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Opinion Biden’s ‘America First’ Policy on Afghanistan

09:40  19 september  2021
09:40  19 september  2021 Source:   theatlantic.com

The Latest: Pakistan says Afghanistan in crisis helps no one

  The Latest: Pakistan says Afghanistan in crisis helps no one ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s foreign minister says it is the collective responsibility of the international community to help Afghanistan to avert a humanitarian crisis. In a statement Friday, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that despite having limited resources, Pakistan a day earlier sent a plane carrying food and medicines to Kabul. Qureshi said more such aid will be dispatched to Afghanistan via land routes. Qureshi made his comments ahead of the visit of his Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Albares, who was expected to arrive in the capital, Islamabad, later Friday, for talks on Afghanistan.

Biden ’ s ‘ America First ’ Policy on Afghanistan . In particular, Biden blamed Afghans for the collapse of the government. He scolded the country’s leaders for fleeing the country and for refusing his advice about preparing for a post- American future. He accused the Afghan army of going down without a fight. The fact that the Taliban had so quickly overrun the government, despite two decades and astronomical American spending on training and equipment, he said, showed that staying in Afghanistan any longer would have been fruitless.

Biden took particular issue with suggestions that a small US military contingent could have remained in Afghanistan propping up the Ghani government. He implied that such ideas come easily to those, the overwhelming majority, who do not have to bear the brunt of repeated deployments in America ’ s He laid out the tenets of what is increasingly seen as a “ Biden doctrine” in foreign policy . “ First , we must set missions with clear, achievable goals, not ones we will never reach. And second, we must stay clearly focused on the fundamental national security interest of the United States of America ,” he said.

As Kabul fell and the Taliban reclaimed power in Afghanistan over the past two days, the 45th and 46th presidents of the United States bickered over who was to blame. President Joe Biden, in a statement, put the onus on a deal made by former President Donald Trump; Trump fired back “Never would have happened if I were President!” even as Biden followed the path Trump had laid out.

a man in a suit standing in front of a building © Evan Vucci / AP

That feud was a sideshow. The speech that Biden delivered Monday, stoutly defending his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan now, did not use the same words or tone that Trump would have—but in substance, it was an elegant articulation of the same foreign policy his predecessor pursued. Biden insisted that what mattered was America’s national interest, and he argued that it had been fulfilled long ago.

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  Overnight Defense: US scrambles to get Americans out of Kabul It's Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.THE TOPLINE: The Biden administration for a second day in a row on Tuesday sought to swat away criticism of its botched withdrawal from Afghanistan as the U.S. military worked to ramp up evacuation flights out of Kabul.After a chaoticTHE TOPLINE: The Biden administration for a second day in a row on Tuesday sought to swat away criticism of its botched withdrawal from Afghanistan as the U.S. military worked to ramp up evacuation flights out of Kabul.

First , based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military, and intelligence teams, I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 U. S . troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of U. S . personnel and other allied personnel, and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped our troops during our mission and those at special risk. America went to Afghanistan 20 years ago to defeat the forces that attacked this country on September 11th. That mission resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden over a decade ago and the degradation of al Qaeda.

Biden ' s approval is at its lowest point in his presidency. In the average of polls, he stands at about 47%. That's a decline from the beginning of this month (51%).. and beginning of June (54%) He is losing ground on a number of key issues.

“I’m left again to ask of those who argue that we should stay: How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not?” Biden said. “How many more American lives is it worth? How many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery?”

[David A. Graham: Everyone knew we were losing in Afghanistan]

This focus on narrow national interest is what Trump called “America First.” Biden would never use that term, not least because of its dark history as a World War II–era anti-Semitic rallying cry. And in contrast to Biden’s paean to fallen service members, Trump disparaged the war dead as “suckers” and “losers.” But their shared lodestar is the idea that it’s time for the U.S. to focus on its own interests—and to leave other countries to fend for themselves, come what may.

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Biden Defends Afghan Pullout and Declares an End to Nation-Building. The president offered a glimpse of a different American foreign policy in the post-9/11 world, one that he said would be guided more by competition with China and Russia. WASHINGTON — President Biden on Tuesday forcefully rejected criticism of his decision to end America ’ s 20-year war in Afghanistan , hailing what he called the “extraordinary success” of the evacuation of Kabul and declaring the end of an era in which the United States uses military power “to remake other countries.”

US President Joe Biden says the quick collapse of the Afghan government shows why America had to withdraw from the country. In a White House address to the nation, Mr Biden admitted that the situation with the Taliban' s recent advance has "unfolded more quickly than we anticipated".

In particular, Biden blamed Afghans for the collapse of the government. He scolded the country’s leaders for fleeing the country and for refusing his advice about preparing for a post-American future. He accused the Afghan army of going down without a fight. The fact that the Taliban had so quickly overrun the government, despite two decades and astronomical American spending on training and equipment, he said, showed that staying in Afghanistan any longer would have been fruitless. “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war, and dying in a war, that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said. “It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not.” Additionally, although Biden often touts his work with Barack Obama, today he noted that he opposed the 2009 surge into Afghanistan that Obama ordered.

