personal opinion is that Putin has only put troops in Ukraine in order to take them out when the threat of that country joining Nato is withdrawn.

My concern is that Biden and Johnson are too pig-headed to seek a reasonable solution that will save everybody’s face.

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There’s no call for war in #Ukraine but Johnson and Truss are not helping

Who is this clown? You can almost see that question written across Vladimir Putin’s face as Boris Johnson rambles.

If the Ukraine crisis is to be ended, Boris Johnson won’t have anything to do with it.

Both he and US President Joe Biden – and all their lieutenants – seem determined to ramp up the aggression until it breaks out into open war, and never mind how many people die in the process or how much damage is caused.

They are the aggressors here. How many news reports on this crisis mention US deployment in Europe of new nuclear-capable, medium-range missiles? Biden says he’s willing to limit this Cold War-style escalation of hostilities – but only, unrealistically, if Russia withdraws from Ukraine’s borders first.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been massing troops on the Ukrainian border because he reckons a plan for that country to join Nato represents a threat to his nation’s security – and he has a point.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, agreements were made to ensure that Nato would not be expanded to put that bloc’s troops on the border of Russia – and this would break that.

The only person looking for peace appears to be French President Emmanuel Macron, who sketched out a possible deal in face-to-face talks last week – proposing neutrality for Ukraine.

His solution leans toward supporting Putin’s demand for “indivisible security” – meaning one state’s security does not undermine another’s.

And it acknowledges that US-led Nato doesn’t even want Ukraine to join.

But Boris Johnson is trying to undermine Macron at every turn. Officials and government sources have accused Macron of betraying Nato, rewarding aggression, electioneering, and “waving a white flag”.

Johnson’s policy is to shout at Putin to back off. Or what? Years of Tory underfunding and depletion means the UK’s armed forces don’t even figure in Moscow’s plans.

It has been suggested that Johnson wants a war because he thinks it will boost his popularity, as the Falklands War did for Margaret Thatcher in 1982. But he isn’t Thatcher; he’s a small-minded, unimaginative crook.

After Foreign Secretary Liz Truss visited Moscow to issue a series of vacuous threats, her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov laughed at her spouted “slogans”.

She had said said the UK supports Ukraine’s right to “self-determination”, did not accept that “improving the security of one country harms the security of another”, threatened “harsh sanctions” if Russia invades Ukraine and demanded an end to “brazen aggression”.

She was said to have left Lavrov in no doubt as to the UK’s position.

In response, Lavrov described the UK’s position as “nothing secret, no trust. Just slogans shouted from the tribunes.”

It’s a murky situation – as any foreign crisis involving Russia inevitably becomes.

But while that country’s ultimate intentions are unclear, it is obvious that Macron is the good guy while Biden, Johnson and Truss are the villains.

If war happens, it will be because the UK and US governments are demanding it.

Source: As Europe pushes for peace, clueless Johnson snipes from the sidelines

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#JoeLycett’s spoof #SueGray #Partygate report panics the government #ItsAllSueGravyBaby

Joe Lycett: he feels “fantastic” to have caused “chaos” and “mayhem” in the government with his spoof Sue Gray report – and so he should.

If a spoof version of Sue Gray’s report into the many Downing Street parties that happened during Covid-19 lockdown can terrify the Tory government, what will the real one do?

Comedian Joe Lycett isn’t normally considered political, or a satirist, and it seems he was just having a bit of fun when he tweeted this:

It states (allegedly from Sue Gray):

“A summary of my main findings:

“1. A culture of Covid-19 regulation rule-breaking at Number 10 Downing Street.

“2. Games were played which were known as ‘Slow Dance’ and ‘Pass the Arsehole’.

“3. A number of WhatsApp groups were established to organise gatherings, with titles including ‘Definitely A Meeting <winking emoji>’ and ‘Down It Street’.

“4. At one party, <redacted> a senior minister insisted all cabinet ministers get onto a table and perform Pure & Simple by Hear’Say.

“5. Before one of the gatherings <redacted> who worked closely with the PM insisted everyone be tested and was subsequently referred to as ‘Twateral Flow’ by advisors.

