The retreat from Afghanistan does not sit well with the CIA and other secret services. They know that the Taliban will soon overwhelm the Afghan government and again rule the country. But they want to keep their foothold in Afghanistan to continue their meddling and to act against various presumed enemies be they Iran, Pakistan or China. There is also the drug business which makes for some nice off-the-books funding.
The China Mirage ends with a warning for today. Bradley writes that, “from those early days [19th century] until now, America has dispatched its hopeful sons and daughters to faraway Asia in search of a mirage that never was. And never will be.” That mirage is the idea of China as moldable in American hands. Now, according to Bradley, we have entered another disappointment phase as an ascendant China has gone about its business of expanding its economy and hence its worldwide influence. The danger is that Washington will not get over its disappointment. Bradley in fact describes the current situation—where the U.S. encircles China—as akin to dry tinder ready to spark a war.