Kamala Harris tells us to buy Christmas presents now, warns about climate change and China - but fails to address catastrophe in Afghanistan in Singapore speech

 Kamala Harris discussed Christmas shopping and climate change but failed to mention the current crisis in Afghanistan during her major foreign policy speech on Monday.

Harris, addressing a roundtable of business leaders before her speech, warned that climate change and the pandemic have contributed to supply chain issues, The New York Times reported, and suggested parents should consider getting Christmas presents now. 

'The stories that we are now hearing about the caution that if you want to have Christmas toys for your children, it might now be might be the time to start buying them, because the delay may be many, many months,' she said.

'So across the board, people are experiencing the issue. 

'And, of course, the climate crisis is fueling a lot of this. When we look at the stronger typhoons that have disrupted shipping lanes and sea level rise, which threatens port infrastructure as an example. So these are the many issues that are that are causing these disruptions.'  

The Vice President who kicked off her week-long Asia tour on Sunday, also delivered a sharp rebuke to China for its incursions in the South China Sea, warning its actions there amount to 'coercion' and 'intimidation' and affirming that the U.S. will support its allies in the region against Beijing's advances.

But she once again dodged the most weighty international issue of the moment: Afghanistan. Harris has been criticized in the U.S. for her silence on the issue, leaving the remarks to figures such as Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser; Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin; and Joe Biden himself.  

Harris also remained quiet on comments made by Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday.

Mr Schiff claimed that President Biden is 'unlikely' to meet his August 31 deadline to evacuate US citizens and their allies from Afghanistan.

Schiff said a full evacuation was 'possible' but 'very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIV's, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders, women leaders.' 

Despite not mentioning the chaos in Kabul during her address in Singapore, Kamala Harris was praised by President Biden during a visit by the WNBA - during which he joked he may need a job soon. 

Elsewhere, Fox News host Sean Hannity condemned President Biden on Sunday for creating 'a hostage situation on a massive scale' over his seemingly unmovable August 31 deadline. 

The vice president is pictured holding a roundtable meeting with business leaders - a meeting at which she warned of threats to the supply chain from the pandemic and climate change, and recommended parents consider buying Christmas presents now

The vice president is pictured holding a roundtable meeting with business leaders - a meeting at which she warned of threats to the supply chain from the pandemic and climate change, and recommended parents consider buying Christmas presents now


Harris is pictured speaking during the roundtable discussion with business leaders

Harris is pictured speaking during the roundtable discussion with business leaders 


In what was billed as a major foreign policy speech, Vice President Kamala Harris again failed to mention Afghanistan. 

'We know that Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea,' she said. 

'Beijing's actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.'

Harris, who later on today will travel on to Vietnam, declared that the U.S. 'stands with our allies and our partners' in the face of threats from China.

The speech sought to cement the U.S. commitment to supporting its allies in an area of growing importance to the Biden administration, which has made countering China's influence globally a centerpiece of its foreign policy. 

And it came during a critical moment for the United States, as the Biden administration seeks to further solidify its pivot towards Asia while America's decades-long focus on the Middle East comes to a messy end with the chaotic withdrawal from Kabul. 

As Kamala appeared to dodge the Afghanistan catastrophe during her speech, Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was 'unlikely Joe Biden would be able to evacuate every US citizen and their allies before his August 31 cut-off point. 

Speaking outside the US Capitol, Schiff said: 'I am encouraged to see the numbers of people evacuated, increasing readily to the point where we evacuated 11,000 people in a single day,' Schiff continued.

'Nonetheless, given the logistical difficulties of moving people to the airport and the limited number of workarounds, it's hard for me to see that being fully complete by the end of the month. And I'm certainly of the view that we maintain a military presence as long as it's necessary to get all U.S. persons out and to meet our moral and ethical obligation to our Afghan partners.'

He added: 'Given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIVs, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders women leaders, it's hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month,' he said.

Harris underscored this shift, calling the Indo-Pacific 'critically important to our nation's security and prosperity.' 

She said that while the U.S. is focused on closing out its Afghanistan engagement by evacuating as many people as possible, 'it is also imperative that as we address developments in one region, we continue to advance our interests in other regions, including this region.'

Her rebuke to Beijing amounted to her sharpest comments yet on the U.S. foe. 

But Harris was careful to emphasize that the U.S. is seeking greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific region not just to counter China, but to advance an 'optimistic vision that we have for our participation and partnership in the region.' 

In deference to Singapore's staunch neutrality in the U.S.-China dispute, Harris also affirmed that the U.S. isn't looking to 'make anyone choose between countries.'

Speaking in a country that serves as the anchor of the U.S. naval presence in Southeast Asia, Harris emphasized the significance the region holds for U.S. defense. 

She also emphasized the significant U.S. economic ties there, noting that Southeast Asia represents the America's fourth largest export market.