“6. A video of the PM’s wife at one party confirms her attendance in which she is heard saying, ‘it could be as few as four and as many as sixty kids’ lol.

“7. One advisor insisted this report makes clear ‘it is categorically not a breach of the rules to be part of a human centipede if said centipede was formed prior to lockdown’.

“Please forward any queries to my email [email protected]

In a follow-up post, Lycett shared a message claiming to be from an employee of a cabinet minister: “Your tweet this morning was read as an actual serious leak from Sue Gray’s report.”

So he has now written the following, which explains why, like so many of us, he is angry about what the Partygate revelations mean – and why he is utterly unrepentant about causing any distress to the government:

It says [boldings mine]:

“Well it’s been an odd couple of days. I catfished (sort of accidentally) Nadine Dorries and then supposedly catfished (sort of accidentally) the whole government. I wrote some jokes on Twitter, some dumb people (some in our government) found them plausible rather than funny, and now I’m in most of the newspapers.

“I write comedy sometimes as a way of using anger. I write a daft letter about a parking fine or change my name to Hugo Boss or fake a Sue Gray report, all essentially because I’m angry. I’m angry right now probably for the same reason many other people are angry. In the early stages of lockdown in 2020 my best friend died from cancer. He was the person who had been with me through my journey in comedy the most closely; he had been to the smallest pub gigs all the way up to the Apollo and when I was first on Graham Norton. He had been ill for a number of years and towards the end I had helped as a part time carer. I watched him slip away, gradually, over months, and all that comes with it. It’s a long story for another time. But he died, at the start of lockdown, and I wasn’t there because I was following the rules, and we had a tiny insufficient funeral, because we were following the rules, and I drove his kids away from that funeral back to Birmingham without any sort of wake, because we were following the rules, and it felt unnatural and cruel and almost silly, but we did it because we followed the rules. So I suppose like thousands of others with their own stories, I’m angry about that.

“I’m not a political comic particularly and rarely if ever make outwardly political statements. And although I’ve never voted for the Tories (huge surprise) I’m not in the business of trashing them for the sake of it either. In the old days the Conservatives were literally about ‘conserving’. They believed in historical institutions and traditions, promoted incremental change and cautious progress. For a somewhat lefty w*nk*r like me that of course conflicted with my beliefs about gay marriage, the treatment of women and minorities, but I respected their approach in other areas and found some of their policies and ideology to be stable and reassuring.

“This lot don’t seem to be into that. They’re about power and little else. They torch traditions and institutions with ease if it helps them retain their grip. To Hell with my dead friend, they think, and all your dead friends and dead relatives. You followed the rules and we didn’t but we’re in power and that’s all that matters so spin on it.

“So I get angry and I write a few jokes about Sue Gray’s report, a report which will probably change nothing and we’ll all be here again in the not-too-distant future, in some other scandal, with some other liars. But for now you might wonder how it feels to have been described in the papers as having caused these people ‘chaos’ and ‘mayhem’ and ‘mass panic’ because of a few jokes.

Let me be clear: it feels absolutely f*cking fantastic.

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Hope Not Hate smears fundraising singer to deprive him of vital cash for aid groups. FAILS

Cheated of his prize: Joe Solo.

It’s a bitter blow to see once-trusted organisations fall so low.

This Writer used to think Hope Not Hate was a genuine campaigning group, fighting racism and fascism. Sadly, it now seems to support certain forms of both – especially if they have anything to do with the government of Israel.

Look at the case of left-wing musician Joe Solo, winner of the Hope Heroes award run by Hope Not Hate. The award is said to be intended to “recognise, celebrate and — for the three winners — financially reward those who have helped to unite their communities and build resilience against the far right”.

Joe won for his work forming We Shall Overcome, which Hope Not Hate acknowledges is an artist-led response to growing poverty on the UK’s streets.

His plan for the £5,000 prize money was exemplary:

There were three prizes and six nominees, all of whom were deserving of the award so in keeping with the spirit of WSO I have asked HopeNotHate to take £1500 of the prize money and split it three ways so each of the nominees who narrowly missed out on the vote gets £500 and that way everyone gets a little help to keep their incredible campaigns going.

