Sunday :: Aug 15, 2021

Biden and Afghanistan


by Deacon Blues

Yes, Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo negotiated the exit strategy with the Taliban whereby the United States would leave Afghanistan this year.

Yes, if the Afghanistan military and central government have been unable and unwilling to stand up their own army and homeland security for the last two decades, then there is no good rationale for America staying around another twenty years.

And yes, if George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld didn't run away from Tora Bora to lurch into Iraq, we wouldn't be here now.

All of that being said, Joe Biden and yes, Barack Obama own what is happening right now in Afghanistan, and what will come in the next decade. No amount of deflection towards Trump and Pompeo lets Biden and Tony Blinken off the hook for this administration cutting and running from Afghanistan, as it is only what Joe Biden wanted all along, and only reflects Barack Obama's failed opportunity to pursue the multilateral solution presented to him and Biden back in 2009 by Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton for negotiations with the Taliban (who had already expressed their willingness for a political settlment), coupled with an Iraq-like military surge to pressure them to stay with that political outcome.

Instead, Obama never had the stomach for doing the hard work of directly negotiating with the Taliban and Iran, and didn't have the balls to stand up to the Pentagon and force the multilateral solution. Holbrooke was marginalized, then died, and Hillary eventually gave up as her time ended at the close of the first term. Obama never seriously attempted anything again on Afghanistan except political posturing for his legacy.

Biden for his part wanted a counterinsurgency approach without the diplomatic effort Holbrooke and Clinton recommended, and with control of the policy now, he is only doing what he said he would do: get out, consequences be damned.

Joe Biden owns it, and he owns the damage done to his presidency. It's bad enough Biden looks more and more like a wimp here at home when it comes to political accountability with Trump and the GOP, but when you lose your moral standing and credibility with allies around the world so early in your administration, then you've ensured a one-term presidency.

Deacon Blues :: 3:42 PM :: Comments (236) :: Digg It!