I criticize Joe Biden’s foreign policy a lot. But give the guy credit: His decision to pull out all US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 is far-sighted, bold and risky. It’s risky because it means Americans may associate Biden with losing a war. Politically, it might have been safer for him to keep enough US troops in place to prop up the Afghan government for a few more years, thus deferring the moment of reckoning for his successors. Sure, lefties would have howled, and the Taliban might have resumed attacks. But that might have been less politically dangerous than presiding over a potential Taliban takeover of Kabul, let alone terrorist attacks from Afghan soil. It was once an axiom of American politics that Democratic presidents could not afford to “lose” countries. Lyndon Johnson believed that Harry Truman never recovered from allowing China to go communist, which was one reason LBJ was so determined to prop up South Vietnam. Joe Biden has now put that axiom to the test.
I agree that pulling out of Afghanistan is ultimately the right call, but I wonder if you have any thoughts about the moral aspect of the decision? It seems that, as in many of our Middle East conflicts, Cold War era policies are directly responsible for the state the country is in now. If we created this mess, don't we have a responsibility to help the Afghan citizens, or at least acknowledge our mistake?
I would agree with this if I felt 3,500 troops was a massive drag on our resources and severely hampered our ability to focus on China. The United States has thousands of troops deployed throughout Europe, and many more elsewhere in Asia (and the Middle East).
I think the world has legitimate concerns about Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, et al. but I wouldn't want to see any of those issues become a pretext for the next great-power war. To put it crudely: is there some grand bargain available where human rights get thrown under the bus while the US and China agree to cooperate on climate? That seems like the best realistic outcome.