Did Biden Lose Afghanistan?

- NATIONAL INTEREST - AUG 15, 2021 - Jacob Heilbrunn -

In boldly acknowledging that America lost the war in Afghanistan, Biden runs the risk of looking like a loser.


On July 8 President Joe Biden declared, "There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy in the—of the United States from Afghanistan....The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely." Well. A few weeks later and it looks like the Taliban do indeed own, or at least control, the whole country as America scrambles to extricate its remaining embassy personnel along with its interpreters from Kabul.


Is it Biden’s fault? Writing in the Washington Post, Max Boot says you bet it is. According to Boot, “This is the worst U.S. foreign policy failure since the fall of Saigon in 1975—worse even than the fall of Mosul, Iraq, in 2014 to the Islamic State, another disaster that might have been averted by keeping a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq.” Boot contends that Biden did not have to abide by the deal that Donald Trump signed with the Taliban. There was no cogent reason to withdraw American troops, which amounted to a paltry 2,500. A stalemate would have prevailed.


This is, in essence, the argument that the military chiefs, including General Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, made to Biden. He was told that the Taliban would prevail absent American forces. Biden overruled the generals. He was not about to continue hoisting the gonfalon of intervention in Afghanistan.


What surprised the Biden administration was not that the Taliban are on the march but that they are marching with such rapidity. Biden wanted a decent interval. He did not get it. Instead, the interval turned out to be a nanosecond. The result is that the Administration was caught flatfooted—and is struggling to explain why.


It is now clear that there was no Afghan state, no government, no military. These were convenient fictions, phantasms, if you will, that were invoked by successive administrations to justify America’s presence as an occupying power. But no sooner did Biden pullout than the entire Potemkin village came crashing down.


LEIA MAIS:

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/did-biden-lose-afghanistan-191866


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