Regarding Afghanistan and beyond; I believe we have passed the point of salvation for our senior military leaders and politicians. We have allowed military and civilian lawyers (read rules of engagement restrictions) to become all powerful and our Generals (indecisive and risk averse) to become nothing more than career seeking politicians.
Those are 2 big reasons we have continued to fight and lose wars (we are trained at participating in wars and untrained at winning wars since WWII). AFG is a sad situation, as were the kurds in Iraq, but at least Trump pushed our respect internationally (being tough and smart is better than being tough and stupid). Today I don’t believe America is respected the way we were only a few short months ago. More countries visit China these days than come to the U.S. and China is prepped to recognize the Taliban once they declare the Islamic State simply to embarrass us. My sense is Taiwan is having some incredibly uncomfortable internal discussions (American apathy is likely starting to sink in). As are a lot of US allies in Europe.
I also believe China is doing a lot of war gaming of costs and benefits currently with respect to the south China sea and Europe. We are now in a fully engaged information war. Soon it may be worse—I pray our senior military leadership is intensely planning all options—the best plan offers the most options at the last possible moment. So now we wait. Trust me, our enemies are not waiting. They plan and they don’t care about stupid mask policies or fake insurrection BS. Our enemies will be working on the next three vulnerabilities we haven’t even thought about.
I believe Russia and China are clear eyed on our corrupt political leadership that they and many other nations no longer respect nor fear. America will come back and soon but it will come at a cost. If the bureaucracy in WDC (esp., DOD, State and the IC) want to keep acting like utopian ideologues, we will lose, if you find your courage, we will win. I say step up, stand up and straighten up your backbones, demand far better from your leaders and let’s start winning again.