Biden's National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Acknowledges Potential for Another Hostage Crisis, Calls Into Question Why We Have American Troops in Afghanistan at All

Biden's National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Acknowledges Potential for Another Hostage Crisis, Calls Into Question Why We Have American Troops in Afghanistan at All
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

In business school, there is the saying that A-level talent hires other As and Bs hire Cs. If you ever wondered what Ds, like Joe Biden, hire, that mystery is solved when you watch National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in action.

Sullivan took some time out from eating bugs and making mudpies to appear on the CBS Sunday show, Face the Nation. As the Taliban-imposed August 31 deadline for US evacuation of Afghanistan is upon us, one logical question for host Ed O’Keefe was what about the Americans and Afghans with Special Immigration Visas (SIV) who will inevitably be left behind?

ED O’KEEFE: Got it. There are a few hundred Americans left this weekend in Afghanistan that the State Department is aware of that want to get out of the country. Will they all get out by Tuesday?

SULLIVAN: What we are doing right now, Ed, is working one by one with those individuals and their families to direct them to a rally point near the airport to come into the airport and to get on the planes and go home. We have the capacity to have 300  Americans, which is roughly the number we think are remaining, come to the airport and get on planes in the time that is remaining. We moved out more than that number just yesterday. So from our point of view, there is an opportunity right now for American citizens to come, to be admitted to the airport and to be evacuated safely and effectively. There are those Americans, though, ED, and this is important, who have chosen thus far not to leave Kabul. Maybe they’ve lived there for many years. Maybe they have extended family there. Our message to those Americans is that after August 31st, we will make sure there is safe passage for any American citizen, any legal permanent resident. And yes, we will ensure the safe passage of those Afghans who helped us to continue coming out after the 31st of August.

ED O’KEEFE: But how are you going to do that? And doesn’t that mean relying on the Taliban?

SULLIVAN: This isn’t about reliance. This is about ensuring that we use the leverage we have available to us, and it is considerable, to hold the Taliban to its commitments. The Taliban have both communicated privately and publicly that they will allow for safe passage. We’re not just going to take their word for it. We’ve rallied dozens of countries from around the world to stand with us in saying to the Taliban that if they do not follow through on those commitments, there will be significant consequences. And the leverage we have, the economic leverage and the other forms of leverage we continue to possess, we believe will be effective in ensuring that we can get out other people who want to come out after the 31st of August.

ED O’KEEFE: Economic leverage I get because you can squeeze a country’s official with sanctions all you want. But if you’re pulling all your US military equipment out of there, if you’re pulling out all, if not most of your diplomatic personnel out of there, what on earth kind of leverage is there left?

SULLIVAN: Well, first of all, you just identified economic leverage, which I wouldn’t put off to one side. We are talking about Afghanistan’s relationship with the international financial system, its access to any kind of reserves and resources. That is a significant source of leverage. Second, the Taliban, in looking to find countries around the world for it to be able to work with the United States is rallying the international community in a united way to ensure that the commitment on safe passage is not just a commitment to us, but to everyone else. And then third, of course, ED, without going into any kind of detail, we obviously retain a variety of capabilities that are both not economic and not diplomatic that we could bring to bear in the event that American citizens are somehow held at risk in Afghanistan going forward.

No matter how you cut it, there is a lot of stupid doing some very heavy lifting in this interview.

For instance, Sullivan is sort of acknowledging that there is the potential of another Iran Hostage Crisis if the Taliban don’t keep their word, only this hostage crisis would involve hundreds of people  The threat of economic sanctions is pathetically weak. This trade table has Afghanistan’s import/export figures that you can sort, high-to-low, by the click of an arrow. Take a look at which nations are Aghanistan’s major trade partners and ask yourself which of them would be likely to help us put the screws to Afghanistan.

Cynically, one might ask if Sullivan doesn’t realize that he’s talking about trying to solve a potential hostage crisis by using economic pressure against a pre-industrial society.

That is not the strangest part. According to Sullivan, after the US leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban are going to “allow for safe passage” of those Americans and SIV holders left behind. This sort of begs the question of, assuming what he says is true, why do we have troops at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in the first place? Why is there a deadline for leaving?

If the Taliban are going to guarantee the repatriation or evacuation of those left behind after August 31, why couldn’t Biden and his sycophants cut the same deal for the entire period of time before August 31?  If we can rely upon the Taliban, operating either willingly or under duress, to carry out this task next week and not have trusted them to do the same task for the last two weeks?

My colleague, Nick Arama, posted earlier today on an offer made by the Taliban to the Biden White House. They offered to allow the US to secure both Kabul and the airport in order to facilitate evacuation, see Taliban Made Biden an Offer He Refused Which Could Have Avoided Debacle in Kabul.

If we read these two things, Sullivan’s babbling and the Taliban offer, together, an interesting synthesis emerges. Perhaps the Taliban did offer to occupy HKIA and facilitate the evacuation and their offer was rejected. There is no way the Biden White House would have accepted that offer, as it would provide the politically lethal imagery of US citizens being processed out of Afghanistan by Taliban clerks.

No matter how one reads the interview, Sullivan admits that we will leave Americans and Afghan SIV holders behind, and we are relying upon the Taliban’s word that it will help them leave the country.

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