World will suffer from Afghanistan debacle

Afghanistan: ‘America will pay a price for years to come,’ say experts

“The news and images so far suggest considerable damage to the moral leadership of the US in the world,” Henderson said. “The decision to withdraw after 20 years was at least explicable. The implementation has been a disaster.”


WASHINGTON – The US’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has cast a shadow over the Biden administration’s foreign policy. That the Taliban easily drove through Kabul to recapture the presidential palace is a blow for the administrations’ assessment.

On July 8, Biden was asked whether he believed a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable. “No, it is not,” he said. “The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped – as well-equipped as any army in the world – and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.”

“Do I trust the Taliban? No,” Biden continued. “But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped and more competent in terms of conducting war.”

It turned out to be yet another miscalculation by the US in Afghanistan. How didn’t the US see this coming? What could be the regional implications of the withdrawal?

The White House didn’t see this coming, “but the intelligence community almost certainly did,” Simon Henderson, a Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, told The Jerusalem Post.

“President Biden seems to have seen the withdrawal as important to his political reputation,” he said. “Perhaps, but he has made a huge mistake for the reputation of the United States. We will have to wait for leaks about which of his advisers suggested caution and who encouraged him.”

“The news and images so far suggest considerable damage to the moral leadership of the US in the world,” Henderson said. “The decision to withdraw after 20 years was at least explicable. The implementation has been a disaster.”

Michael O’Hanlon is a senior fellow and director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in US defense strategy, the use of military force and American national security policy.

“Some did see it coming,” he told the Post. “But President Biden decided it was okay to run this risk.”

“I disagree with him strongly and yet suspect that the damage for broader US foreign policy will be limited,” he said. “This was a special case.”

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said there is a significant disconnect between policy-makers and the military regarding the situation in Afghanistan, to say nothing of intelligence.

“Anyone with their eyes open could see this outcome coming from a mile away,” he told the Post. “But the political leadership wanted their withdrawal. This is a sign of poor interagency coordination, to put it mildly. To put it more bluntly, this is policy malpractice that was preventable. It will cost thousands of lives.”

“America will pay a price for this botched withdrawal for years to come,” Schanzer said. “The resurgence of the Taliban will have an impact on the global jihadist movement, which is now energized. The perception of a feckless America will embolden revisionist powers like China and Russia.

“Meanwhile, America’s allies in the Middle East are watching nervously, wondering when the next withdrawal may take place and whether that will leave them more exposed. This will prompt consideration of new alliance structures.”

According to John Hannah, a senior fellow at JINSA and a former US official, “As soon as President Biden announced last spring that US troops were abandoning Afghanistan, the final chapter that we’re watching unfold of a complete Taliban takeover was written.”

“Almost everyone inside the US government who studied Afghanistan closely understood this was coming if the US military very rapidly withdrew all support for the Afghan security forces, especially close air support and logistics,” he told the Post. “I don’t believe this was a major intelligence failure by the US military and intelligence agencies. They fully understood this could happen. It was purely a political decision by President Biden to ignore these warnings.”

“Biden has considered Afghanistan a lost cause and drain on US resources for more than a decade,” Hannah said. “He saw in former president [Donald] Trump’s commitment to have all US troops out by May 1, which he inherited, as a unique opportunity to fulfill his long-standing desire to end America’s military involvement in Afghanistan, and he jumped on it.”

“Biden made a conscious decision to accept that risk and the potential damage it could inflict on American foreign policy, as well as on his political support in the United States,” he said. “He likely believes that while the majority of the American people will feel badly about the horrors that now await the Afghan people, they will ultimately be supportive of the decision to finally end this forever war and stop pouring more US blood and treasure into what they consider a lost cause.”

“The total collapse of Afghanistan and return of the Taliban is a foreign-policy disaster for the United States,” Hannah said.

“The risk of Islamist terrorism will very likely increase, not just against governments throughout the Muslim world, but against the West as well,” he said. “American adversaries in places like Iran, Russia and China will be emboldened by the US defeat and humiliation and will seek to take advantage by filling the perceived vacuum of US leadership.

“American allies in the Middle East and around the world, who have hitched their own deterrence and security to US power and credibility, will shudder in concern and fear over what America’s abandonment of its long-standing allies in Afghanistan means for them,” Hannah said.

This entry was posted in Islam, Judaism, Middle East, Monotheistic Religions, Opinion, Recent Posts. Bookmark the permalink.