Some thoughts on Afghanistan, and what comes next for President Biden
Given how much legitimacy, support and time to organize President Trump and Mike Pompeo had given to the Taliban, President Biden’s decision to complete the American withdrawal from Afghanistan this year was the right call, and perhaps the only call. There will be time to discuss and dissect the Biden Administration’s clear mistakes in managing the endgame, but now the US must focus its energies getting our allies out safely, resettling tens of thousands of Afghan refugees here in the US, keeping the pressure on the new government to respect human rights particularly for women and girls, and staying vigilant about what could become a more dangerous terrorist threat landscape.
In a lengthy Newsy interview last Friday, I discussed the big Biden strategy behind his decision to leave Afghanistan. The President has repeatedly stated that it is time for the US to turn the page now on our decades of deeply disappointing involvement in the broader Middle East/Afghanistan and create more space and resources to tackle new challenges, among them
- defeating COVID here and everywhere
- fighting climate change and bringing an end to the era of petro-dictators
- fashioning far more cogent strategies to compete against Russia and China
- shoring up and modernizing the global liberal order so essential to our economic and geopolitical success
- creating some kind of new global cyber regime which better protects our digital world
We have little to show for our investment in the Middle East and Afghanistan over these past 20 years, and all the blood and treasure we’ve spent there year after year has prevented us from developing full blown responses to these other emergent challenges. The President is right to try to refocus our energies, as difficult as that transition might be.
In the coming months the President should work hard to show the American people what a new post-Afghanistan American strategy looks like. Together, we can:
Launch a stepped up global campaign to defeat COVID– the long term damage years of COVID ravaging through countries could have on the modern world imagined and built by America after WWII is immense…