That leaves £3500 which will be distributed like this:

  1. £1000 to Pauline Town at WSO Central in Ashton-Under-Lyne to keep the food parcels flowing and the warm clothes on hand for winter.
  2. £1000 to Rachel Emec at Mesopotamia in Nottingham to make sure she has the resources to carry on without having to sell her car which she was forced to do in order to keep the doors open earlier this year.
  3. £1000 to Hull Unity Shop in order to keep the solidarity parcels flowing and the community programme expanding.

The remaining £500 will be added to the WSO t-shirt money and distributed around the country in time for the rush around Christmas and January.

That leaves me happily broke again.

Sadly, it was not to be, because somebody got in touch with Hope Not Hate to say that Joe had published “social media posts that we deem unacceptable” in 2018 and 2019. These appear to be posts in support of former Labour MP Chris Williamson, who was hounded out of the party for making the self-evident observation that Labour had been too quick to apologise whenever claims of anti-Semitism were made against the party – before even checking on their accuracy.

The organisation withdrew the prize money, meaning the projects he would have supported will not not receive any cash for their good works. Some may be jeopardised as a result.

All on the basis of a false claim about somebody else.

I met Joe in October. He’s no anti-Semite. He is a committed anti-fascist and anti-racist. Hope Not Hate should be supporting him to the limits of its ability.

But perhaps we should not be surprised. One of Hope Not Hate’s directors is Ruth Smeeth, whose claim to infamy is that she hounded anti-racism campaign Marc Wadsworth out of the Labour Party on the basis of a completely false claim that he was a racist anti-Semite.

These people work on the basis of lies. They spend their entire lives attacking others on the basis of those lies.

And now we see them ruining the lives of a large number of people, and justifying it with their lies.

It is unacceptable.

This Writer will be cutting any connections with Hope Not Hate. I strongly urge everybody else to do the same.

These groups are like cancer. Tolerate them and they will only grow, and cause more damage.

The only solution to their poison is to cut them out of our lives.

There is an upside to this story.

Joe was stripped of his prize on November 17. The next day a fundraising page was opened to replace it.

In a single day it raised nearly £8,500.

That’s the kind of people power that misnamed organisations like Hope Not Hate can never stamp out.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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#COP26 turns out to be the copOUT we all expected

David Attenborough at COP26: at 95, he knows he doesn’t have much time left – and he’ll die in despair for the future of the world if COP26 turns out to be just another gust of hot air.

This Writer opened Twitter today to be met by this from the acceptable face of Countdown femininity:

I bet she’s been monitoring the progress of COP26 – or lack of it.

Here’s the problem:

Sadly, it was the governments controlled by the corporates who were on display at COP26 – with predictable results:

Leading the parade of meaningless speeches was the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson, a personality vacuum who could do most good for the planet by sucking all the harmful CO2 emissions into the gaping hole where his soul should be.

Yes indeed. Here he is sleeping without a mask next to David Attenborough, thereby endangering the life of a national treasure.

Here he is gassing about James Bond for no good reason:

Here’s that car crash interview. Spot the sideways look when he realises he is being challenged and nobody is going to help him out:

Oh! So tackling climate change is a matter for local planning authorities, is it? Then why did all those world leaders create so many more greenhouse gas emissions by flying and driving to Glasgow so they could drink all that Scottish booze and wag their chins at each other?

As for taking a plane back to London, Downing Street has claimed that he needs to be mobile in order to be where he needs to be at all times, that the plane uses a mixture of 35 per cent renewable fuel and 65 per cent regular (meaning it’s greener) and that the remaining carbon footprint is offset in other ways.

But this is just one flight among many. How many forests are being planted by the government in order to offset them all?

The whole farcical performance is summed up sharply in the following video (but don’t watch it if you’re offended by harsh language):

Tan isn’t the only one saying it, either:

Of course you won’t hear that on the BBC or ITV:

But it was noticed:

If they were all so great at cutting CO2 emissions – the greenhouse gas mostly responsible for the Earth’s increasing atmospheric temperature that is threatening us all – then COP26 would not have been called.