Joe Biden's Speech on Afghanistan—7 Key Takeaways

  Joe Biden's Speech on Afghanistan—7 Key Takeaways The president said he stood by his decision to remove U.S. troops and that "nation building" was never the goal in Afghanistan.The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was scheduled to fully withdraw its troops, who have been there since 2001.

Biden aides honed talking points weeks ago to be used even in the worst-case scenarios of a withdrawal, some of which have come to pass, including emphasizing that leaving Afghanistan was the right decision. "The idea that somehow, there' s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I She added, however: "The Biden administration will likely have to defend every negative headline that comes out of Afghanistan during his tenure, so that is a real unknown." (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw, Patricia Zengerle and Chris Kahn; Editing by

President Joe Biden returned to the White House Monday afternoon to give a speech on the situation in Afghanistan . WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday defended his administration' s decision to continue with the U. S . military drawdown in Afghanistan , blaming the U. S .-backed Afghan government and military for allowing the Taliban to take over. " Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country; the Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight," Biden said.


Video: What the Afghanistan crisis means for American foreign policy (Yahoo! Finance)

The implicit dismissal of the American role in creating the conflict is glib and cynical. Afghanistan is engulfed in a civil war—or was until this weekend, when the Taliban effectively won—but the U.S. was no disinterested third party. The war escalated with the American invasion in 2001, and Afghans have paid dearly for it, only to end up with the same group in control 20 years later.

Biden went through the familiar pieties about the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, and promised to lend U.S. support for human rights there, but his promises are vague and hollow. Having left the country to the Taliban, the U.S. will have little sway. Biden also vowed to rescue vulnerable Afghans who aided American forces, including with a temporary deployment of U.S. forces. My colleague George Packer has eloquently sounded the call to save these Afghans. Biden’s explanation for why that was not done sooner—some wanted to stay, he said, while the Afghan government discouraged an exodus—rang false. The president’s promise to make good was more concrete, though whether he can actually achieve it remains to be seen.

Biden’s defense falls flat with Afghans still wondering if they will make it out before US leaves

  Biden’s defense falls flat with Afghans still wondering if they will make it out before US leaves ON THE DEFENSIVE: Under fire from all sides for the chaotic U.S. evacuation effort following the Taliban's takeover of Kabul, President Joe Biden helicoptered back from his Camp David vacation to defend his decision to end the American military mission in Afghanistan, while offering scant explanation for why the rapidity of the collapse of Afghan forces caught him off guard. © Provided by Washington Examiner DOD header 2020 “We planned for every contingency, but I always promised the American people that I would be straight with you.

[George Packer: Biden’s betrayal of Afghans will live in infamy]

The American departure may be a moral catastrophe, then, but it is not a strategic failure. The occupation failed years ago. As I wrote in 2019, America’s leaders—Democrat and Republican; civilian and military; elected, appointed, and career civil servant—all knew for years that the U.S. was losing in Afghanistan, and they continued to say we were winning. While the endgame of the American exit was clearly botched, no critic of Biden’s or Trump’s withdrawal decision has offered a coherent alternative plan beyond indefinite American occupation. In his remarks today, Biden tried to frame the U.S. war as a success—Osama bin Laden is dead, and al-Qaeda no longer relies on Afghanistan as a base—followed by a pointless hangover.

“We did that,” he said. “Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy.”

(President George W. Bush’s remarks when the U.S. attack on Afghanistan began in 2001 do indeed focus on disrupting al-Qaeda and holding those responsible for the September 11 attacks to account—though Bush also said that “the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies,” a bitterly ironic line today, after trillions of American spending for so little lasting result.)

Despite the turmoil and suffering sure to come, it is hard to imagine a large, lasting public backlash, for the same reason that the war in Afghanistan withered in the first place: Most Americans just weren’t all that interested.

This is what both Trump and Biden—two politicians with a canny grasp of public opinion—understood. Every president since Bush knew that when the U.S. finally left Afghanistan, chaos would follow. Only Trump and Biden were ready and willing to take the plunge, calculating that however ugly a scene they left in Afghanistan, popular sentiment had turned against the war. The next few weeks and months will show whether Trump and Biden were right, and whether Americans are really committed to “America First” or whether the pull of hegemony was merely dormant.

This story originally stated that Donald Trump and Joe Biden are the 44th and 45th presidents, respectively. In fact, they are the 45th and 46th presidents.

Defense secretaries in their own words: US 'invented reasons' to stay in Afghanistan .
The Taliban blitz exposes the failure of the 20-year Afghanistan war and portends terrorism threats, say former defense secretaries Panetta and Hagel.Afghan security forces, trained and equipped at the cost of $83 billion, wilted before Taliban fighters. With few exceptions, the Taliban rolled through provincial capitals without a fight despite a force of Afghan troops that was supposed to number more than 300,000.  In reality, there were far fewer Afghan forces because of desertions and commanders who reportedly pocketed the pay of ghost soldiers they had kept on rolls. For those who remained and fought, there wasn't enough ammunition and food, to say nothing of pay.

usr: 1
This is interesting!