TYRANTS across the world are set to exploit America’s weakness following the shambolic fall of Afghanistan, experts warn.
As Joe Biden’s US retreats, countries such as Iran, China, Russia and North Korea are forging ahead with ramping up their military — at a pace that until recently would have sparked alarm bells in Washington DC.
After Al-Qaeda hijackers slaughtered nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001, the US instantly launched its “war on terror”.
Soon after President George W Bush launched his battle against “weapons of mass destruction” and the “Axis of Evil” which included Iran and North Korea.
But nearly 20 years on, the chaotic fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban has, for now, shattered the post-Cold War image of the invincible US mega-power.
Meanwhile, emboldened foes of the West such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea can now smell blood in the water and are circling.
Already, they are racing to create massive weapons arsenals just as American steps back as the world’s policeman.
Whether it is a new world order, it might be more like a ‘new world of disorder’… it could get quite turbulent for a while
Dr Nigel Gould-Davies
Dr Nigel Gould-Davies, a senior analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told The Sun Online the chaotic fall of Afghanistan would be viewed as American weakness.
He said: “Of course if your adversary shows who shows these negative qualities then you will take advantage.
“They will feel embolden and try to test whether Americans really do maintain resolve and strength and commitment.”
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Dr Gould-Davies, added: “We are entering an unsettled condition. There will be more contests rather than fewer. It could get quite turbulent for a while.
“Whether it is a new world order, it might be more like a ‘new world of disorder’.”
Meanwhile, strongmen including Vladimir Putin are flexing their military muscles and bolstering their arsenals.
His navy has now added two more nuke submarines to Russia’s growing arsenal — with missiles capable of wiping out US cities.
Putin is planning to boost his army by 60,000 troops over the next four years in a bid to scare Nato, which is struggling to get its second-largest economy, Germany, to pay its far share of the defence of the European continent.
In a dig at Washington, Paris and London, Moscow even offered warm words for Afghanistan’s new rulers, with Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, praising the Taliban for “immaculately” upholding its side of the Doha peace agreement.
It comes as relations with the West have plunged to post-Cold War lows after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.
Now, with the American superpower seemingly taking the back seat, fears are growing for the rest of Ukraine — which is run by a pro-West government.
Vladimir Putin and his government have been finding the Afghan debacle as ‘encouraging’[/caption]
Dr Gould-Davies said there was a “degree of satisfaction and gloating”‘ about the Taliban rout of the US-backed government.
He said: “Influential voices that are saying well look, this has implications for American resolve and commitment elsewhere.”
A case in point, Dr Gould-Davies says, is a hardliner called Nicolia Patrochev, who is a secretary at the Russian security council.
He said: “He has very expressively warned Ukraine and said ‘Ukraine well look you may find yourself in due course in the same situation as Afghanistan: America may simply disappear’.”
The results are already deeply negative, and China and Russia are invested in making them worse
Professor Anthony Glees, from Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, told The Sun Online: “Biden has made it clear that the era where ‘the US uses military power to remake other countries is over.
“Instead, America would lead by ‘speaking out’ by the use of ‘over the horizon’ attacks (drone attacks) and ‘economic’ and ‘cyber’ to assert US authority.
“We are so vulnerable to our adversaries and enemies precisely because we have global interests.
“This is whether it’s Putin who sees that Nato may not protect the new democracies of eastern Europe from his missiles and special forces or Xi Jinping who wants to advance Chinese hegemony throughout the Asia-Pacific using Chinese cash alongside Chinese armed might.”
Former White House military adviser, John Bolton, said the West’s main global adversaries were already seeking to reap advantages from the gaping power vacuum.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he said: “The results are already deeply negative, and China and Russia are invested in making them worse. Over to us.”
Like Russia, China seems to be cozying up to the Taliban, with the country’s foreign minister Wang Yi holding a profile meeting with nine jihadi representatives at the end of July.
The unprecedented gathering saw Chinese state councillor Wang publicly recognise the terror group as a legitimate political force in Afghanistan.
Taliban leaders have confirmed they hope to work with their “great neighbour” China in a further blow to the West.
