We Americans like to think that whatever mistakes were made in Afghanistan, it was more worth it than not. If one is on the Republican side of thinking then America getting out under President Biden was seen for the mistakes, perceived failures etc as a way to emphasize negative thinking about all things Democrat. If one was on the Democrat side the view was far more ‘we had to get out and there were bound to be problems but we should never have been there in the first place and thank God we are out of that Republican mess ‘.
The one fact that neither Republican nor Democratic thinking wants to face is that the majority of the Afghans (at least the ones that make a difference) preferred the Taliban to the American or American backed government and that is why the Taliban took over so quickly. That is not to say that the majority preferred the Taliban for what they stood for but the majority knew that peace would never come as long as the American presence persisted. That majority could accept the loss of women’s rights, democracy etc more than they could accept forever war. That would be the same whoever was President.
What Biden had the guts to do was face the reality that the war had been stupid for a very long time (both Republicans and Democrats would agree on that if their political party occupied the White House) AND there was no good way of getting out BUT getting out was the only thing that made sense for the USA to do. So bite the bullet, take the criticism and stop the stupidity. Trump was right – the US should get out of Afghanistan. The problem was that he didn’t do it.
It has been argued that the US getting out of Afghanistan emboldened Russia and China by thinking America was on the retreat. In fact both Russia and China preferred the US being in Afghanistan as it sapped American resources, turned Americans off the idea of war, and turned people against American intervention especially in the countries that we were waring in. They know that within a few years Americans will forget about Afghanistan, and the futility of such wars and once again be open to intervention. Both Russia and China WANT the US to be very hesitant to fight for “principle” in what they might think are far away countries – like Taiwan and Ukraine. They WANT America to be sapped of resources. AND they like American eyes focused on places other than them.
I would argue that getting out of Afghanistan made both Russia and China think they better act sooner than later before America reverts to its interventionist thinking. Hence Russian actions in Ukraine and Chinese actions re Taiwan.
The truth is US will be stronger militarily as a result of getting out of Afghanistan. That is the real fear of Russia and China. They can think long term – we think short term and the next election. Biden made the decision to do the smart thing. Will the “other side” criticize him for it? Yes, of course. That is American politics 2022.
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