US President Joe Biden turned out to be another weapons-grade hypocrite (as I suggested yesterday). Look at how he turned up to a conference on reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

(Mind you, he wasn’t the only one who turned up to a conference about saving the environment in a gas guzzling mechanical monster. Hypocrites all…)

And his speech was just as bad:

Here’s a very quick answer to him:

Exactly. If there was a “market-based solution” to the climate crisis, it would have been implemented long ago and there would have been no need for a summit.

The most sense was spoken by someone who wasn’t even invited…

… despite having been a strong voice for reason for several years now. I mean, of course, Greta Thunberg:

“My expectation is that we will hear many, many nice speeches, we will hear many pledges that – if you really look into the details – are more or less meaningless but they just say them in order to have something to say, in order for media to have something to report about, and then I expect things to continue to remain the same.

“The COPs as they are now will not lead to anything unless there is big, massive pressure from the outside.”

Wise words – especially when coupled with the big announcement about saving the world’s forests, and the reaction to it.

And check out this dialogue between Labour’s Clive Lewis and Tory Zac Goldsmith on the relative responsibilities of the haves and have-nots:

Goldsmith was trying to dodge responsibility for the problem, on behalf of his rich buddies – but Lewis is right: the poor can’t give up something they don’t consume.

There were good speeches – but they were made by people with absolutely no power.

David Attenborough’s was a barnstormer…

… but he was speaking to a hostile audience. Look at those faces. They really couldn’t care less.

Maori activist India Logan-Riley also made strong points, having been asked to speak at the last minute:

“In the US and Canada alone Indigenous resistance has stopped or delayed greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one quarter of annual emissions. What we do works.”

Logan-Riley was not overstating the actions of Indigenous people in fighting for the environment. A recent report by Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Oil Change International (OCI) found that an amount of greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one-quarter of annual US and Canadian emissions had been stopped or delayed due to Indigenous-led resistance to 21 fossil fuel projects in the two countries over the last decade.

The report found that about 1.587 billion metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions have been halted. That is the equivalent pollution of approximately 345 million passenger vehicles — more than all vehicles on the road in these countries, or 400 new coal-fired power plants — more than are still operating in the United States and Canada.

Needless to say, she doesn’t have any political power at all.

All in all, COP26 has turned out to be exactly the copOUT we all feared.

This Writer is left in agreement with Tom London:

They are in control – because we stupidly allowed it.

And they will make us suffer.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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After Eustice said Biden didn’t know what he was talking about, Johnson lies about him

‘Get out!’ says Biden after Johnson breaks wind through his mask.

How long is Joe Biden going to put up with schoolboy antics from oiks like Boris Johnson and George Eustice?

US President Biden made it clear in interviews earlier this week that he would discuss the possible threat to peace in Northern Ireland posed by Boris Johnson’s stupid Brexit agreement with the European Union, when he met the UK prime minister.

The official record of the meeting also makes it clear that this is what Biden did: “President Biden reiterated his longstanding support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace.”

But Johnson said it wasn’t discussed:

It’s bad enough when this compulsive liar chokes out a howler like that about a fellow politician here in the UK.

But to disrespect the most powerful human being on the planet in that way, at a time when Johnson is in the United States with his begging bowl out, pleading for a trade deal to get him out of the Brexit-shaped hole that he dug for himself, is plain lunacy.

Oh, but don’t tell me… he’s doing his best.

EXTRA: Just when you think he can’t get worse… I’ve just read this headline: “PM urges humankind to ‘grow up’ – and quotes Kermit the Frog – in call to arms on climate change.” Words fail me.

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Environment Secretary ‘Useless’ says it’s BIDEN who doesn’t understand Brexit NI protocol

A long record of defending the indefensible: Environment Secretary George Eustice has previously stated beliefs that children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

What stunning arrogance from a man who has been dubbed “George Useless”.

Environment Secretary George Eustice took to our airwaves to try to minimise the damage done by US President Joe Biden’s words on the Northern Ireland border and trade with the UK after Brexit – and made matters much, much worse.

