6 Takeaways For President Chaotic Afghanistan Withdrawal

If there’s one thing an American president doesn’t want to ascertain , it is the quite pictures that have played out on cable news of the chaos in Kabul — crowded runways of individuals wanting to get out, with some hanging from the outsides of U.S. cargo planes and, for those lucky enough to urge in, crammed on the ground .

There are humanitarian concerns facing the Afghan people. But the disorganization and confusion of President Biden’s full U.S. military withdrawal of Afghanistan have also put him during a political hole. After doing what three presidents before him didn’t — or wouldn’t — do albeit they advocated for it, Biden is facing a bipartisan backlash.

On Monday, he took a degree of responsibility, saying the buck stops with him, but he mostly blamed Afghan leaders and forces and defended the larger policy direction.

“American troops cannot and will not be fighting during a war and dying during a war that Afghan forces aren’t willing to fight for themselves,” Biden said in remarks, noting the $1 trillion and nearly 20 years the U.S. has spent there since the 9/11 attacks.

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Here are six takeaways on what the withdrawal might mean for Biden:

1. The chaotic withdrawal cuts against Biden’s competence narrative

If there was one thing Biden ran on in 2020 against President Donald Trump, it had been the thought that he knows the way to govern competently. it had been an underpinning of what his presidency was alleged to represent — because the antithesis of Trump.

What’s happened in Afghanistan over the past week — with troops being sent back in to assist with the evacuation — may be a gut punch thereto narrative, albeit within the end of the day the policy direction finishes up being one Americans accept as true with .

2. Presidents should never offer rosy assessments or predictions

Biden promised that the U.S. would exit Afghanistan during a safe and orderly way, that there would be no hasty rush to the exit, which it had been “highly unlikely” that there would be a Taliban takeover of the whole country — including this quickly.

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Those assurances all clothed to be wrong. And it isn’t the primary time this went on during Biden’s presidency. Speaking on July Fourth, Biden warned about the delta variant, but also declared that the U.S. was moving toward “independence” from the coronavirus. Then delta drove this latest surge.

It’s a lesson that Biden should have learned in his decades in Washington, D.C. — it’s never an honest idea for a president to form predictions he has no control over.

Arguably, had Biden been more measured in his assessment of the withdrawal, the political backlash won’t be so swift.

3. Biden is reflecting a replacement consensus of America turning inward

America’s post-World War II role within the world was defined by an alliance with Western democracies and a chilly War against Russia. But since the autumn of the ideological barrier and 9/11, the U.S. role within the world has been less well-defined.

After years of war, economic turmoil and an epidemic , America appears able to turn inward with more of attention on domestic problems.

Biden’s policy doctrine isn’t quite Trump’s “America First.” He’s reengaged with traditional U.S. allies and needs to understand and be respected by world leaders. But he’s turning his focus much more to domestic policy and pulled back internationally than did the Biden who was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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4. Despite the negative coverage, it appears that Americans still don’t need to remain in Afghanistan

To the purpose of turning inward, Americans have long seen the war in Afghanistan as unpopular.

A snap poll of the events unfolding over the weekend found that while support for the complete withdrawal declined dramatically, a plurality — about half — still wanted out and not far more than a 3rd of usa citizens want to remain . Other surveys have previously found Americans feel little obligation to the people or government of Afghanistan or to making sure democracy there.

Expect feelings on Afghanistan to urge somewhat more partisan, considering the eye it’s getting. it’ll be interesting to ascertain how those numbers settle within the next few weeks and months.

5. the important test for Biden is whether or not terrorist groups are ready to reconstitute and attack Americans

Biden noted that counterterrorism, not nation building, should be the U.S. focus, especially considering the first mission in Afghanistan after 9/11.

“This are some things that we neutralize many other countries round the world where we don’t have boots on the bottom ,” a senior administration official told NPR’s Franco Ordoñez on Monday. “We do that in Somalia. We do that in Yemen. We do that in parts of Syria. We do that in other parts of eastern North Africa . We do that in places where we don’t have boots on the bottom .”

Given the history of the Taliban giving cover to al-Qaida and now without a U.S. military presence, this is often getting to be the test of success (or failure) for Biden because it relates to his Afghanistan policy. and the way might what’s transpired over the past week mean for a way other bad actors test Biden?

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6. Democrats’ clock in their domestic agenda just started ticking faster

The Afghanistan withdrawal is simply another issue mounted on the plate of attacks against Biden and Democrats. Even before this, history and redistricting were on Republicans’ side, and Republicans and Democrats are beginning to paint an image of a possible Republican takeover of the House in 2022.

That means, because the fog of what happened in the week in Afghanistan starts to clear and eyes move again toward the Democrats’ domestic agenda, the multitrillion-dollar spending deals will likely gain more urgency, because they’ll be the last things Democrats are ready to get done before subsequent presidential election.