Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Children look at a passing aircraft at a makeshift camp for displaced Afghans on Saturday. Photo: Marcus Yam/LA Times, via Getty Images

When venture capitalist Peter Pham spoke to Axios last night, he knew he had to call his father, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. But he was nervous about conjuring tough memories and painful empathies.

What he's saying: "I know this stuff's hard for him, particularly the idea of people being left in the lurch ... Hopefully we can all agree that those people who truly put their lives at risk to be on our side aren't left behind," Pham said.

Pham is best-known as an extroverted staple of the Los Angeles startup scene, co-founding a venture incubator/VC firm whose portfolio companies have included Dollar Shave Club, Bird, Liquid Death Mountain Water and PlayVS.

  • He's also a refugee, born in a Pennsylvania camp just one month after the fall of Saigon.
  • His father was a commander in the South Vietnamese navy, and his final military responsibility was evacuating more than two dozen ships on April 29, 1975. These were relatively small boats that should have each held hundreds of people, but in total carried tens of thousands. "It's like those airport videos out of Kabul, packing every possible inch of space," Pham said.
  • They set sail to the Philippines, but were unable to port until swapping out Vietnamese flags for American flags they managed to secure. Then onto Guam, where Pham's mother lied about how far along her pregnancy was in order to board a flight to the U.S.
  • In Pennsylvania, the Pham family was sponsored by an associate of John F. Lehman — a future U.S. Navy secretary and private equity investor who had flown a couple of missions with Pham's father.
  • Pham's father went from commanding naval ships to initially working at a fried chicken fast-food restaurant. His mother would become a social worker (as would his father). His brother would become his high school's valedictorian, but held off on going to a four-year college so that he could help work and support the family.

Pham says he and his family are "proud Americans" and "beyond, constantly grateful" that the U.S. kept its promises in 1975 to those who fought alongside it. But he sounds downright disgusted with what's happened over the past few days.

  • "How could we be leaving the translators behind? These people and their families who had been applying for visas for months, who picked a side — our side — knowing that they'd become enemies of the state and targets if the side they picked lost? Vietnam was different. It was a real surprise, and people still got out."

The bottom line: Peter Pham is a quintessential U.S. success story, rising from a refugee camp into the 1%; helping to create innovative new businesses and jobs for other Americans. The question now for America, including its politicians and pundits, is if it will enable future Peter Phams, or leave them to die in the streets of Kabul.

Go deeper

FBI director: Domestic terrorism cases have surged since 2020

Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Sept. 21. Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before a Senate committee Tuesday that the agency's domestic terrorism caseload has "exploded" in size since spring of 2020.

Why it matters: The Jan. 6 Capitol riot refocused attention on the issue of domestic terrorism and security, but Wray's testimony points to a trend that pre-dates the insurrection.

19 mins ago - World

UN: Taliban nominates new envoy, asks to speak at General Assembly meeting

Afghanistan's current UN ambassador Ghulam M. Isaczai. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations said Tuesday that the Taliban has asked to speak at the United Nations General Assembly's meeting this week, AP reports.

Why it matters: The move marks a direct challenge to Afghanistan's currently accredited UN ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, whom the Taliban says no longer represents Afghanistan.

DOJ sues American Airlines, JetBlue to block "unprecedented" alliance

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued American Airlines and JetBlue to block an "unprecedented series of agreements" that will consolidate the two airlines' operations in Boston and New York City.

Why it matters: The civil antitrust complaint alleges that the planned Northeast Alliance (NEA) "will cause hundreds of millions of dollars in harm to air passengers across the country through higher fares and reduced choice," the DOJ said in a release.