Biden has expressed concern that peace in Northern Ireland could be jeopardised by the “Northern Ireland protocol” between the UK and the European Union, that regulates imports to and exports from the province.

It keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the EU’s single market for goods to ensure free trade across the Irish border, but has led to additional checks on goods being traded across the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has drawn criticism and protests from unionist politicians in Northern Ireland who have called for it to be scrapped.

Boris Johnson swore to everybody who asked – before Brexit happened – that there would be no border checks between GB and NI… and it now seems clear that he was either lying or did not understand his own deal.

The UK has requested a fundamental renegotiation but the EU has refused – and with good reason. Boris Johnson was desperate to rush his Brexit into being, back in 2019, ensuring that many of his MPs did not understand what they were supporting. Any problem now is his responsibility and he will have to live with it – including any problems it creates with the USA.

Eustice turned up on TV and on the radio to suggest that Biden was “wrong” and had, himself, not properly read the details of the agreement that was negotiated, in a series of interviews that will make Boris Johnson’s current meetings with the US president much more difficult:

Eustice’s attitude was that this matter did not concern the US President…

… but that makes no sense at all when the UK is also trying to negotiate a two-way trade deal with the United States (over which Biden is, again, doubtful).

Eustice admitted, “It’s just not a priority for the US administration.”

And Boris Johnson has also said, “The Americans do negotiate very hard.”

It seems nothing has changed since former president Barack Obama said the UK would be at the back of the queue for a bilateral deal.

So of course the Johnson government has a Plan B, which is to join a trade bloc – like the one the UK has just spent five years leaving:

So the situation is this:

If the UK doesn’t get a trade deal with the US because its deal to leave the EU has created problems in Northern Ireland, then Boris Johnson will try to talk the UK into a trading bloc like the EU.

So what was the point of the last five years of fuss and palaver?

In other news, Julia Hartley-Doodah tackled Eustice on the really important issues:

Wow. If only some of our political interviewers could be bothered to dissect the Tories as thoroughly on issues like Universal Credit, rising bills and – yes – Brexit!

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How did the West mess up Afghanistan so badly? Here’s a quick primer

Cycle of violence: are we seeing a permutation of this cycle now, in Afghanistan? [Image: Miki Henderson.]

You’ve probably been wondering why Vox Political hasn’t commented on the international clusterf**k that has happened in Afghanistan over the past few weeks.

Simple answer: I was trying to understand what has happened – which meant going into more than 20 years of background material.

Yes, more than 20 years. Western powers have been tinkering with the Middle East for centuries, trying to dominate, and we all know (don’t we?) that Afghanistan has been a particularly tricky nut to crack.

Anyone who has read George MacDonald Fraser’s first Flashman novel will have seen what a mess the British Army made of it in the 1840s under Lord Elphinstone. The army there wasn’t just defeated; it was obliterated.

We have a more recent example of failure to subjugate the natives (and I think this can be observed in such colonial-racist terms) in the Soviet occupation that ran from 1979-89.

That incursion followed a Communist coup by a repressive organisation that vigorously suppressed opposition and executed thousands of political prisoners, and whose leaders were themselves divided. This division, and the possibility that Afghanistan may start supporting the interests of the United States, prompted Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev to invade and install a puppet leader.

The intention was to secure towns and roads, stabilize the government under a new leader, and withdraw within six months or a year. But fierce resistance from insurgent groups (remember the Mujahideen?)  and difficulties with the harsh Afghan terrain pushed the Soviets into a war that lasted more than nine years and has been labelled the “Bear Trap” or the “Soviet Union’s Vietnam”. It ended with the retreat of Soviet forces in February 1989, after which Afghanistan remained in a state of civil war.

Guerilla fighters don’t get anywhere without help; they needed funding and weapons, and found both from a number of sources including – principally – the United States.

One might expect this to mean Afghans would be grateful to their US benefactors, right? Well, there’s a problem, and it is this:

After the Soviet withdrawal, Afghans started blaming the US for miseries caused in that country because it continued to fund rebels against the pro-Soviet administration that had been left in Kabul. Rebel rocket attacks in 1989 and 1990 went nowhere near military targets but killed civilians instead. And the US apparently had no interest in humanitarian aid to clear up the mess caused by a decade of conflict that it had supported.

