Trust in Biden falls
America is back, Joe Biden was declared victorious earlier this summer. He promised to repair the damage Donald Trump had done to the unity of the Western alliance.
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Now it’s Biden’s reputation that needs urgent care. Reputation suffered a serious setback because of Afghanistan. He seemed weak and unprepared in an area where he was expected to show strength and experience.
Biden wanted to show he had all the experience and knowledge about foreign policy that Trump lacks. The decline was significant.
For the first time in his brief presidency, less than 50 percent of Americans now think he’s doing well, according to average polls. In the hour of defeat, few in Washington, D.C., defend Biden’s sad exit from Afghanistan.
Criticisms also come from European capitals. Can Europe trust the United States to protect its security? Or should Europe take on more responsibility and become less dependent on the United States? Join Afghanistan to fight on the American side. This is also a bitter farewell to US allies.
Biden is trying to control the damage. In an interview with ABC last week, the president said the United States’ commitments to allies are very different from the United States’ relations with Afghanistan. Biden said the United States has a “holy obligation” to respond if something attacks a NATO ally:
The same applies to Japan, South Korea, as well as Taiwan.
Was the inclusion of Taiwan in this group of countries a pretext? Subsequently, a spokesman for the Biden administration was forced to point out that the United States had not changed its policy towards Taiwan. There is a line called “strategic ambiguity”.
The United States supports Taiwan politically and militarily, although it does not officially recognize the island nation. Nor is there an agreement obligating the United States to defend Taiwan if it comes under military attack.
The sting was attacked by several teams
Chinese media have pointed to the US’s fading in Afghanistan as an indication that the Americans will not come to the aid of Taiwan in any crisis. The Communist Party asserts that Taiwan is part of China and that it must be reunified.
China will not only fill the power vacuum that arises when the United States leaves Afghanistan. China is using the US defeat for all it deserves: America’s promises to other countries are not credible. American attempts at nation-building will always fail.
On a Southeast Asia tour, Vice President Kamala Harris is trying to put out the fire. Harris will reassure allies and trading partners in the region that the United States is trustworthy. And the United States is on its side against an increasingly assertive China. In Singapore, Harris said China continues to intimidate and push, claiming the bulk of the South China Sea.
“Their actions continue to undermine global order and threaten the sovereignty of other nations,” Harris said.
Biden, like his two recent predecessors, believes that developments in East Asia are crucial to the future of the United States. China is the greatest challenge to the United States in the twenty-first century, economically, politically, and increasingly militarily. The fact that the United States focuses more on the East has long worried Europeans. So is the strong growth of authoritarian China.
The German Christian Democratic chancellor’s candidate, Armin Laschet, described the final in Afghanistan as NATO’s biggest failure since the alliance was founded. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, described it as a disaster for Afghans, Western values and credibility.
There were heated debates in the British House of Commons. The chair of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Conservative Tom Tugendhat, said the Afghanistan experience should have consequences for how the British cooperate with the United States in future security operations. He said that interdependence should not mean excessive dependence.
Europe depends on transatlantic cooperation and on the security guarantee of the United States. Europe is not standing on its own two feet in terms of security policy. The United States spends more on defense than the total defense spending of the next eleven countries in the world rankings.
Time pressure and the terrorist threat
When Biden took charge, it was too late to lose the war in Afghanistan to the United States and its allies. NATO allies signed the resolution to end the mission in Afghanistan. The vast majority of Americans wanted to leave Afghanistan.
Many of Biden’s political opponents demanded the same at home. Anyway, it does not absolve Biden of responsibility. Serious errors of estimation were made, even in the eleventh hour of the war. It was a chaotic withdrawal from Kabul. It happened under Biden.
Biden’s plan was to unite the democracies on a stronger front, to resist pressure from both Russia and China. After Afghanistan, the Western alliance should focus on what unites: reliable defense, cybersecurity, more resilient societies, and the fight against disinformation.
The damage doesn’t have to be irreparable, neither to Biden’s reputation nor to the reputation of the United States. But Biden has a big job to do to restore trust.
The fall of Kabul will haunt Biden
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