You Don’t Need To Go To Kabul To See The End Of American Order. It’s Right Here Among Us

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The nation’s attention these past two weeks has focused nearly exclusively on Kabul, and rightly so given that the city has become the scene of the largest hostage situation in American history and a vivid image of the decline of Pax Americana abroad.

Yet Americans don’t need to travel 7,500 miles to get a first-hand glimpse of the end of American order. In many of our own country’s major cities, gangs of masked thugs and criminals do what they please — and our far-better-armed police aren’t allowed to stop it.

Take one August Sunday in Portland, Oregon, where two days ago masked gangs roamed freely beating people, including women and reporters, and even opened fire downtown. Meanwhile, the police, who have been threatened with government action if they intervene, are nowhere to be seen.

The results of this intentional breakdown in order are as immediate as they are sickening: Pitched battles between masked and helmeted left- and right-wing mobs raged across city blocks this weekend, with paintballs, pepper spray, fireworks, and beatings in broad daylight — and with limited-to-no police presence.

The press aren’t safe either, with one Antifa member trying to frighten independent journalist and photographer Maranie Staab from covering the violence. “You f-cking endangered people by flying to f-cking Colombia and endangering everyone by opening them up to COVID, you little slut,” he screamed at the Staab, referring to her June reporting on violence in South America.

Minutes later, Antifa members pepper-sprayed her, knocked her to the ground, and reportedly broke her phone and damaged her camera, yelling, “How many times do we have to f-cking tell you?”

After other reporters moved her away from the mob and were helping her wash out her eyes and mouth, an Antifa member sprayed them and their cameras with more paint. Police were nowhere to be seen.

That same day, during riots and demonstrations downtown, a man opened fire on Antifa members, who reportedly fired back. Police were nowhere to be seen, although they arrested one suspect minutes later.

So where are the police, exactly? Law and order have slowly, and then rapidly, broken down in Portland for years, with images of besieged courthouses, lawless “autonomous zones,” open drugs and violent crime, and roving, organized mobs hitting honest newspapers across the United States nearly every week. Indeed, Sunday’s festivities were organized to celebrate a violent clash that had taken place the year before.

Amid it all, local and national politicians have repeatedly attacked and undermined the men and women who maintain order at great personal risk, cutting the police budget by millions and threatening further cuts along the way.

Then on July 19, the governor signed a new law that opened police officers using non-lethal, anti-mob force to personal prosecution. This, independent journalist Andy Ngo reports, was “the final nail for an effective permanent police stand down.”

Therein lies an interesting connection to the most recent disaster we’ve been watching abroad: In Portland, city leaders demand say their refusal to back their own police or enforce their own laws “is a national problem that demands national resources,” adding that “the idea that Portland, or any city, can single handedly defeat white nationalism is a fallacy.” Across the country in Washington, White House leaders pretend 10-15,000 stranded Americans, a captured military base, hijacked American equipment in enemy hands, and outnumbered soldiers and Marines in a civilian airport surrounded by the Taliban is just what all withdrawals look like.

All of this is completely false, of course — both these crises, in their immediate senses, have been created by the foolish decisions of the people directly in charge of them. We don’t need a time traveler from 2010 to teach us how to maintain peace in our cities, just as we don’t need Alexander the Great to teach us to remove civilians and equipment before the military departs and to hold bases until they aren’t needed anymore.

Our country here and abroad is held captive by radical and lying politicians unwilling to tell the truth or face it. Drive into your closest major city anywhere in the country and there’s a good chance it’s gotten a lot worse than it was just a few years ago. Look at any foreign paper and see that our word is worth a lot less than it was just a few weeks ago.

Neither of these is, or were, inevitable: They are the conscious decisions of a country in decline. We don’t have much time to put things right, but we know what we have to do to fix these things; the answers aren’t arcane. It already might be too late, but it’s worth the fight.

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