Crucially to the current situation, many Afghans believed the US to be responsible for the rise of the Taliban. And who had been there all along, providing support to the US and acting in concert with the US government? The United Kingdom under Thatcher and Major – that’s who.

The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, on September 11, 2001, was believed to be “blowback”, or unintended consequences of supporting the Mujahideen, with principal planner of the attack Osama Bin Laden claiming the suffering of the Afghan people after the Soviet withdrawal was a consequence of US involvement.

Interestingly, while the US certainly funded guerilla organisations in Afghanistan, the question of whether it provided cash to Bin Laden’s group, Al Qaeda, is difficult to answer. Some say no; others say he had been their best general against the Russians.

Whether US relations with Bin Laden were good or bad, they soured when Saudi Arabia refused Bin Laden’s offer to fight the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, that happened in 1990. The Saudis turned to America instead and it is understood that Bin Laden never forgave the slight.

His organisation had been based in Sudan, but had been expelled, and returned to Afghanistan to take refuge with the Taliban.

This may seem contradictory to you. If the US was considered responsible for the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, why was 9/11 carried out by a Taliban ally?

The only answer I can offer at present is this: opportunism. Acting against a widely-perceived enemy offered a propaganda victory that might reasonably be expected to help win power. And hasn’t that turned out to be the case now?

Let’s backtrack a little, to the years immediately preceding 9/11. It seems a US thinktank called the Project for a New American Century had been building influence in the US government. This organisation’s stated aim was “to promote American global leadership”. In other words: world domination.

By the time of 9/11, members of the group had come to dominate the George W Bush administration, including Donald Rumsfeld (Defence Secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Defence Secretary) and others. They were in a position to put their aim into practice – but they needed a pretext. And 9/11 was it.

The hijackers who flew passenger planes into the World Trade Centre and tried to fly one into the Pentagon were all from Saudi Arabia, but they had been trained in Afghanistan – making that country the logical location for a response (or, in the words of then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, a chance to “capitalize on these opportunities”).

But Afghanistan was only the second choice. Rumsfeld wanted to attack Iraq because “there were no decent targets in Afghanistan”.

They were easy targets, though – and attacking Afghanistan would make it possible to topple the fundamentalist Taliban regime there that had been obstructing US plans to build an oil pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan.

So the troops rolled in, installed Hamid Karzai (allegedly an employee of Californian oil company Unocal, along with US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad), got their oil pipeline and moved on.

The UN Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – ostensibly to train the Afghan military to a standard by which they could defend themselves, but mainly to defend the newly-installed government against attempts by the Taliban to retake the country. Principal troop contributors were the United States and the UK.

ISAF combat operations in Afghanistan were formally ended in 2014, with full security responsibilities being transferred to the Afghan government – but on the very same day, the NATO-led Operation Resolute Support was formed, in which thousands of troops remained in the country to train and advise Afghan government forces and continue fighting the Taliban. Again, US and UK troops were prominent among them.

Then in April this year, new US president Joe Biden announced that he would be withdrawing US troops from the country – because he could see no way of defeating the Taliban.

According to the Washington Post,

Biden’s decision comes after an administration review of U.S. ­options in Afghanistan, where U.S.-midwifed peace talks have failed to advance as hoped and the Taliban remains a potent force despite two decades of effort by the United States to defeat the militants and establish stable, democratic governance. The war has cost trillions of dollars in addition to the lives of more than 2,000 U.S. service members. At least 100,000 Afghan civilians have been injured or killed.

“This is the immediate, practical reality that our policy review discovered,” said one person familiar with the closed-door deliberations who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy planning. “If we break the May 1st deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest.”

The goal is to move to “zero” troops by September, the senior administration official said. “This is not conditions-based. The president has judged that a conditions-based approach . . . is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever. He has reached the conclusion that the United States will complete its drawdown and will remove its forces from Afghanistan before September 11th.”

