International allies are joining domestic critics of President Joe Biden over the manner in which he pulled the United States of Afghanistan following horrific images of people clamoring to get aboard American military aircraft, with some falling hundreds of feet to their deaths.
In addition to criticism over the chaotic manner of the pullout, which many have likened to the humiliating and equally disordered withdrawal from what was then Saigon, South Vietnam in 1975, some international allies are also questioning Washington’s security commitments and whether Biden will keep foreign policy pledges.
“Whatever happened to ‘America is back’?” British MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Defense Committee in the British Parliament, told the Washington Post, mocking Biden’s previous claim after taking office.
“People are bewildered that after two decades of this big, high-tech power intervening, they are withdrawing and effectively handing the country back to the people we went in to defeat,” Ellwood continued.
“This is the irony. How can you say America is back when we’re being defeated by an insurgency armed with no more than [rocket-propelled grenades], land mines, and AK-47s?”
Continuing, the Post noted that Riad Kahwaji, described by the paper as with the Inegma security firm in the United Arab Emirates, which hosts one of the largest U.S. military presences in the Middle East, said that the manner in which Biden withdrew from Afghanistan “is raising alarm bells everywhere.”
“The U.S.’s credibility as an ally has been in question for a while,” Kahwaji told the Post. “We see Russia fighting all the way to protect the Assad regime [in Syria], and now the Americans are pulling out and leaving a big chaos in Afghanistan.”
Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, who is the director of the German Council on Foreign Relations, told the paper her country’s legislators are extremely angry with Biden’s decision.
“The Biden administration came to office promising an open exchange, a transparent exchange with its allies. They said the transatlantic relationship would be pivotal,” she said. “As it is, they’re playing lip service to the transatlantic relationship and still believe European allies should fall into line with U.S. priorities.”
For his part, Biden, during an address to Americans Monday regarding the chaotic pullout, claimed he was handed a bad deal by former President Donald Trump’s administration via the Doha Agreement and suggested that he was unable to change it.
Earlier, Biden also appeared to pin the blame on the Trump administration.
“When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor — which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019 — that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces,” Biden said in a Saturday statement.
But that excuse isn’t washing in many circles, given Biden’s rapid reversal of several of Trump’s foreign and domestic policies upon taking office.
“Note that Mr. Biden is more critical of his predecessor than he is of the Taliban,” a Wall Street Journal editorial pointed out.
“The President has spent seven months ostentatiously overturning one Trump policy after another on foreign and domestic policy. Yet he now claims Afghanistan policy is the one he could do nothing about,” the editorial board added.
“This is a pathetic denial of his own agency, and it’s also a false choice. It’s as if Winston Churchill, with his troops surrounded at Dunkirk, had declared that Neville Chamberlain got him into this mess and the British had already fought too many wars on the Continent.”
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