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If Donald Trump presides over the collapse of Afghanistan, US foreign policy agencies will loudly condemn the irresponsibility and immorality of US strategy. Since it was Joe Biden in the White House, it was largely an awkward silence.
It is true that Trump allowed the United States to embark on a path out of Afghanistan and began delusional peace talks with the Taliban, but to no avail. But Biden did not reverse the withdrawal, but accelerated it.
As the Taliban occupy one city after another, terrible consequences are happening on the ground in Afghanistan. The ultimate downfall of the government seems inevitable. It may coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which originally led to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Earlier this week, Biden was in contact with Edith Piaf, claiming that he had no regrets about withdrawing the carpet from the Afghan government.Last month, the president was still insist “It is extremely unlikely that the Taliban will rule everything and own the entire country.” Who knows what he will say next month? And, frankly, who cares? With regard to Afghanistan, Biden’s credibility is now under attack.
The broader strategic question is what impact the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan will have on America’s global reputation. Discussing the situation there as a high-level global political issue is offensive, but a tragedy is unfolding locally. However, apart from simple war exhaustion, Biden’s main reason for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is strategic. In recent remarks, he believes that the United States cannot “continue to be subject to” policies that were formulated to respond to “the world 20 years ago.” We need to deal with today’s threats. “The first threat Biden identified was “strategic competition with China.”
So, how did the United States’ failure in Afghanistan—actually the failure of the entire Western alliance—affect the increasingly fierce competition between Washington and Beijing?
The failure of the United States made it more difficult for Biden to convey the core message of “America is back.” In contrast, it is fully in line with the two key messages promoted by the Chinese (and Russian) government. First, the strength of the United States is declining. Second, we cannot rely on the security guarantees of the United States.
If the United States does not promise to fight the Taliban, then whether the United States is really willing to go to war with China or Russia will be a question mark. However, the US global alliance network is based on the idea that, as a last resort, it will indeed deploy US troops to defend their allies in Asia, Europe, and other places.
China is already the dominant economic power in East Asia. But most Asian democracies regard the United States as their main security partner. Therefore, if Washington’s credibility is compromised, it will be very helpful to Beijing. Of course, the situation and stakes in Taiwan or the South China Sea are different from Afghanistan. But the events there will still resonate around the world.
The direct consequences for Beijing of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which borders China, will not be so welcome. The Chinese regime has adopted a policy of mass detention and repression in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang. The idea of Uighurs gaining support from the fundamentalist Taliban government will cause concerns in Beijing. The same holds true for the potential threat of terrorist bases in Afghanistan.
Over time, China may face the dilemma of a classical superpower. Is it a military intervention in turbulent Afghanistan, or is it to let the country do its own thing? As Andrew Small of the European Commission on Foreign Relations Point out, China’s comments on Afghanistan are full of sayings that the country is called an “imperial cemetery.”
In Washington, the parallel event that policymakers are most concerned about is Vietnam.already have Report The United States is trying to persuade the Taliban not to attack the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in order to avoid repeating the scene when Saigon fell in 1975. Last month, Biden insisted that “the Taliban is not a North Vietnamese army.” In terms of capabilities, they simply cannot be compared. “He might regret those words.
However, the Americans know that if they decide to withdraw from the last remaining American forces in Kabul, they will actually sign the Afghan government’s death sentence. The morale collapse that has led to successive failures of the Afghan army across the country will become irreversible. However, in fact, the situation seems almost irreversible.
However, unlike the Afghan government, the US government has a few hopes to grasp. The end of the Vietnam War was indeed a failure. Many people question the strength of the United States. But within 14 years after the fall of Saigon, the Cold War ended and the West won.
In the end, the struggle between the U.S.-Soviet system is not about what happened in Vietnam, but about the relative advantages of the two countries’ domestic economic and political systems. The current competition between the United States and China may also be determined in the same way. But this kind of abstract idea is no comfort to the troubled Afghan people.