There has been a thoughtful interagency process in the United States, and I will say that given the gains made by the Taliban on the ground in Afghanistan, currently at the top in terms of territorial expansion in recent years, there was a feeling among those advising Biden that there was not much confidence that current levels of military engagement on the ground were sufficient to prevent the Taliban from taking over and the Afghan government from collapsing during a Biden administration. So in other words, the decision being to put for him it was really not: do you want stay where do you want to go? It was more, do you want to leave or are you ready to expand, have another wave of American and other troops to help ensure that the Taliban does not. actually take Across the country? And the answer, within a relatively short period of time, was no.
I want to be clear, I am personally happy that we can leave. It was Verry much painful and expensive and dangerous process. It seems endless. We killed Bin Laden. We have degraded Al Qaeda. These were the immediate goals of the war, but the idea of ââbuilding the Afghan government and leaving stability was always a much more difficult order than the United States seemed to have stomachs for and would have been a huge challenge, whatever no matter how much resources the Americans get on the ground.
But I’m afraid we’re leaving our allies in a bind, and I want to dig a little deeper into that. I mentioned that there was a thoughtful interagency process in the United States to determine whether the Americans would stay or leave, but this was not a discussion with the U.S. NATO coalition partners who have supported until now most of the burden of the war in Afghanistan. . The coalition together has more troops on the ground than the United States. They lost, they suffered more losses than the United States. And perhaps more importantly, many of them have much greater national concerns about radical Islamic terrorism – think of France, for example, think of Germany, think of the UK – than of states. United, where today terrorism is mainly domestic, local and local. this is mainly white nationalist.
We told them we were leaving and they better get on board, and of course publicly they are, because if the global superpower and their ally are out, then, well, what choice do they have? really? But they truly not happy with that and I had this conversation with a number of allies at this stage who are Basically, âLook, there’s no way for us to maintain our presence if the Americans aren’t here. There is no way for us to continue to support economic given the corruption of the local government, because if the Americans are not there on the oversight of this process. There is no way to make sure that the money is going where it needs to go. It is going to be wasted. âSo the opinion is that it goes from a relatively robust process to one that really crumbles in no time, and the likelihood that the Taliban will take over in the months or years to come increases.
Now, again, I’m not saying I think it should make this war last forever for 10, 20, 30 years. But I believe the United States owes the American allies to engage in this discussion collectively before we take a decision. I understand that the Quad is the new shiny object. The United States is far more concerned about China than it is about what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan. The Japanese are seen in many ways as the most important ally in this regard. The Head of State’s first visit to the United States was indeed Prime Minister Suga. They’ve been under-prioritized for a long time, I would say, and rightly so. Third largest economy, largest economy in the world, allied with the United States and really needs the Americans. I understand.
But the most enduring alliance of the United States, even if its geographic orientation is outdated, is still very strong, we are trusted partners and that is NATO. And most of America’s trusted partners around the world are still part of NATO and contribute more to NATO over time. We should stay engaged, we must remain seen as engaged. First, it means that the decision making process on something that is in the interest of the United States to leave, maybe we have to compromise more because of the interests of our allies. We certainly want to work more closely with them. And also, since they will bear the brunt if the Taliban gain the upper hand, they will bear the brunt if radical Islamic terror becomes more of a threat to their homeland, then the United States before that, must be working collectively with them to ensure that we that our fight counter-terrorism with them, it is to prioritize their needs more.
I think we have to be prepared to admit that Biden as president, his administration is much friendlier to allies overall, is loved, is preferred by most, almost all the allies as a whole. But privately, a lot of allies are saying that US unilateralism remains, in substance, if not in shape on a bunch of key issues, and that’s a question I think we’ve kinda primed.
So it’s difficult, right? It’s not necessarily a quick tweet to discuss all these problems because there is a lot going on. I can understand why everyone around this has been so deeply in conflict. There are certainly no right answers. But I think we could have done this one a little better. In short, it’s a bit for me. Everyone is safe. Avoid fewer people, at least if you’re in the US and more and more in Europe, they get to know the vaccine rollout too quickly, and I’m happy to see it and hopefully the rest of the world. soon, soon, soon. Talk to all of you. Be wise.