In other words, this was unconditional surrender to the Taliban. No wonder they swept in.

Everything else that has been said about the situation in Afghanistan was just talk, to cover up the fact that both the US and the UK were running away from that country with their tails between their legs.

So, for example, consider this:

My bet is that the UK intelligence on this was that the Taliban would be in control by mid-August, and Johnson was just blustering to stave off the international humiliation that the situation has caused to the UK – which has been America’s principal ally throughout this whole fiasco, dating back to the 1980s.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that Joe Biden’s decision was based less on the chances of military victory and more on projections of the kind of financial gain US commercial interests might enjoy by staying in Afghanistan; with no likelihood of profit, it was time to pull out.

At the end of the day, we see that Afghanistan has again defeated foreign attempts to assert control. As the British were ejected in the 1840s and the Russians in the 1980s, so have the Americans (and, again, the British) now.

It was never going to end any other way.

And now we in the UK are once again facing the consequences of our governments’ – successive administrations stretching back to Thatcher – interference in a place where we should not have been.

One of those consequences is the threat to lives posed by the Taliban, and the failure of the Boris Johnson administration to take anything like the necessary steps to save those lives.

And so the circle of violence turns. We invade a country, cause lives to be lost; we withdraw, and more lives are lost. Now people from that country are likely to come to ours hoping to kill some of us in return – and won’t that prompt our leaders to demand we go back and deliver reprisals?

We need a better solution.

But all we have are Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab.

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Should Northern Ireland split from the UK to end deadlock with the EU and keep Biden happy?

Deadlock: The EU has a trade agreement and couldn’t care less if it harms Boris Johnson. And Joe Biden’s commitment to co-operation with the UK may waver if a solution can’t be found and the Troubles return. What if the Province splits from the UK – for the good of its people?

It makes a nice story on the eve of a G7 summit – especially one taking place in the UK. And that’s what the BBC propagandists want.

But while US President Joe Biden and the UK’s pipsqueak Boris Johnson might agree that trade problems in Northern Ireland due to last year’s UK-EU deal need to be solved, we have no reason to believe they agree on how.

The European Union has no problem with the current situation. All the problems were created by Boris Johnson because he rushed through a trade deal, either without understanding it or without caring what was in it – to meet a deadline he thought he needed to maintain public confidence.

Even the BBC had to admit it:

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “I think it’s not serious to want to review in July what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.

“We have a trade deal – it has been painfully discussed for years… if six months later, they say: ‘What we negotiated with you, we don’t know how to respect it’, then that means that nothing is respectable anymore.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the Northern Ireland protocol – the name for the post-Brexit trading rules – was the “only solution” and should be implemented fully.

Biden’s interest dates from the 1990s, when his forerunner Bill Clinton worked with people on all sides of the Northern Ireland question to help bring about the Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called “Troubles”.

The BBC (again) has already published details of a planned speech in which Biden was set to voice concerns that deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol could jeopardise peace in the Province.

Sadly, with Biden taking pains to stress that he is not “warning” the two sides in any way, the EU unwilling to give any ground at all, and Johnson incapable of understanding the complexities involved, it seems there may be “Troubles” ahead once again.

There is a simple way out, of course: Northern Ireland could vote to leave the United Kingdom.

I’m not even suggesting that this means joining the Republic of Ireland.

The simple fact is that the people of this region have suffered terribly because of the “Troubles”. If I was living there, I would be furious that Johnson’s insensitivity has put NI back in the firing line and would be prepared to consider any alternative to prevent it.

And there’s no reason they would want to stay in the union – Johnson has created a situation where they are actually worse-off, the longer they put up with the current situation.

If Northern Ireland quit the UK but did not join the Republic, Biden would be happy; future violence could be averted. The EU would be happy too – it would make trading much simpler.

The only loser would be Boris Johnson. He would become the prime minister who forced the nation to split – and voters are not likely to forgive him for that.

It would be poetic justice. He thought he could get away with any old rubbish. He thought wrong.

Source: G7: UK and US in complete harmony over Northern Ireland – Boris Johnson – BBC News

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