What Every Investor Needs to Know About Afghanistan and China

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

“Those who are most loudly criticizing Biden’s troop withdrawal are those most responsible for creating this mess, to begin with.” — Warren Coats, Middle East monetary expert

“China’s dictator Xi Jinping is the most dangerous enemy of open societies in the world today.” — George SorosThe Wall Street Journal

What do Islamic extremism, Chinese Communism and the COVID-19 pandemic have in common?

They are all the result of aggressive, authoritarian regimes, with leaders who are bent on destroying individual liberty and our way of life. George Soros, who has recently rediscovered his anti-Communist roots, said this about China’s President Xi. However, it could equally apply to the Taliban and other ruthless totalitarian leaders around the world who head such closed societies when an individual is “subordinated” to the one-party state.

“It is superior, in this view, because it is more disciplined, stronger and therefore bound to prevail in a contest,” Soros wrote.

We witnessed the victory of a one-party state in Afghanistan this past week — the Taliban outlasted the greatest military force in the world.

See my “You Blew It” column below on how we could have achieved victory in Afghanistan.

George Soros Issues Scathing Indictment of Communist China

In many ways, the threat from Communist China is much greater than the threat from the Islamic State.

Last week George Soros wrote a devastating op-ed against Chinese dictator Xi Jinping in The Wall Street Journal. “I consider Mr. Xi the most dangerous enemy of open societies in the world,” Soros wrote.

According to Soros, “Relations between China and the U.S. are rapidly deteriorating and may lead to war. Mr. Xi has made clear that he intends to take possession of Taiwan within the next decade, and he is increasing China’s military capacity accordingly.”

Xi Jinping devoted his life to undoing Deng Xiaoping’s influence on the development of China. His personal animosity toward Deng has played a large part in this, but other factors are equally important. He is intensely nationalistic, and he wants China to become the dominant power in the world. He is also convinced that the Chinese Communist Party needs to be a Leninist party, willing to use its political and military power to impose its will,” he added.

Geopolitical Hotspots: Special FreedomFest Sessions on China and the Middle East at the Las Vegas Money Show

How should investors react and protect their investments from the potential war and economic instability in Asia and the Middle East? Should you invest in oil, gold and technology?

We addressed these issues at last month’s FreedomFest in South Dakota. We had a record turnout of 2,757 registrations and more than 180 exhibitors.

Good news! Kim Githler, president of the MoneyShow, is a HUGE fan of FreedomFest, and she has asked me to put together several FreedomFest sessions at the Las Vegas MoneyShow to give investors an idea of what they missed in South Dakota last month.

I’ll be a keynote speaker at the Las Vegas MoneyShow, at Bally’s, Sept. 12-14, along with Steve Forbes, Steve Moore, Keith Fitz-Gerald, Jim Woods and many others.

My sessions will cover the following: “Bears Make Headlines, Bulls Make Money: My Top Investment Recommendations from the Maxims of Wall Street” and “Puzzles and Paradoxes in Money & the Economy,” where I’ll be auctioning off a jar of pennies to demonstrate both the wisdom of crowds and the madness of crowds. If you haven’t seen this experiment, you’re in for a treat. I’ll also be moderating a debate on cryptocurrencies vs. gold.

LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR ONLY $149!

The registration fee was $149 if you registered TODAY. After Aug. 19, the rate goes up to $199. I urge you to register now: Secure an attendee pass here!

Special FreedomFest Sessions at Vegas Money Show

Kim Githler has arranged for us to have an exhibit booth at the Las Vegas MoneyShow, and we will offer several special sessions on Tuesday, Sept. 14, that were popular at this year’s FreedomFest.

In particular, we are arranging a special session on “Geopolitical Hotspots: China and the Middle East.” We will replay one of the most controversial debates, the “Great Wall of China Debate” between George Gilder, whose book “Beyond Google” was a bestseller in China, and Li Schoolland, a Chinese dissident who grew up during the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s. It is not to be missed!

I’ll also be speaking on my most popular session at FreedomFest: “My Most Successful Technique to Change the Minds of Students about Socialism, Keynesianism and the $15 Minimum Wage.” 

Again, register now for only $149 per person: Secure an attendee pass here! See you there!

You Blew it!

Biden Wasn’t the First to Blunder in Afghanistan

The Biden administration’s exit from Afghanistan was messy, irresponsible and shameful. It was reminiscent of our disastrous exit from Vietnam in 1975.

I was especially appalled at President Biden’s insults of the Afghan military, which had sacrificed 60,000 lives over the brutal 20-year war with the Taliban.

Was there nothing the United States could have done in winning the war against the Taliban and leaving Afghanistan a more civilized society? I fear we have done more harm than good and reignited Islamic extremism that will spread abroad.

The fact is that the U.S. military blundered repeatedly by adopting a nation-building approach to a country that really isn’t a country, but a group of tribal rivals.

Warren Coats is a monetary expert who graduated from the University of Chicago under the influence of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, then spent years advising governments in the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan. He wrote a blog that pinpointed the errors of the Bushes, Obama, Trump and Biden, and suggested a positive program of reform.

Coats wrote, “Rather than arm, train and support Afghan fighters in regions they cared about, we pulled together a national Army with the incentive of money. In addition, the broader Afghan public did not strongly support its corrupt government and could easily change sides.

“Moreover, warring tribes and political groups such as the Taliban have a long tradition of negotiating peaceful surrenders when the outcome seems clear.

“The initial blame for our failure to ‘build’ a strong government in Afghanistan falls on George W. Bush who gave in to the Cheney/Rumsfeld fantasies of American Imperialism and abandoned the original and sensible approach of American support of the Northern Alliance war against the Taliban.

“Its plan was for small teams of CIA officers, along with Green Berets and U.S. airpower, to assist the indigenous Afghan resistance — the Northern Alliance. Instead, we took over and occupied the country.

“Rather than work with and build from Afghanistan’s traditional tribal structures, we imposed an alien, centralized government that was not understood and was generally resented outside of Kabul. Rather than elevating village chiefs to govern provinces, for example, Kabul sent strangers to oversee areas they knew nothing about. Our ignorance and arrogance were mind-boggling but sadly typical. And our military — the best in the world for waging wars — is incompetent at nation-building, which should be the job of others. We couldn’t even build an Afghan Army in 20 years.

“Those who are most loudly criticizing Biden’s troop withdrawal are those most responsible for creating this mess, to begin with.”

Coats’ policy reminds me a lot of Hayekian decentralized decision-making that the Austrian School is famous for. Rather than focus on a national approach, the U.S. military should have encouraged local decentralized tribal governmental action in Afghanistan (and Iraq).

What a lost opportunity that cost us way too much in blood and treasure, when a real decentralized solution was at hand.

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