EpochTV Review: Keep Your Enemies Closer

October 11, 2021 Updated: October 11, 2021

Commentary

President Joe Biden has never met a foreign policy decision he couldn’t get wrong. That has never been more true than it is now in the wake of our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Much has been made of the damage the withdrawal has done to the United States’ reputation, to our relationship with our allies, and to our ability to monitor terrorist activities in the region, but the damage goes far beyond that. It has opened a doorway for friendship between the Taliban and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which the regime is readily seizing, and may eventually lead us to no other choice than becoming friends with the Taliban as well.

The budding relationship between the CCP and the Taliban is covered in depth by host Brendon Fallon of “The Wide Angleand his guests James M. Dorsey and Antonio Graceffo in “Taliban Does Door-to-Door ‘Dissident’ Search; What Would China-Taliban Alliance Mean for US?” Dorsey is an award-winning author and scholar who has served as a foreign correspondent for the likes of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Globalist, having focused on the Middle East for decades. Graceffo is an economics professor and journalist, one who covers China for The Epoch Times among other outlets, and has been in Asia for 20 years, with a China-MBA from Shanghai Jiaotong University. Suffice it to say, they know what they’re talking about.

Fallon’s initial look into Afghanistan proves to be as bleak, as we knew it would be if we didn’t get our friends and allies out before we completely pulled up stakes. The Taliban is currently hunting down anyone they consider disloyal to their cause (luckily for them, we gave them a list), and in the event they can’t find those people, they’re finding their families to use as leverage. It won’t take three guesses to figure out what is likely happening to these “dissidents,” though we now have to rely on foreign sources to tell us they are being beaten, tortured, or killed. Unfortunately, we’re not going to get any information from the country that is currently cozying up to the Taliban and most likely to know what’s happening there: China.

When we withdrew from Afghanistan one minute before midnight on August 30th, like Cinderella racing home before her coach turned back into a pumpkin, the CCP wasted no time in announcing its congratulations to the Afghans and Talibans for finally escaping Western military occupation. Unlike the United States, China kept its embassy open and has been happy to host representatives of the Taliban, going so far as to state they hope to build friendly relations with Afghanistan. Guests Dorsey and Graceffo suggest two reasons for China’s interest in the war-torn country; first, the possibility of Al Qaeda or ISIS attacking them over their treatment of the Uyghur Muslims, and second, the construction of their Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria have already issued threats to the CCP on the subject of the enslaved Uyghurs, and both of these organizations operate out of Afghanistan, which shares a border, albeit a small one, with China. Americans know better than anyone the dangers of these two organizations, having just passed the 20th anniversary of September 11th and so recently losing 13 service members. It is only logical that the CCP would want to bolster the Taliban to keep these two entities in check, thereby ensuring its own security interests.

The second issue is one many Americans are likely unaware of—the BRI. Both Fallon and Graceffo go into this infrastructure in great depth, and it’s easy to see why the CCP would want to keep Afghanistan under its thumb to ensure the safety of the BRI. It is a modern day Silk Road, connecting China to Russia and Europe both over land (the Belt) and via the sea (the metaphorical Road). On the surface the initiative seems harmless enough, but this is the CCP, who brought about a worldwide pandemic and won’t answer any questions about how it might have started. What it’s in fact doing is loaning countries money to build infrastructure in strategic locations, like ports, locking them into long-term agreements, and then banking on them to default. Both Pakistan and Tajikistan, neighboring countries of Afghanistan, are at high risk when it comes to the amount of debt they’re carrying. The number of countries worldwide that have made agreements with China concerning the BRI, which Fallon lists for his viewers, is downright disturbing.

Taliban Does Door-to-Door ‘Dissident’ Search; What Would China-Taliban Alliance Mean for US? | The Wide Angle [Full Episode]

Watch the full episode here.

When it comes to Afghanistan, the host and his guests feel that the CCP is playing a long game. It isn’t really interested in Afghanistan as much as Pakistan, where it already has made multiple investments of strategic importance. Pakistan has its own Taliban, one that has already attacked Chinese interests, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable at all that the CCP would hope that a strengthened relationship with the Afghanistan Taliban might help keep the Taliban in Pakistan in check. This conversation serves as a natural bridge to the other reason the CCP may want to keep the Taliban in its back pocket; the CCP’s well known, horrific treatment of the Uyghur Muslims.

For anyone who has been living under a rock for the last few years, the Uyghurs are of Turkic descent, native to various parts of Asia and primarily Muslim. Anywhere from 120,000 to 1 million Uyghurs are kept in detention camps, and despite the reports of widespread rape in these “re-education facilities,” their birth rates have plummeted through forced sterilizations and abortions. The CCP has reportedly gone so far as to compile a DNA database to track down anyone of Uyghur descent, and the Uyghurs spend their lives under massive state surveillance. Obviously, Muslims in other countries would find these kinds of abuses intolerable, as should any decent human being.

What many may not know is that the CCP is actively trying to hunt down Uyghurs outside their borders. Dorsey reveals that China has demanded other countries expel Uyghur Muslims irrespective of any ties those Uyghurs have to China at all, which shows remarkable hubris on their part. It makes sense, given the horrific treatment of the Uyghurs, that the CCP might hope to woo the Taliban to its side through economic means and make the Yuan more important than any ties the Taliban might feel toward violently oppressed followers of Islam inside China’s borders. Dorsey expects that eventually the CCP may even try to use the ties it is now building to demand the Taliban expel Uyghurs living in Afghanistan.

A final reason Fallon poses for the CCP reaching out to the Taliban is the simple fact that the CCP doesn’t have many other countries that actually like it. Graceffo likens them to Cambodia, which is truly an ally of the CCP and not just a trading partner or a country that owes China money. Dorsey breaks down how hesitant the CCP was to press its luck under the prior administration, but with President Biden reversing Trump’s policies toward China, the CCP feels emboldened to exert its influence around the world in countries like North Korea, Venezuela, and even Iran, which are useful to the CCP, even if they’re annoying. The CCP has no problem dealing with authoritarian regimes, being one itself, so it would naturally want to add a Taliban-led Afghanistan to its short list of friends.

The solution to the China-Taliban romance, according to Graceffo, is strengthening our relationship with Pakistan. In a time when the United States has two black eyes on the world stage, Pakistan still actually likes us, and would prefer working with us to working with the CCP. Whether our myopic president is able to see that, still remains in question. But given his foreign policy track record, I don’t hold out much hope.

This episode outlines so succinctly the dangers of the CCP solidifying relations with the Taliban that it must be shared far and wide, particularly with anyone who is blindly following the mainstream media’s attempts to turn attention away from Afghanistan. The threats to U.S. interests do not lie merely with the danger of another terrorist attack coming out of Afghanistan and hitting our shores, but to the stability of the entire region and the danger of countries like Pakistan falling under further influence of the CCP. “The Wide Angle” gives a much deeper look at this issue than you’re likely to find in the United States outside of EpochTV, and needs to be seen by the largest audience possible.

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Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.