Victory over neoliberalism in Chile, and our Taliban allies
Last week the socialists won in Bolivia. Today was Chile's turn.
Chileans voted overwhelmingly to replace their military dictatorship-era constitution in a referendum, the electoral service said on Sunday evening, citing partial results.
Out of the 11% of votes counted so far, a total of 77.27% had approved the option of a fresh charter to replace one drafted in 1980 under the right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Unofficial tallies by local broadcasters suggested the vast majority of voters had also picked a specially-elected body of citizens to draft the new constitution, rather than a mixed body of lawmakers and citizens, news agency Reuters reported.
Center-right President Sebastian Pinera pledged the referendum in a bid to quell mass protests that broke out in 2019 against the country's neoliberal economic policies.
Many Chileans see the current constitution as deeply flawed. It lacks fundamental social rights, particularly for Indigenous peoples. It was also created to limit state intervention to a minimum and privatized the social welfare system, said political scientist Gabriel Negretto, a former adviser to the United Nations.
As a result, Chile suffers from poorly funded public education and health systems, high costs of living, appallingly low pensions and high levels of private debt.
In completely unrelated news, it seems that we've been helping the Taliban.
What Frye didn’t know was that U.S. Special Operations forces were preparing to intervene in the fighting in Konar province in eastern Afghanistan — not by attacking both sides, but by using strikes from drones and other aircraft to help the Taliban. “What we’re doing with the strikes against ISIS is helping the Taliban move,” a member of the elite Joint Special Operations Command counterterrorism task force based at Bagram air base explained to me earlier this year, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the assistance was secret. The air power would give them an advantage by keeping the enemy pinned down.
Last fall and winter, as the JSOC task force was conducting the strikes, the Trump administration’s public line was that it was hammering the Taliban “harder than they have ever been hit before,” as the president put it — trying to force the group back to the negotiating table in Doha, Qatar, after President Trump put peace talks there on hold and canceled a secretly planned summit with Taliban leaders at Camp David. Administration officials signaled that they didn’t like or trust the Taliban and that, until it made more concessions, it could expect only blistering bombardment.
In reality, even as its warplanes have struck the Taliban in other parts of Afghanistan, the U.S. military has been quietly helping the Taliban to weaken the Islamic State in its Konar stronghold and keep more of the country from falling into the hands of the group, which — unlike the Taliban — the United States views as an international terrorist organization with aspirations to strike America and Europe. Remarkably, it can do so without needing to communicate with the Taliban, by observing battle conditions and listening in on the group. Two members of the JSOC task force and another defense official described the assistance to me this year in interviews for a book about the war in Konar, all of them speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk about it