Will Biden Fall for a Few Further Feckless Sanctions?

The Washington Post and other media, owned and operated by the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex), yesterday beat the drums for more sanctions on Russia. (See, for example, this and this.)

Cuticles Beware!

The owners and operators of major- and minor-league media are biting their nails down to the cuticle. Could Biden’s immediate extension of the New START Treaty, plus his agreement with Putin on the telephone "to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues" threaten a thaw in U.S.-Russian relations?

Perish the thought! No thaw; no détente; no rapprochement. Oh, the Things That Go Bump in the Night! – things that could complicate the MICIMATT campaign to exaggerate the national security "threat", in order to justify obscenely high levels of funding for "defense" against an "aggressive" Russia?

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GOP Rep. Biggs: Failure To Withdraw From Afghanistan a ‘Slippery Slope’

From The American Conservative:

Arizona Republican Congressman Andy Biggs warned President Biden that any delay in keeping the timetable to withdraw in Afghanistan could lead to what he called a “slippery slope.”

“I respectfully urge you to continue to remove United States service members from Afghanistan in the coming weeks, with the goal of ensuring all our brave men and women in uniform return from the theater before May,” Biggs wrote in a letter to Biden.

The U.S. agreed to withdraw all US service men and women from Afghanistan in a deal with the Taliban by May 1 in return for peace talks and a cessation of violence. This would bring an end to America’s longest war, which began in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently refused to say whether the US would keep the May withdrawal deadline.

The Taliban is very likely prepared to resume its campaign of violence against the US and coalition targets if it perceives that coalition forces have stalled or reversed course on the agreed-upon withdraw, according to the Afghanistan Study Group co-chairs who testified to the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security. They testified that US troop levels may have to double their troop presence or more if the US stays beyond May 1.

The calls to delay the withdrawal in order “to give the peace process sufficient time to produce an acceptable result… is an all-too-familiar slippery slope,” wrote Biggs.

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A Global Demand to 35 Governments: Get Your Troops Out of Afghanistan / A Thank You to 6 That Already Have

The governments of Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, and US all still have troops in Afghanistan and need to remove them.

These troops range in number from Slovenia’s 6 to the United States’ 2,500. Most countries have fewer that 100. Apart from the United States, only Germany has over 1,000. Only five other countries have more than 300.

Governments that used to have troops in this war but have removed them include New Zealand, France, Jordan, Croatia, North Macedonia, and Ireland.

We plan to deliver a big THANK-YOU to every government that removes all of its troops from Afghanistan, along with the names and comments of every signer of this petition.

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Don’t Let the Nuclear Deal Unravel

From The American Conservative:

Laura Rozen reports on the Iranian announcement that their government will cease its voluntary implementation with the IAEA’s Additional Protocol next week as part of the legislation adopted following the murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh:

In a sign that some Iran experts said reflected the Iranian perception that it is taking the Biden administration too long to make a move towards returning to the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s envoy said Monday he’d informed the UN atomic watchdog agency that Iran would cease voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol on February 23.

“Act of Parliament will be executed on time (23 Feb) and the IAEA has been informed today to ensure the smooth transition to a new course in due time,” Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Kazem Gharibabadi tweeted on Monday (Feb. 15). “After all, goodwill brings about goodwill!”

For the last five years, Iran had been following this more rigorous protocol that permitted the IAEA to inspect its facilities on short notice. If the other parties to the agreement had kept up their end of the bargain, Iran was due to ratify the Additional Protocol and make this arrangement permanent in two years’ time. Next week’s deadline has been known for months, but the Biden administration seems oddly unconcerned that it is about to pass. It should be possible to give Iran incentives to delay or cancel this action, but that requires signaling to Iran that the U.S. is serious about rejoining the agreement and fulfilling its commitments. To date, the administration’s public messaging has been poor and inadequate. The insistence that the US will reenter the JCPOA only after Iran resumes full compliance has been met with disbelief in Tehran. It makes no sense for the government that violated all of its commitments to make demands of one of the governments that is still a party to the agreement, and by refusing to rejoin the agreement first Biden is jeopardizing the agreement’s survival for no good reason.

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