“We are ready to exchange views with China on how to forge ahead in terms of boosting our mutual relations, establishing peace in the region, and its assistance in the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told This Week in Asia.
President Xi Jinping has been increasingly expanding China’s military and political power across the world[/caption]
China and Russia staged joint war games in a chilling message to the West as the Taliban seized Afghanistan[/caption]
The Taliban spokesman added: “China, our great neighbouring country, can have a constructive and positive role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and also in the economic development and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan. It is expected [that] China [will] play its role”
Now, Beijing has emerged as a leading voice calling for the Taliban to be given a chance to prove themselves.
Chairman Xi told the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call on Sunday that the international community should engage with Afghanistan’s new rulers and “positively guide” them.
As America’s prestige as the invincible superpower takes a knocking, Beijing is busy launching what is thought to be its biggest nuclear expansion ever as it builds a colossal missile base.
In the desert, 1,200 miles west of Beijing, the Chinese government has been digging a new field of what observers say are 110 silos for launching nuclear missiles — the second such field discovered by analysts surveying commercial satellite images in recent weeks.
Add to this, an estimated 13,000 troops from the People’s Liberation Army last month joined the Russian Army for huge war games.
KIM REOPENS NUKE FACTORY
Meanwhile, it is feared the fall of Kabul into the Taliban’s hands could encourage North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
At the start of July, Kim Jong-un appeared to restart operations at his nuclear reactor that’s been shut down for three years after the tyrant struck a peace deal with ex-US president Donald Trump.
The reopening of what is effectively a nuke bomb factory happened roughly at the same time the US fully vacated its largest military base, Bagram Airfield before handing control to the doomed Afghan forces.
The plutonium-producing reactor at Yongbyon has stood inactive since the Trump-Kim deal struck in December 2018 — but last month it was reportedly discharging cooling water, according to a watchdog.
Plutonium — one of the two key ingredients used to build nuclear weapons along with highly enriched uranium — is produced at the complex, which has a 5-megawatt reactor.
The complex, which North Korea calls the heart of its nuclear program and research, has been at the centre of international concerns for decades.
Kim Jong-un has reopened his nuke factory breaking a promise with ex-president Donald Trump to close it[/caption]
Operations have reportedly restarted Kim Jong-un’s main nuke site[/caption]
A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency reveals this and other activity indicates Kim’s nuke site is back in action, in a development branded “deeply troubling” by the organisation.
The Asian country also looks set to use the crisis to press its anti-US rhetoric, by demanding American troops leave South Korea.
Earlier this month, Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong warned: “For peace to settle on the peninsula, it is imperative for the US to withdraw its aggression troops and war hardware deployed in South Korea.”
IRAN: US DEFEAT OPPORTUNITY
Afghanistan’s neighbouring country Iran, meanwhile, welcomed the departure of US forces — which it branded a “defeat” — and pledged to work with Taliban leaders.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said: “America’s military defeat must become an opportunity to restore life, security, and durable peace in Afghanistan.”
In a show of force, Iran’s Air Defence Force has been testing a new high-speed missile system.
Second Brigadier General Mohammad Youssef Khoshqalb, deputy chief of operations at the Army’s Air Defense Force, said for the first time the “new generation” system was put under the control of the integrated air defense network to intercept, identify, engage and destroy designated targets, reports PressTV.
The missile system, Mersad-16, is capable of travelling at high speeds and low altitudes, with a more optimised version set to be unveiled.
In June, fake footage of the US Capitol being blown up was released by Iran.
The video, leaked on state-controlled Iranian TV before Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s speech, depicted a missile being fired as the Washington DC building was engulfed in flames.
And this month, Iran resumed fuel exports to Afghanistan as relationships grow between Tehran and the Taliban.
The theocracy sits on the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves.
But the latest round of US sanctions imposed by former president Trump in 2018, has significantly reduced Iranian oil exports.
Yet the Taliban’s willingness to trade with Tehran gives the country rare access to US dollars needed to import essential goods.
The arrangement also aids the triumphant militants, who are cut off from international trade.
Iran appears to be cozying up to the Taliban and has resumed fuel exprts to Afghanistan[/caption]
Iran released footage of a fake attack on the US Capitol[/caption]