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What We’re Reading

Whither Biden-Harris? … the secret history of diplomatic failure in Afghanistan … Newsom 2024? … 10 years without Christopher Hitchens … America’s vulnerable homeland: Here are this week’s must-read stories.


  • Kamala Harris told the Wall Street Journal: ““I’m not going to talk about our conversations, but I will tell you this without any ambiguity: We do not talk about nor have we talked about re-election.” The vice president, who has been battered by months of poor poll numbers and speculation that she could dropped from the national ticket entirely, caveated that it was all about the pandemic: “Because we haven’t completed our first year and we’re in the middle of a pandemic.” READ HERE.
  • Steve Coll breaks down the extraordinary end of America’s escapade in Afghanistan, in the New Yorker: “[Former Afghan President] Ghani wanted to go upstairs to collect some belongings, but Mohib worried that every minute they delayed they risked touching off a panic and a revolt by armed guards. Ghani climbed into a car, without so much as his passport. … At about two-thirty, the pilots started the engines. The three Mi-17s lifted slowly above the gardens of the palace, banked north, and flew over Kabul’s rooftops toward the Salang Pass and, beyond that, to the Amu Darya River and Uzbekistan.” READ HERE.
  • Jeremy B. White dishes in Politico on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s resurgent ambition. “The Democratic governor is now trying to affirm his position as head of the blue-state brigade, seemingly itching for a fight from any red state. … Newsom still dismisses talk of White House ambitions, as was the case last week, but his actions often suggest otherwise.” READ HERE.
  • Tomiwa Owolade regales us in UnHerd on the late contrarian writer Christopher Hitchens, dead ten years ago this month. “I was 13 when I first discovered him. He had a similar appeal to me as James Bond: the willingness to engage in combat, the charm and sophistication of a worldly bruiser, even the booze.” READ HERE.
  • Hal Brands warns in Bloomberg the next big war could go down in the United States itself. “There is growing concern that China could use swarms of small drones, launched from container ships, to hit targets on the U.S. West Coast or Hawaii. …For one thing, the number of rivals that can threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons in a conflict is increasing. China, which traditionally had a small and vulnerable nuclear arsenal, is rapidly expanding it; Beijing wants to ensure it has could strike the U.S. in a conflict over Taiwan or any other hotspot.” READ HERE.