President Joe Biden insists his calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan has not diminished America’s global credibility.
He must be living on another planet.
U.S. allies and foes knew the Afghanistan withdrawal was coming. What they did not know is that Biden would withdraw with such chaotic disregard for American interests, honor, and innocent life. Nor did they expect that Biden would react with such petulance and scorn even Donald Trump can hardly rival when challenged on this record.
Questioned as to the morality of abandoning Afghan soldiers and intelligence officers who had fought and died alongside Americans for nearly 20 years, Biden simply declared them all to be cowards. Asked about the images of Afghan bodies flying off the wings of fleeing American planes, Biden angrily insisted it didn’t matter because the images were a few days old.
Asked to offer public leadership, Biden hid out in the forests of Camp David. It was only when the criticism became a cacophony that the president was finally shamed into returning to Washington. Witnessing the Taliban’s obstruction of U.S. and Afghan citizens seeking access to Kabul airport, Biden warned of consequences. But when witnessing harassment, Biden has done nothing.
This ignominious experience has taught other governments two things: Biden is unreliable as a leader and apparently detached from reality. It’s not a great look.
China now says Biden’s Afghan debacle shows Taiwan it can no longer rely on America. In response, Taiwan’s president says her nation must “be stronger, more united, and more resolute in protecting ourselves.” Taiwanese media has reported the defense ministry will unveil a special $7 billion missile procurement plan.
Nor are America’s NATO allies comfortable. The British Parliament was in an uproar last week, with one MP describing Biden’s conduct as “shameful.” Other NATO leaders are now pointing to Afghanistan as proof of the need for an independent European security strategy that would likely entail a closer European compromise with China. The connection point between America’s Afghanistan debacle and America’s top foreign policy priority is thus clear.
The broader question marks are abundant.
Can Israel still trust Biden’s commitment he will never allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons power? Or will Israel’s hawkish prime minister decide that only force can be trusted to deliver protection against a second Holocaust?
Will Ukraine still view Biden as its key means of deterring Russia? The question bears particular note in light of Biden’s previous weakness toward that democracy. After all, in recent months, we have seen the president cancel planned naval deployments in the Black Sea and gift Vladimir Putin with his Nord Stream 2 energy-blackmail pipeline.
Will India continue strengthening its strategic partnership with America? Or will its leaders judge from Biden’s unreliability they must instead compromise with China?
Witnessing the rubble of Biden’s Afghanistan strategy, will Putin be more or less likely to intimidate and subvert U.S. allies on his western flank? Will he be more or less likely to deploy his assassination squads across the globe?
Witnessing Biden’s failure to challenge the Taliban’s roadblocks, will Kim Jong Un be more or less likely to return to ballistic missile extortion?
Witnessing Biden’s hide-in-the-forest approach to leadership, will Xi Jinping be more or less likely to conduct cyber espionage and gunboat diplomacy?
Biden says the buck stops with him. For the future of American national security, that is the real problem.