The vice president is on her second foreign trip, after a visit to Guatemala and Mexico in June

The vice president is on her second foreign trip, after a visit to Guatemala and Mexico in June


Harris's trip will move on on Tuesday to Vietnam. It is designed to show U.S. commitment to the region, in the face of multiple crises - not least in Afghanistan

Harris's trip will move on on Tuesday to Vietnam. It is designed to show U.S. commitment to the region, in the face of multiple crises - not least in Afghanistan

Harris speaks to troops on Monday as she visits the USS Tulsa in Singapore - the first stop of her week-long Asia trip

Harris speaks to troops on Monday as she visits the USS Tulsa in Singapore - the first stop of her week-long Asia trip

Harris speaks to troops on Monday in Singapore, telling them they are carrying out a vital strategic job

Harris speaks to troops on Monday in Singapore, telling them they are carrying out a vital strategic job

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin (pictured) said on Monday that the U.S. had done 'unscrupulous and dishonest things' in Afghanistan and called on the nation to help rebuild

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin (pictured) said on Monday that the U.S. had done 'unscrupulous and dishonest things' in Afghanistan and called on the nation to help rebuild


On Monday, Harris told sailors aboard a U.S. combat ship at the Changi naval base in Singapore that 'a big part of the history of the 21st century will be written about this very region' and that their work defending the region was pivotal.

'It is in our vital interest to stand united with our allies and our partners in Southeast Asia in defense of a free and open Indo-Pacific,' she said.

Harris also met Monday with Singapore President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

The vice president's office announced a number of agreements out of that meeting aimed at combating cyberthreats, tackling climate change, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating supply chain issues.

After her speech Tuesday, Harris held a roundtable discussion with business leaders on supply chain issues. 

Later, she planned to travel to Vietnam, where she will meet with top officials Wednesday.

President Joe Biden himself has repeatedly emphasized his focus on China as one of America's main adversaries. 

In recent months, his administration has ramped up outreach to the Indo-Pacific region, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Austin both visiting the area in the spring and summer. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also held a number of virtual meetings with Southeast Asian officials earlier this month.

The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, however, complicated that message of support to the region, raising questions about the U.S. commitment to its allies. 

While Biden said last week that an indefinite engagement would have benefited 'true strategic competitors' China and Russia, China has seized on the images of violence from the evacuation to slam the U.S. for its engagement there.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday that the U.S. had done 'unscrupulous and dishonest things' in Afghanistan and called on the nation to help rebuild.

'The United States is the root cause and the biggest external factor in the Afghan issue,' Wenbin said. 

'It cannot just run away like this.'

But Harris, during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Lee on Monday, said that her presence in the country, combined with the agreements around greater cooperation that the Biden administration has pursued with Indo-Pacific countries, speak 'volumes in terms of the integrity of the relationships that the United States has around the world on many issues.'

While back in the US, Fox News host Sean Hannity condemned President Biden for creating 'a hostage situation on a massive scale' over plans to withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31 despite warnings that not all Americans will be rescued.

President Joe Biden poses with the Seattle Storm after their 2020 WNBA Championship win at the White House

President Joe Biden poses with the Seattle Storm after their 2020 WNBA Championship win at the White House

President Biden speaks with point guard Sue Bird during an event to honor the 2020 WNBA champions Seattle Storm in the East Room of the White House on Monday

President Biden speaks with point guard Sue Bird during an event to honor the 2020 WNBA champions Seattle Storm in the East Room of the White House on Monday


'Our fellow Americans are behind enemy lines and the hard Taliban deadline is approaching in eight days. A horrific crisis, no end in sight,' he said on his show Monday night.

Hannity says the speed of the rescue efforts is falling short.

'Every American who wants to get home can get home, but then Joe Biden said last week I can't guarantee the outcome,' Hannity said.

'You know it's irresponsible? Abandoning the Air Force base leaving thousands of unarmed fellow citizens helpless to the whims of the radical terrorist group and the Taliban. The only way any American can even make it to the airport is if, and only if, the Taliban allows them and they're not allowing everybody.'

He continued: 'You know what else is irresponsible? Abandoning interpreters and translators and drivers, each one that put their necks on the line to help US troops over the 20-year period of time. Now the French President Emmanuel Macron is now lecturing and accusing him of moral cowardice that reminded Mr. Biden of the collective moral responsibility towards the Afghan men and women, we cannot abandon them.'

As criticism was being levelled his way, President Biden was busy praising Kamala during an event with the WNBA champions Seattle Storm on Monday and joked he may need a job soon, volunteering his services as ball boy.

Biden thanked the four-time championship women's basketball team for being an inspiration to women and girls around the world, saying it was important because 'until they see it, till they watch, it becomes real.'

'That's why we have a female vice president,' he added, saying he expects 'we're going to have some presidents pretty soon.'

Biden was in a jovial, relaxed mood as he praised the basketball team, who stood behind him, wearing face masks as he honored them during an event at the White House. The president has been dealing with the Taliban take over of Afghanistan and a revolt by moderate Democrats against his expansive $3.5 trillion budget plan on Capitol Hill.

But he was in a jokey mood with the Seattle Storm, telling them: ''I may need work after this. I'd make a good ball boy.'

Kamala Harris tells us to buy Christmas presents now, warns about climate change and China - but fails to address catastrophe in Afghanistan in Singapore speech Kamala Harris tells us to buy Christmas presents now, warns about climate change and China - but fails to address catastrophe in Afghanistan in Singapore speech Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:05 Rating: 5

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